The show must go on…

The show must go on…

In 1970s, my mother was posted at Rohtak as the district PRO. Her office and the residence were adjoining, a door separating the two. On dull evenings, we three sisters would pester our parents to take us out and the instant pick would be a movie theatre.

My school was situated about three to four kilometres from home and there were four or five movie theatres on both sides of the road leading to the school. At 2.30 pm, when my sister and I travelled back home everyday in the rickshaw, we would curiously looked out for new movie posters. Upon reaching home, we would barge into our mother’s cabin and quickly rant out the names of new releases.

Father was a professor in the university and was home by afternoon anyway. The 6 pm show would be our obvious choice as mother would wind up her meetings by then. But on those rare days when the work load was lighter, she would give in to watching the 4 pm show. She would call the DC to seek his permission and then instruct her subordinates to reach out to her at the particular theatre in case of any emergency.

On learning that “DPRO madam” has come to the theatre with her family, the manager would swing into action ushering us to the box room reserved for VIPs. While our parents focused on the big screen, our eyes would be glued to the door of the box room.

A while later, the door would creak open and we would first spot the aluminum tray bearing plates of samosas and then the bearer of the tray. After some time, juicy sweet rasgullas would follow. We children didn’t understand much of the movie; it was the snacks that captivated us. But mother made sure that nothing was complimentary for her and her entourage — neither the tickets nor the snacks.

Fast forward to three decades later. After marriage, my obsession with cinema continued, but now movies took precedence over samosas. Interestingly, my husband was even fonder of movies so he didn’t need any cajoling and would be ready before me.

Nikhil, our precocious three-year-old would be forced to accompany us. On evenings when the family had movie plans, the child would be kept awake during the day so he would sleep in the theatre. During the interval, hot dogs, popcorn and other snacks would be brought as a reward for the little one for allowing us to watch the movie peacefully.

At times, when my husband and I would still be contemplating watching a movie, Nikhil would start jumping with joy. He would coax us, pester us and not stop until we had bought the tickets.

“Only three years and so much interest in movies! Not good for a child,” I voiced out my annoyance to my husband. When the father feigned indifference, I addressed the son. “Nikhil, what do you like the most in a movie?” I asked. with an intention to understand my child. He looked up from his heap of blocks: “Interval!”

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