Like the Nityasuris of old many NRIs come flying down each December and tell me tales. Some are good, some plain bad, and some rollicking. I will put this story in the last category. It concerns a Carnatic artiste who has a tendency of telling everyone that had he taken to law, he would have wound up as a Judge. Not that he has done badly in music – bagged every award and going strong.

The story unfolds in the US of A. Picture artiste seated in auditorium a few minutes before performance. Along comes fawning NRI. NRI fawns, artiste preens. NRI asks of artiste’s legal background. Artiste just smiles quietly, basking in the adulation. In the meanwhile time for concert draws near. It is the habit of our artiste to visit the loo just before a performance begins and so up he gets and goes, fawning NRI in tow. It was his dearest wish said NRI, that the artiste wrote his memoirs. Artiste nods condescendingly and states the usual take on becoming a judge.

Artiste goes into loo while fawning NRI waits without in common wash area. Also in attendance is a junior artiste. Our man emerges after business. Now, one of the reasons why our Indian toilets are forever wet is due to an unfortunate habit of us Indians to wash our feet after we complete our tryst with our nether regions. These are known as ablutions. And so it is with our artiste. He proceeds to the washbasin and there, even as fawning NRI fawns reiterating his suggestion on the memoirs, artiste, aided and abetted by junior, lifts his leg and places it in washbasin and presses the tap with his toe.

These US taps can be quite dodgy as this one proved to be. The water rose up like a fountain and doused the artiste from head to foot, or at least his upper garment. This was an emergency-the concert had to begin in a minute or two and here he was, the wettest man in the US of A. The fawning NRI decided this was when he could win brownie points and so rushed off to get paper towels from the dispenser and these having been obtained, proceeded to sponge off the attire, all the while talking about artiste’s memoirs. The paper, as paper towels often do, disintegrated and stuck like small snowflakes everywhere on the dress. The artiste could well have been dressed for the role of Father Christmas.

Junior artiste, who guessed that an explosion was nigh, said he would fetch a new dress (this was a venue where the accommodation was on the premises) and ran off. There was a dead silence. NRI, by way of conversation/ice breaker/out of sheer nervousness, chose this most (in)opportune moment to ask the old man as to whether he had ever thought of writing his memoirs.

“Get Out,” shrieked the artiste. NRI promptly receded, abashed.

Junior artiste returned and helped fulminating senior to don fresh attire. And accoutred as he was, the old man ascended the stage for the concert.

Carnatic Music can be a very stressful profession.

This article is part of the series ‘It happened one #DecemberMusicSeason’. All other articles can be read here :

It happened one #DecemberMusicSeason
It happened one #DecemberMusicSeason – 2
It happened one #DecemberMusicSeason – 3
It happened one #DecemberMusicSeason – 4
It happened one #DecemberMusicSeason – 5
It happened one #DecemberMusicSeason – 6
It happened one #DecemberMusicSeason – 7
It happened one #DecemberMusicSeason – 8
It happened one #DecemberMusicSeason – 9
It happened one #DecemberMusicSeason – 10