Beddha’s First Evening On The Stage

 

Part 6

 

Well, what followed was more than a course-change. When Arun mentioned about taking up a job in Dubai, it marked – we did not realize until later – the physical exit for Beddha from the play. We had our eyes peeled out for Beddha scene after scene. No luck. No comeback for Beddha.

 

The first scenes were no clue to what followed. Leaving frivolity behind quickly, the play took on a serious note to showing how inexorably each person intensified his own predicament in life by small doses towards his final untenable position; and at every step on the way to denouement he had choices available to him to change his course.

 

The audience came away with a laden heart sorely wishing for a larger dose of the nonchalance flashed in the opening scenes. While we enjoyed the play it was tinged with a little sadness of not having seen enough of Beddha. It was like paal paayasam not reappearing after two rounds in a traditional feast.

 

As an aside, ADH had decided against a switch in the cast though the stranded artists were rescued in good time. ADH remained immutable as Subu until the end, whoever as Kamala and so on with Girija and others. Or, so it appeared!   

 

On the following day Beddha was leaving for Chennai by train at noon. He called in excitedly, to inquire if we made it to the play. They had advised him at the auditorium that his guests had failed to turn up. Only then I mentioned about the heatless altercation we had at the gate. Well, it turned out that Cheenu was none other than Beddha and vice-versa (taking the wraps off an enduring mystery – his given name). Not dwelling any more on the mix-up, we happily told him how much we enjoyed the play and his performance. We wound up conveying our best wishes for him to get more stage presence and meatier roles in future.

 

Thereupon we came to the final twist in the tale. He stumped us by claiming to have appeared on the stage several times after Arun had departed for Dubai! His mutations included: the boyish post-man in ill-fitting uniform that brought the lawyer’s notice for dissolution of Girija’s marriage; the elderly paan-chewing broker who brought marriage alliances for Kiran, the elder son; and in the end, the solicitous attendant looking after Subu in the hospital!

 

How did we throw in here the incident of one Venu from their troupe getting scalded with hot water in the shower? And Subu ending up one son less for the evening? Now you know. 

 

Would Beddha get his ears twisted for his waywardness with the script? How far was it for him from breezy roles to histrionics? I had no idea how this world turned. 

 

It seemed this rumbling cub was well on its way to a roar until a few months later I heard he had succumbed to Life’s little pressures and taken up a job in Pune with a leading automobile manufacturer.  Beddha, I was sure, would find a way to get onto stage in Pune.

 

(Concluded)

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