message from an absent husband and other such things

During the rehearsal, the videographer locks his camera into my face and goes off for a chat. I squirm in my seat, trying hard not to make faces at my big face on the big screen in front of me.

Later he asks me if I will instruct my family members to stand up and cheer for me when I get the award, so that he can take an insert.
I say, “No one has come with me.” He looks at me, sympathetically.
He says, “What about your friends?” I shake my head, “No, I am here alone.” He looks ready to lend me his shoulder to cry on.
I say, more to console him than myself, “A lot of my friends are here, anyway.” He says, “Then ask them to stand and clap for you.”
I say, “But they are getting awards themselves. I can’t ask them to stand and clap.” He nods, not quite happy with this explanation.

There are a lot of women receiving an award. So the morning of the ceremony is colored with talk about saris, hair, curls, back buttons on blouses and choli threads. Help is solicited and offered.
A close watch is kept on the watch and there are intense discussions on the time it is going to take to wear a sari. I am smug in my choice of ghagra and blouse, knowing it will take me 15 minutes to get ready.
But I don’t feel so good when all my friends come down into the lobby, resplendent in their saris. I can’t wear a sari by myself. I miss Ba then and my sisters-in-law A&M, who are my sari-keepers.

On the up-side, I have red sandals.

red shoes

Teja texts me, thus:

“Have fun …
I think you are well rehearsed …
Walk steady …
Please do not slip …
Keep your eyes open when the photographer is clicking …
Try and smile …
But in control …
Not too much …
Not too less …
Practice if you want in front of the mirror …
Do not drop the award …
Or the certificate …
Don’t forget to carry a handkerchief …
And ya …
Please send me the credit card details for train booking.”

Dhanno messages me while the ceremony is on. I read her message; she has been posting photos grabbed from the TV. She messages me, “Mama, stop looking at your phone, while Gulzar saheb is speaking. You are on TV.” I hurriedly keep the phone down, and remove my reading glasses.

My sister, Fey, after watching the ceremony on TV, keeps gushing about how I was given a front row seat, as if I had exercised some special influence, or worse still, rushed into the hall early to grab the best seat. My nephew explains to her that the seats may have been given alphabetically. I have to brag that the seats were allocated to us, and I was given a front row seat, because I got a gold lotus.

Dhanno says I looked pretty on TV, but had my hair in my face, when I went up to get the award.
I say, “That is why I told you I should tie it up.” She says, “Mama, there is something you can do, which is called pushing your hair off your face, and tucking it behind your ears.”

So you may be rendezvous-ing with the President of India, but family is family, and there is enough happening behind the scenes to keep your feet on the ground and the grin on your face.


  1. Congratulations! Kaphal was a lovely film and hey, the prime responsibility of daughters is to keep it real. =D Now if only we had a dishier president than Pranab-dadu.

    • Anonandon, thanks. If we did have a dishier president, I would have certainly done one of the things that I had been warned against. 😄

  2. Batul, I would have gladly come with you as your ‘saree-keeper’. I would have stood and clapped for you.(I was doing that while watching that on TV too – at the fullest). But let me be frank and honest, my real motive to accompany you would have been to be a witness of Gulzar Saheb receiving Dadasaheb Phalke award!!

  3. Wonderful! Congratulations! This is the post I was waiting for ever since I saw the announcements.🙂

  4. Great post! Congrats again – this one is so well deserved! Icing on the cake. And who doesn’t want to be a director?!😉

    • Thanks, Kuntal. Oh yes, everyone wants to be a director. You don’t know how difficult it was for us to sit through rehearsals, everyone wanted to jump up and start directing the show. But the reins were firmly in the hands of Renee Simon.

    • Satish, thanks. No, the DVDs will be a while, but I will keep you posted. Or if there is a screening in Bangalore.

  5. OMG.. Congratulations Banno! I frankly had no idea that you were nominated, or that your film even qualified there, but feeling so proud all of a sudden. I haven’t stopped smiling since reading this.. Congrats again! And the pic is lovely..

  6. Congratulations once again, Banno! I was wondering why you didn’t post about it, so I’m glad you did!

    Love the juxtaposition (in Teja’s texts) of what you should and should not do with wanting CC details for boooking the train tickets.🙂 And yes, children do help keep our feet very much on the ground.

    Thanks for sharing.

  7. Many many congratulations. Was the President appreciative of the red sandals? Or did he consider them dangerously leftist?

  8. What an honor. I can now happily boast that now I ‘know’ a National Award winner. Congratulations to you, Dhanno and Teja. Well deserved. And oh! love your red sandals.

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