Saturday, 7 February 2015

Documentary Diaries #8: Locked

5th February 2015

We set out in a car that day (perks of being in a government funded place) to try our hand at shooting at the cemetery again. I had to pick my friend Bee from Sealdah station. We crawled ahead like a snail in the car and i got restless. There was gloom even on a sunny afternoon. It was the day Kolkata was proclaimed the first city with free wi-fi in India. I don't know how that came about. I thought it was Bangalore all the while. Didn't bother to verify. Let the Bengalis revel in more achievements and feel proud all they want.

We were going to try to shoot with Venky's phone camera. Even a DSLR was drawing attention. I wouldn't have to go because sound  had been recorded on our earlier visits. I was worried. Bee was in Sealdah station much before us and we were not able to see each other for a long time because both of us were finding it difficult to make out which entrance of the station the other was at. Meanwhile when i called Debojeet he said that it was better that i got permission. All hope was lost for me. I was getting frustrated with all the walking around in the station as well. When i finally found Bee and took him along to the cemetery i saw that it was bolted from inside. When i banged the latch a nun peeped out and said that she had instructions from the father that nobody was to be let in. I swore at him in my mind. There was nobody i hated more in that moment than that person whom i had not even met.

In some minutes D Jeet and Venky came back to us. D Jeet already knew Bee from his visit to Kerala the previous year. It was at Bee's cousin's place he had spent some nights when he was in Trivandrum. I was anxious at what footage they had got. Neither D nor Venky seemed happy. My heart sunk. Then D told me how the gate was latched and they had to leave and after a long pause how they had got in through another entrance and had shot what we wanted. Madeira's grave. I jumped up and down out of joy. I wanted to hug him, but didn't because i still don't know how to hug people. I am a stranger to tactile forms of expression.

I reveled in that moment for a long time. We called our driver to pick us up and drive us to Chandni, to the Madeiras. When he took more than half an hour we felt that something was wrong. It was. He had locked the car with the key inside and was now unable to move it. We walked to the car. Some vendors offered help. They tried opening the door by inserting a metal wire down the window. It didn't work. One of them tried to slide the glass pane of the window behind. While all this commotion was going on D Jeet started shooting it. I had nothing to do than look at all this and feel lost. I clicked a photo or two and asked the price of grapes. 60 a kilo. Not bad.

Open Sesame: When our gaadi got locked

Finally they were successful with the back window. We were all dying of hunger and decided to eat at Nizam's, Esplanade. Since Bee, who was a malayalee too was present, i decided to speak of the plight of biriyani in kolkata and the non existent logic behind aloo (potatoes) in biriyani. Bee sided up with me and so did Venky who is from Andhra though settled in Mumbai. But he could understand having had a lot of Hyderabadi biriyani and even biriyani from Paragon, Kozhikode. So D Jeet drowned in our murder of Kolkata. After food we set out to Chandni.

As usual Florence refused to speak with me. We waited for a long time. Then went to her neighbours. I then noticed that Florence's family was peering at us from their balcony. I realized what the problem was immediately. It had offended them that we were talking to the neighbours whom they were not in good terms with. I quickly gave up talking to them (Prescilla and the cousin of Leon Madeira) and rushed to the road from where i could speak to Florence's mother in the balcony. She had a rossary in hand. I almost went on my knees pleading. She seemed upset for some time and asked me to go back to 'those neighbours'. She said she had to pray. I said i would pray with her (in the name of cinema, atheists offer to pray). She refused the offer but in the end promised to tell Florence to speak with me. Asked us to return the next day.

While going back we stopped to have coffee at Udipi House, Lake Market. D Jeet left for his home and all of us returned to the institute. Little did i know that the following day was going to be my undoing.

Documentary Diaries#9: In Love!