and she wasn’t buying a stairway to heaven… but a host of broken guitars led her there!
it started of with a mother sending her to the land she dreads.. small gully’s.. zillions of people… a maze where you can get lost and never be found! (and those are the exact reasons she fell in luv with Mumbai and still does but she gets to choose the gully’s).. however this was Namma Bengaluru and five years of cushy living in koramangala and Indiranagar venturing away only to places you knew or someone credible told you to try and it was mostly a food quest.. this my friend was clothes! And she had been warned to not take her car (the idea of searching for an auto is scary enough!) and been myriadly warned about being very very careful!
From the word go the entire experience was set to defy public opinion and she found an auto in one go! Not just that.. the auto guy dropped her and Granpa to exactly where they wanted to go – at THAT VERY SHOP with directions of how to navigate through the Great Indian Bazaar (yes.. Turkey would probably fail here!) – service with a smile and a wish to not get lost! Super kicked about the GPS helping out navigation on the new phone as well! Thank Man for Technology!!
So there they were.. two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl… and felt very very different from the rest of Namma Bengaluru! The sheer helpfulness of people… the transportation into a world years behind yet in many ways so much more progressive… and the bachpan ki yaadein that came flooding back about holding your parents’ hand and running behind them to keep step in these markets as shop after shop unfolded wishes, wants and dreams!
So there we were at a silk store haplessly asking for mysore crepe… Luck be a lady who was on our side… the store guy insisted on showing them every kind of exotic material he had and was very disappointed when she spent just 10 grand! LOL! She promised him she would get her mom there for more soon! A beautiful peacock woven mysore crepe in white, another with paisley prints in a smoked pink and yet another in a bright purple with flowers all over! There were greens, golds, electric blues, rani colors… shades that would brighten up anyone’s day! Sitting there on the gaddas in the shop and being shown loom over loom of beautiful material she was reminded of how the story of how the sari was made.. “The Sari, it is said, was born on the loom of a fanciful weaver. He dreamt of Woman. The shimmer of her tears. The drape of her tumbling hair. The colors of her many moods. The softness of her touch. All these he wove together. He couldn’t stop. He wove for many yards. And when he was done, the story goes, he sat back and smiled and smiled and smiled….” The dreams of this weaver were certainly given color in this store where they sat mesmerized and spoilt for choice!
That said.. the task at hand had been achieved with many a phone calls to the mother about what she wanted! 🙂 And they next ventured on a hunt for a djembe! Sources had told them you will get them there if nowhere else! And thus began a walk through the streets of mystery and lore.. across temples and linen stores… across phool walas and pineapple sellers.. and they spotted their first broken guitar at the beginning of a gully that led them to a store with a broken sitar hanging at the entrance… magic started to weave as store after store after store had broken guitars hanging outside so that you could spot them from faraway and run to them like excited five year olds who had found a new playground full of slides and swings! Anything that could make music was there… the insides, the outsides, the skins, the wooden rolls that would be shaped into beautiful dholkis and congos… these places sold dreams… they even repaired dreams… broken harmoniums been chiseled away at.. old men sitting on the porch outside shops and playing a bright red congo, colors of fuchsia and electric blue… hues of rust and fading green…
And then we found the broken guitar that led us to the djembe that stole our heart and instantly took a piece of souls and wrapped it in the hollows within so that every sound would be a reflection of us! A frantic google search to understand what to look for in djembe’s and we were self taught experts on the color of wood, skin treating, the number of loops, the rings and their slippage and the spirals in cut wood… and how all of this affects sound to be more bass or sharp! The store owner had an ancestral business in music and these instruments and they were made in house for the store.. he explained why making in bangalore was more expensive than making outside and getting it here.. he explained how tanning skin is better than other chemical processes… he explained how a pure white skin is not that good and why the natural skin is better on a djembe!
Broken guitar to heaven indeed! This interspersed with ganne ka juice along the way and it was a purrrfect day!
Home after this beautiful quest.. yellow light lamps… setting up her posters of Sri 420 and Sholay and Bob Marley playing in the background as they tried their hand at the djembe and sync’d the tambourine to it!
Neil Diamond’s Little Drummer Boy had indeed come to life as had his old guitar who gave him his lovely lady (draped in yards and yards of mysore silk 😉 )!