Yesterday, Tom and I went to the invocation or opening of the new building for the Bangalore School of Music (www.http://thebsm.org). The school has been around for 20 years and finally has a real building with real classrooms, practice rooms, studios, the lot. It is brand new. The first architect-designed music school building in the whole of India. We have Eastern and Western music and dance.
Anyhow, it was one of those hugely important but really hokey ribbon cutting affairs that we all go to and aren’t sure why. We went because we have been helping raise money for the building/school/programs and I teach composition lessons (to teachers) and the head of the school is a friend. ANYHOW, it just happened that the celebration coincided with Aruna’s (the head of the school) birthday. OF course we sang Happy Birthday. There were about 50 or so attendees and we had a piano, cello, violin playing along. It was the best Happy Birthday singing I have heard in ages. Now, here is the novel part. After we sang “happy birthday, dear Aruna” we started off with verse 2 “May Allah bless you etc.!!!! Now, I have not sung “May Jesus bless you” in the birthday song since I was a really little kid in Sunday School. But, there we were, 50 rich old duffs singing “may Allah bless you”. It was very quaint, charming, and I liked it very much. However, I know Aruna is a Christian, so I’m not sure why we sang “Allah”.
After the program, there was a lunch. I asked one of the office ladies where the restroom was. Well, hmmm, they are all over the place, but NOT WORKING YET. I had just spent an hour driving to the school, sitting in an hour-long program, chatting for quite some time, and I was really…ready. There was a catholic church across the street, so I wandered over there to see if I could use their facilities. I went into a little room where a bunch of priests and nuns were having a snack. This wasn’t a dining room, more like a living room where you’re having a party and everyone has a plate on his lap. I went up to one of the priests and asked him where the toilets were. He got up, went into a little room right behind a curtain, and came out with an elderly man who was at least 90. The old man leads me out onto the verandah. I am really confused and don’t know what to do. He gives me a nice chair to sit in (not the one I WANT) and asks me “Why do you want to see me? Do I know you?” “No Uncle,” I say, “I asked Father something else, but I’m happy to see you.” We looked at each other for a minute or so, and went our own ways. Anyhow, Tom, Babu (our driver) and I decide to drive to the Leela Palace to have lunch and do what needs to be done. Tom and I had drinks and a lovely meal in the Library Bar while Babu sampled the pleasures of the food stalls across the street.
Stuff like this happens every day almost.