I went to watch a show

I went to watch a show. But found a community. As some of you know my son is a performer. He is in an act called “Grim Duplicity.” As the name suggests, it is all about death, the Grim part of the name is a direct reference to the Grim Reaper – the classic image of skeletal Death walking in a dark robe with the scythe in hand reaping souls. Thus, the Grim Duplicity is made up of two people, my son who plays the music of death and his partner who vocalizes death. Covid had stopped their lives temporarily, and now with venues opening up, they are performing. I spent part of the weekend to see their show. The performance was in a club called The Hollywood Comedy. Positioned on Melrose in the town of Hollywood – the club is intimate and popular to a special set of people who are not audiences but a community. And that is the community I found. A group of people, all young, going about their creative lives, entertaining each other, and supporting each other. The show became incidental to what I discovered there – something that I remember from my days at Chedis, the famous tea shop at IIT Kharagpur, or the student canteen (in America it is called a cafeteria) at Presidency College, or the old Hero House on Coliseum Drive in Winston and the Green Street bars in Urbana. People. Young. All aspirational. All supporting. As I sat through the numerous stand-up comedians who were genuinely enjoying the evening, I realized how atomized Covid had made us. Now, sitting there, in the midst of people I had never met before, but connected with instantly, I was reminded how these communities produce the energy that makes creativity possible. For my son, his fortunate moment arrived when he was found by his co-performer – an experienced, talented, and kind person who saw the promise in the youngster and took my son under his wings, as an apprentice, as they built the show. Everyone can benefit from a partner – someone who can be fully trusted, a person who might have a little more life experience and who will not hold back in offering the support that the younger person needs. In these relationships experience becomes a gift and age disappears from sight. And in the community, I was in, I witnessed these partnerships, I witnessed the care. That symbiosis, I think, is the fountainhead of growth and success, however one defines success. I have been on both sides of the coin. As a youth I had my experienced partners who helped to shape me, and today I feel that I have deep connections with people to whom I hope to offer the support that would help us all grow. I realized, again, as I sat there that it is not about the show, or the way the music is played, or how the lines are said but it is about the process, of the work in the community, of the network that is built and where a phone call would bring forth a supportive hand or a kind voice. A voice which says unequivocally, “I am here, I trust you completely, and you can rely on me.” That is what I saw in that small club on Melrose, and in some aspects of my life, I feel like I live it every day. And I am thankful for that. Because I know when Mr. Grim Spektor, of the Grim Duplicity, comes serenading on his accordion, and Mr. Grim Black, also of Grim Duplicity, comes to reap my soul – I will be able to smile and say, “Take it away man, its time, but look what I am leaving behind.” Relationships. When I sit in these places be it the The Hollywood Comedy on Melrose or the coffee shops in Salt Lake, I am simply building relationships, so, when the soul is reaped something will be left behind. So, go for it, Mr. Grim Black, make it the “reaping time” because I am confident there will be a few people at my funeral. Such vanity, isn’t it? But don’t deny that at some point you have not asked yourself: “How many people will come to my funeral/shradh/etc.?” Have you asked this question? Be honest, as my bondhu has asked me to be honest about this question. That could be the final test of community.


Unknown said…
clear thinking...apt questions....well written

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