Kaayal in Tamil means gaping, awning, echoing emptiness. A drought of humanity where throngs were expected.
Growing up in India, when someone described a wedding reception as ‘kaayal’ it would conjure up images of the bride and groom, bedecked and standing by themselves on the dias with no guests milling about, fussing over them, dining halls stripped of hungry hoards, plates and plates of delicious food left uneaten, banana leaves of rice and sambar and payasam left untouched.
In a country of over a billion people, to have an event you threw described as ‘kaayal‘ was somewhat of a shame. It meant an abject failure to gather people, of which there was no shortage, for a celebration. I knew for certain I didn’t want any of my celebrations to be populated sparsely.
And to my satisfaction, my own wedding was attended by almost a thousand people. I do now wonder what the point of all those people was when a couple of meaningful hundreds (we’re talking Indians, we don’t do people by the tens) would have sufficed.
I had the same sense of dread this afternoon when I received an email from Kali Theatre mentioning that my play reading has sold the least number of tickets and encouraging us to get the word out.
I felt a familiar panic of ‘kaayal’ strike me and I am now wondering if it will just be my husband and I in the audience. But I know that there are already a few stalwart friends who are coming and if you are reading this and happen to be in London on the 15th of January 2016, I hope you will be there too.
It is my first outing as a playwright. It’s an honest and hopefully, engaging attempt at telling a story. And you can book your tickets here – http://tristanbatestheatre.co.uk/whats-on#date/15/01/2016
And if indeed there is only a handful of people in the audience for that evening of double-bill plays, I know all five of them really did want to be there.