I Recognize You
by Vimala Ramu
It is only in the movies that one requires the help of a song to recognize a person whom one hasn’t seen for a long time. Either one of them sings a song in full or one of them sings half and the other one completes it (of course every thing sung by playback singers). There are cases where even the parents do not recognize their own off- spring unless a song handed down by the long lost parent is sung.
Some innovative movies have gone hi-tech in that, a childhood picture is fed to the computer and Voila! The grown up face emerges to make the identification easy.
I have always been advocating to my husband and family to adopt a song and memorize it for such contingencies. But being tone-deaf, the only song my husband can remember is ‘Lambodara lakumi kara’ a song taught to the beginners in South Indian classical music. He remembers the National anthem alright. But then it serves to identify your compatriots abroad and not your own family members. As for the rest of the family, each one has a popular song of her or his own generation, which the rest of us do not recognize.
Well, anyway, till now the time has not come for recognition through songs.
In actual life, people have their five senses, why sometimes even the sixth sense, well developed to enable them to recognize each other.
Once, while I was rushing to catch a bus in Shivaji Nagar terminus, a man stopped on seeing me. I also paused. The recognition was instantaneous. I asked, “Aren’t you S….?” He ventured back, “Aren’t you Vimala?” Just to think that we were seeing each other after 45 years! We were neighbours and part of a play group of some 15
children who used to spend our evenings playing vigorous outdoor games in the spacious compounds.
The next instance was at Davanagere, a prominent town in the northern part of erstwhile state of Mysore. The place being midway between Dharwad and Bangalore had developed a unique dialect of Kannada. We, the people of Bangalore would always stick out with our distinct Mysore Kannada.
I studied there for two years when I was staying with my sister and and had made quite a few acquaintances. Seven years later, when I went back to Davanagere again to visit my brother who was now stationed there, I went to a movie with my sister-in-law. The upper classes of the theatre had boxes one of which we had occupied.
With no such decorum as that of the opera houses observed in the noisy theatres, I was discussing the movie in not too hushed tones. In the dark who should pop in from the next box if not one of my acquaintances dating back to my previous stay , exclaiming, “Hey, aren’t you Vimala ? I could recognize that accent of yours anywhere.” She had managed to locate and pinpoint my identity in the dark after seven years just like Arjuna of Mahabharata who could shoot an arrow in the dark without missing his target or like King Dasharatha who could shoot an arrow at an invisible target accurately, going just by the sound.
But, our movies, where the characters are said to become just ‘impossible to recognize’ in their asinine disguises such as a mole, a wig or a pair of specs, have to go a long way before they could adopt any of the more realistic methods for their characters than to recognize and identify their kith and kin only by singing a song.