The mummy mystery


The afternoon was spent at an old neglected cinema, near the walled city – one of the only two art-deco buildings in the city – where, the greatest magician of the world O.P. Sharma (junior) was to perform unmatched acts and tricks –they were strange two hours, filled with plastic flowers, glittering costumes, sexual innuendos, gorgeous beauty queens turning into gorillas, men with too much makeup standing at each corner of the stage shaking their heads repeatedly, shapely women dancing to cheap Hindi songs : there were social messages too, against the rampant female foeticide, against alcohol –a huge cut-out of a bottle of scotch whiskey, inside which young people disappeared.

After a point, it started to seem more and more like a parallel reality – another planet and just as I was thinking about this, the magician declared that, thousands of years ago, there was an Egyptian princess who wanted to come to India after having a dream that it is only from this land that she will go to heaven, but she died with her wish unfulfilled. So, now, he will make her wish come true and so he opened a sarcophagus that first contained a mummy, then a young woman, who floats in the middle of the stage, covered with a purple shroud, and after a moment : nothing. She’s gone to heaven, finally, after so long.

And even though I was laughing through all of this, after coming out of the show, I wondered if everything hadn’t actually happened, that maybe it was a glimpse of another world, accessible to us only through dreams or inside old neglected cinemas on hot, very hot afternoons.

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