You hear me? Never again.
It wasn't even as if it was my own kid's Annual Day*. The kid's closest friends invited him to theirs and we said ok. After a mad scramble to get there on time, we found - what's new - that the event wouldn't begin until an hour later (we were waiting upon the Chief Guest, Saroj Khan**).
It was pure torture: kids reciting their rehearsed speeches in a way that doesn't seem to have changed in 30 years (I half expected the girl to spread out her skirt in a half-curtsy like those St. Ann's kids of my youth were taught to do...oh god! that's the cue for my migraine to return. Make note of all triggers, Space Bar); tinsely props, Bollywood, Bollywood, Bollywood.
I can't even go on - I'm so depressed. But the Principal or Director or whoever, feeling she needed to justify all the classes reassigned for rehearsals, the days spent at the venue, and the holiday they would have the following day, reeled off dubious statistics to prove that involvement with 'art' increased a child's 'performance' in school four-fold.
After an hour of this, and after one of the kid's friends had done with her performance, I said we were going to leave.
In the parking lot, we found ourselves locked in by other cars that were not even left in neutral. We sat in the car for an hour listening to the radio and watching the moon. Then, as some cars started going over the verge and out, and the space around us cleared somewhat, I did the same thing. Never done it before, mind you and never want to again. I worried about the axle, the wheel, all kinds of things, but really didn't want to hang around until 10pm for the owners of the cars around me to return.
Like the raven said, "Nevermore!"
* At the kid's school, Annual Day = each class doing their act under the big tamarind tree at the back. Only the parents of that particular year are invited, and it's all painless and over in an hour. This is what I call civilised. Plus, there's no moralising about Life and Courage and Country and all that.
** Yes, the choreographer. What can I say?