It was some random Facebook post which got us connected. Jey doesn’t even remember the post but he vividly remembers that Sriram said something which Jey could relate easily.
Jey came home and told Meenakshi, ‘Do you know there is always a connection with people. you know that Jharkhand feeling.’ Meenakshi smiled and said, ‘seems you met a Jharkhandi today.’
That was the beginning of relationship with the Dalton family. Jey was intrigued with the surname and remembered interviewing another lady named Megha Dalton few months back. Though he never thought Sriram and Megha would be related, they turned out to be husband and wife.
Before meeting Dalton family, we googled and got to know that Sriram has got a national award for his film The Last Behroopiya and Megha had performed in Coke studio.
Artologue has been making plans to go to mumbai since 2014 to see the Ganpati festival and this time everything looked set. We informed Dalton family about our schedule in Mumbai. They asked if we could stay with them as well. It was common to receive such invitations but in next few weeks Jey connected with Sriram at many levels. Sriram suggested few things about the Window series Jey was writing on Facebook and they talked about the Water workshop (organised by Sriram) in the jungles of Netarhaat.
We had decided to meet the Dalton family during our Mumbai trip but no plans of staying with them. However even before we reached Mumbai, Sriram and Megha kept messaging to meet us. After two days we decided to leave Madh-Island and meet the Dalton family in Andheri. The flat number was 404.
The meeting lasted for more than 50 hours. We connected on levels we hadn’t imagined. The family of four, Sriram, Megha, their 10 year old daughter Toto-chan and four year old bundle of energy Taiyo, enchanted us with their spontaneity. The house looked like a bachelor’s pad. We entered the house and felt like in a big hostel room where more than 20 people of his film crew were cooking, dancing, singing, discussing films, editing, talking, drinking etc.
Meenakshi was shocked in the first instance but slowly we realised that in this chaos, Sriram comes out a a serene centre of energy. A kind of centripetal force around whom everyone else is circling. He is calm though everything around him is moving.
We talked, smoked, drank, ate and slept around 3am every night. In the morning, again people started coming and going and it went on. In between whatever work had to be done was happening like an auto-mode.
We were amazed to see that Megha a folk and hollywood singer who did not have any schedule to practice. She was singing while cooking, dusting, talking to us and whenever she felt like. In the middle of any conversation, both husband wife would start singing and kids would dance along in joy.
There was a rhythm in this chaos which we connected to in few hours. They knew exactly what we wanted to talk about. For two nights we had long chats. Sriram is an amazing listener and a beautiful talker with so much going on inside his soul. I had never seen such a simple yet powerful woman who is so down to earth that her simplicity becomes her power. No show offs in the show business was Megha’s key to success. Sriram was confident about what he can do as a filmmaker but that confidence never ever touched the line of arrogance.
He exactly knew where he is coming from. He doesn’t have words but he can pick ideas like a sharp eagle. He knew what he wants from the industry and what he can give back.
Painting in the Dalton household was the funniest experience we could have in all our travels. Meenakshi decided to paint the big wall and made the base colour. In the evening Meenakshi invited Sriram to paint the wall with her. Two artists working on the two ends of wall simultaneously. That moment was captured by the whole film crew of Sriram. Oh yes…Sriram is a fine arts student from Banaras Hindu University and Megha did her BFA in music from BHU. Within seconds all present in the house picked up one brush and their favourite colour and the fun started. In matter of minutes the whole wall was painted in different textures, different colours and by ‘artists’ aged 4 to 40 .
We don’t know how many people painted on the wall and who drew what, but we definitely know all painted their heart on that wall.
Once everyone was done. Sriram decide to give the master stroke. With the help of a painted string, he drew a few straight lines putting almost all chaos of white and orange under a serene calmness of turquoise blue.
In a sudden spur of creativity we all connected our energies at one time at one place. Once we finished we went out to see the Ganpati Visarjan of Mumbai. We walked more than ten kilometres dancing with the crowd enjoying our company on the roads of Mumbai.
Dropping our inhibitions as grown ups, as artists, as a journalist, as a singer, as a filmmaker………we danced….and enjoyed. That was what life is all about. One should be able to do what he/she wants to do in a particular moment. Dalton family was one such family. Simple, spontaneous and at peace with themselves.