It was a dark, stormy, and rainy night on January 12, 2024, as I navigated the crazed streets of Washington DC traffic en route to the Kennedy Center to see one of my favorite personalities-- comic and actor Vir Das. I have enjoyed his jib-jab sense of humor furtively now for years. This was my first opportunity to see him in person, and I was thrilled!
I decided no rain or storm will stop me from my mission. With the iPhone map tracker on, I headed into the dark night with my giddy inner child, and my teenage kid for company. What happened on the adventurous drive is for another time. We got to the Kennedy Center in one piece, five minutes after the show was to begin.
I am grateful that Vir Das was considerate not to start the show as he awaited us (in my mind's eye-- yes!). The theatre was packed like the proverbial sardine can. We sat down in our close-to-the-aisle seat, my kid in swanky young people's gear and I with my Indian mirror ghaghra over my torso (instead of my waist--- a hack I invented that evening and turned my traditional Indian skirt into a cloak). At home, my kid had looked at me funnyily for a second, before complimenting me on the "unique" style choice I had made.
Vir Das was out on the stage no sooner than we sat down. He began warming up the crowd, very humbly noting the lack of professional "crowd warmers" in his show. He informed us of how the Kennedy Center was the very stage where his career had taken a hit three years ago when his then-show covered a range of topics critical of Indian politics which didn't sit well with certain elites at home in India. And how that had caused lawsuits and copyright infringement cases to be filed against him for using his own material! Without getting into too many spoiler details about the show, I can add that this was a show that had me laughing and guffawing without a break (and with tears in my eyes). Wonderfully, so was my kid in the seat next to me!
Vir Das's show was about redemption, courage, and the power of being truly oneself in the face of any adversity. He was very poignant at one moment when he extolled how people want to stand for one cause or another, but when invited to stand in the spotlight for their cause, many of us chicken out. Made me more resolute in my personal life to take the stage for my cause and use my moment to the best!
As I drove back home through the deluge-stricken, darkened trailways of Rock Creek Park after the show, I could not see the divider lines on the road in the glistening rain, but I continued as safely as possible. And we made it home in one piece. In life as well, when the divider lines are awash in the trails of trauma and challenges, I will remember this night well, knowing that the home stretch is not far away.
Thank you, Vir Das, for your exemplary inspiration!