Three hours to showtime.
My temples continue to throb. Drops of sweat flow down my temples, seep underneath my cotton top and roll down my back. The cool February sea breeze is not helping. This fluffy floor pillow seems to be slowly soaking in all my perspiration and anxiety.
My therapist asked me to sit crosslegged on the floor, facing the large windows and the sea beyond. My back should be upright, she said and I should breathe deeply. Has this ever helped anyone?
Ten years ago, when I arrived in Mumbai, my battles were different. Where do I get fresh lettuce near Mount Mary's? How do I rid my wardrobe of all the blues and introduce brighter colours? Will Adil move-in with me? Will I be able to afford rent in Bandra on my own? Most importantly, will people laugh at my jokes?
“You worry needlessly,” Adil used to say. “You are marvellous on stage!”
I would endlessly agonise over reactions to my gig because I harboured a deep, unspoken fear. Failing as a comic meant going back to Jaipur, to my parents, who were sure I would return one day with bags in hand and a shame-filled face. When I said I wanted a career in comedy, my dad thought it was a joke.
After 200 successful live shows across 17 cities in three countries, I now fret about different things. Mainly, though, it is about losing control.