Some twenty years back, my Speech and Drama teacher Ferieda Postwalla (now Havewala) was busy preparing myself and Roshan Dhariwal (pictured) for our Grade 8 examinations with Trinity College London. Even though Roshan was older than me and a senior school mate in St. Helena’s High School, Pune, Ferieda cast her as the young and giddy Cecily Cardew, from Oscar Wilde‘s play The Importance of Being Ernest, while I was given the older female part of Gwendolen Fairfax from the same play, because of my dry wit and serious demeanor and Roshan’s incredibly vivacious real-life personality, and her superb comic timing.
Here we are, in a reunion spanning two decades. I should add that Roshan also introduced me to one of my favourite musical acts of all time – the 1990’s supergroup Ace of Base (remember “The Sign”, “Happy Nation”, and so many other incredible songs?) and she taught me how to dance by getting a 10-year old me to copy her cool choreography! As a graduate of Mass Communication and a long-time employee of Pune’s Radio Mirchi, Roshan and I have much in common. Now, a Speech and Drama teacher herself, Roshan was able to discuss the finer points of teaching a whole new generation of Indian children how to speak English better, while also introducing them to the gems of English poetry, prose, comedy and improvisation. Can you picture us as leading ladies in a non-Indian production (amateur or otherwise) of Wilde’s much loved comedic masterpiece? Judge for yourself!