(I’m plagiarizing movie names left, right and centre.. maybe I should go ask Anu Malik for a job)
Of course…Delhi is not all bad. As a matter of fact, it’s a wonderful trip…magical in snatches..
P. picks me up at the airport.. and makes me wait more than an hour for her before she lands up. Its old old friendship that makes me forget wanting to bonk her on the head with my heels, and makes me envelop her in a bear-hug of delight. Her hubby, S., is a very cool guy… this is my 1st meeting with him, but we are comfy around each other right away.
That night, they bundle me into their car and we zoom off to Defence Colony, appropriately called Def Col by the Punjs.. after 26/11, a lot of people are saying that all our Forces are deaf and dumb to the needs of the country. M. and V. have come down from the good ole USA.. I’m meeting them after 4 years, I think. Other assorted friends are also there, so it’s a big party/reunion of sorts. N is pouting.. he refuses to speak to me for all of 5 minutes.. because he was the only one of the lot who DIDN’T know I was landing up. I tell him it was supposed to be a surprise, I was supposed to jump out of a cardboard cake..but P. ruined it.
Nothing ever beats old friends.. the ability to catch up exactly where we left off..not a beat missed. We have known each other since Junior and High School..just counting the number of years that makes, makes my head reel. The whole night is tinged in my memory in shades of “warmth”. The lovely cream of the walls, a playful but bhishon bheetu (darpok) Lab gamboling in and out of the room, deep maroon couches we sink into, with out whiskeys, wines and paneer on sticks. And laughter, and hugs, and the old affectionate digs at each other’s expense.
The next day, I move into R.s house..she had sworn she would come after me with a knife if I didn’t stay with her - given the fact that she is a Jat, however much she protests she is not - I take no chances. R is glowing with what I can only call “newly wed happiness”.. a lot of that glow is attributed to her finally having her own house.
M. and R. are friends from my previous job, we were a group of 5 people who have managed to weather time and distance and keep the friendship going. M also brings his fiancé.. we warn her against M. and tell her “picture abhi baaki hai mere dost..soch le..isse shaadi karegi?? Time hai..bhaag jaa”. Must be true love…after all the stories we tell her of M.
R. and I go off shopping.. part of it is her gifts we friends are giving her. The other part is where I drag her off to Dilli Haat to soak in sun and ethnic funny little things to buy. She picks up a tortoise seat and I fall in love with a cycle rickshaw perfectly cast in the style they are, in Calcutta.
At R.’s house, our relaxed lazing-in-bed afternoon chat is rudely awoken by a monstrous din outside. Peeping out from her balcony, it is time for my jaw dropping moment - 2 bejeweled elephants, 6 horses, and a tonga - all part of the famous Punjabi wedding Baraat.
The two brides..yes, 2 - its a “buy 1-get 1 free” wedding - are weighed down in tones of the most ghastly gaudy jewelry and ghagra-cholis that one can possibly imagine. The two elephants look beleaguered - that’s the only word for it - shifting uneasily from foot to foot while hordes of snotty brats, screaming girls and chamkili aunties dance about, and teen boys in Pulsars wearing strange gold colored, androgenous kurtis roar by. I take loads of pictures, to remember it all by.