Thursday, November 25, 2010

Friday, the 19th

The Metro Lines went dead on last Friday evening(at least the Gurgaon Line). I was already late from office and when I saw the half open shutters of the Metro station and people coming out with dejected faces and angry words, I knew, it was going to be tough ride going to Delhi. There was a large group people standing on the road, waiting for cabs and buses. As soon as some cab pulled up on the side of the road, a bunch of people would just leap in that direction, not caring about ladies or old people standing on their sides. On that day, it was just about somehow getting a ride.

I decided to wait. It was a friday night, so I could afford to be late. I walked to the next Metro station, where the nearest McDonalds is present. I was getting a craving for its McVeggie Burger. I reached the Mall which hosted the McDonalds about 9:00 PM. I first went to a Om Book shop to check out some books. As I was browsing through books of different categories, I noticed a girl browsing through the same section (History), a couple of columns to my right. She was talking on her mobile, when I heard the words-
'Six Days of War, ok, ok...hmm...yeah...ok..fine...bye'

She got off the phone and looked over to her left and right in search of an attendant. She called out the nearest one and asked him if the book 'Six Days of War' is available. She did not remember the name of the author, but she added that it is a famous title. The attendant excused himself to check and confirm.

'If it is famous title, how come I have not heard of that before'. This thought crossed my mind. As she was still waiting, I thought to enlighten her(and myself) about the author of the book. I quickly pulled out my mobile and opened the browser. I opened wikipedia and quickly searched 'Six Days of War'. As I waited for the result, the attendant came and told her that book is not available. I got an image of the book, but the search was still continuing and I saw the girl moving away from the shelves. I cursed my mobile, stopped the search and just zoomed in about the text which has the author's name. In 2 sec, I had the answer. I turned towards her and was about the tell the name, when I saw her moving away. Oh...no..I thought. Then I noticed him. The guy who was coming towards her. In a ponytail, with a funky phone in one ear, he came and put one hand around her and took her away.

I walked out of the shop after few minutes and bought a takeway order of two McVeggie burgers and went on my way to look for ride to Delhi.

It is Michael Oren, by the way.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

As It Happened

Anybody seen the movie 'Sixteen Candles'? Where all in the family forgets the birthday of the girl who is turning sixteen because everybody is busy in preparation of her sister's marriage. Looks like a cool plot for a movie..isnt it? The girl waking in the morning of her birthday in a upbeat mood, in anticipation of something coming, a surprise celebration in the making, a special gift from family members, only to find out that her sister's wedding is the biggest thing on everything agenda. So big, that the birthday of a about to be sixteen year old girl has been pushed so farther down the mind, that it seems irretriAevable. At least on the day when it matters.

Got the image..right? Now, replace that girl with a boy who is going to turn sweet twenty five and the wedding of his sweet and only sister being on the same date. Yeah..that's me. And it happened last year. 8th Dec last year.(Readers - you will not forget that date..will you? :D )

Everything was hectic on the 7th Dec. In preparation of welcoming the Baarat and getting everything ready. So, naturally, me, my younger bro, cousins were all engaged in some things or the other. I had that 'turning 25 at midnight' thought somewhere back in my mind, but it was too feeble. And there were lots of things to do. Lightings, Tents, Dinner at night, chairs and tables, invitations, Snacks..things just do not end in a Indian marriage...do they? Add to it those unforeseen but totally expected situations like 'pandit ji abhi tak nahi aaye hain', 'mithai ke liye ghee aur laana padega', 'baaratiyon ko naashta nahi pahuncha hai abhi tak', 'baarat mein sab logon chai/coffee ya cold drinks se khush hai, par 3 logon ko ice tea chahiye', 'band baaja wale ready hai, par unka generator kaam nahi kar raha'...uff...never ending..nerve racking problems. And I truly admit, that for few moments, even I had forgotten that today was supposed to be my day, if it was not overshadowed by my sis's wedding.

The Baarat came in the evening. More or less on time. Things went on on an even pace as the night wore on. It was a chilly night, as a Dec night usually is in the northern part of India. We had tents covering all the portion of our big roof to protect the people from dew. Dinner for the baarati and sharati was completed around 10 PM. After that, the actual 'rasm' started in the 'mandap'. And we all know, that a Hindu wedding is not a simple affair of a couple of hours. At more than one occasions, I have seen groom asking for a break or his relatives giving him a poke in the ribs to wake him up from the slumber induced from pandit's indecipherable sanskrit chantings. (I have not seen a bride asking for a break, but caught napping...yeah... )
Midnight passed. My parents, brother, few relatives were all wide and awake as the marriage ceremony progressed. I had a quite smile to my face. A smile that said, I know something that nobody here knows. A smile that said, 'As soon as this is over, I am gonna scream, papa, mammi..aap mera birthday bhul gaye!'. But it was not a thing to feel bad (unlike the girl in the movie!). Marriage of my sister was such a big occasion for everyone in the family, that a birthday (yeah..it comes every year) seemed trivial and it was trivial.

Around 2:30 in the morning, when the ceremony was still going on, albeit at a slow pace, and things were comparatively quiet, I suddenly heard my dad, 'arre, aaj to chintu ka b'day hai..sab koi bhul hi gaya hai..haha...happy b'day beta'. And then the thing caught on, mammi, bhai and cousin joining in. And then I realised, what I thought was a miss came out to be a mere aberration. My birthday coinciding with my sister's anniversary was doubly sweet.