Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Italian Night Out

K finally got to meet Shobi. Ooops, sorry. We finally got to meet her. At our usual hangout at Haldiram’s, Exide. Well, we waited a good 30 mins for her. All the more noteworthy an occasion since I actually reached 10 mins before the appointed time (thank you for the applause, I hereby take a virtual bow). But Ma’am had the misfortune to fall asleep while reading and turned up uncharacteristically late. Anyway, we as usual ended up wistfully recollecting our good old days at school (in the dual capacities of teacher and student) and boring the hell out of poor K. Who had the decency to let us catch up while he went and got something in the nature of beverage to revitalize us. And chivalrously chose to overlook the fact that none of us was courteous enough to go help him fetch the tray containing the three glasses of thandai. The good part was that they seemed to like each other. Which is natural, considering that every one likes both K and Shobi. (Can’t say the same for myself, though.) Shobi looks great. She has a glow on her face. She dismisses my admiring glances by attributing it to her beauty sleep. I don’t care what it is. I just love the fact that my friend looks so beautiful and cheerful.

Well then, we went to meet AG. K is growing increasingly lethargic. He actually took a taxi from Exide to AG’s place, a mere 5 mins by bus ! I’m ashamed of his lack of activity, which is seemingly turning into a habit. (Although I secretly adore every move that he makes.) I was extremely indignant at his anticipating with sadistic relish the spectacle of a T-shirt & jeans clad me touching the feet of AG’s old-fashioned (?) parents. I was secretly hoping they’d be taking a prolonged nap in the midst of the delightful afternoon drizzle. Well, his mother wasn’t. AG was tickled by my confusion at the spectacle of a parent who looked more like a married elder sister than the clichéd mother figure.

Sush was as usual late. First, it appears that he had been buying slippers for Namita (whose were en route to Kol via the Packers' and Movers’ stuff).And then, he was taking a bath. Namita was ready and raring to go. While K, AG and I watched the new set of ads on TV (including the arresting Radio City ones), Aunty treated us to tea and samosas. A few practical suggestions that they be packed and carried to the flat for the sake of the presently un-hungry few were not taken seriously and the food was promptly disposed of.

Everyone seemed to take to our flat. Particularly, Bapi’s new device that aims to electrocute offending mosquitoes. It started raining soon after and we were soon on our way to CC. Nam declared that she was not going to settle for anything less than continental cuisine on the occasion of this great get-together and we meekly gave in.

At CC, considerable time was invested in locating a secure niche for AG’s beloved. The Red Swift, I mean. Then, we sent the boys on ‘Mission Italian Cuisine’ while we ladies sought Nam’s immediate and specific object of desire, an asymmetrical kurta. As usual, we wasted a lot of time at Shoppers’ Stop and were not done when the boys abbreviated our sortie by giving us extremely obscure directions to the Italian restaurant they had managed to unearth.

Much of the humour that night centred in the guys having ordered drinks for us, which I was unaware, contained a strong dash of white rum. My suspicions were aroused by the fact that Nam seemed to be growing increasingly ‘high’ while my natural sense of orientation seemed to be slightly in disarray. The tiramisu was an anticlimax although the main courses had not been very disappointing, on the whole. My penne, however, was simply dripping with cheese, which seemed to repel everyone except a very stolid me. K was slightly bewildered as to why I insisted on eating all the fried potatoes off his plate, despite my having sufficient undisposed of food left on my own. Then there were numerous unresolved questions. Why the waiters were garbed in a funereal black garb from head-to-toe. Why K was guzzling down all that extremely bitter beer despite being fetishistically attached to sweet dishes. Why AG thought that every time Namita and I started laughing merrily after a bout of desperate whispering, we might be badmouthing him. Why K refused to let me kiss him in the unpopulated washroom corridor although he had formerly stood up solidly to the challenge of allowing me to kiss him in public view (ok, ok, I do concede it was just a cursory peck on the cheek). Why he finally decided to do away with social decorum and hold my hand tightly in full view of all of his friends, overlooking their cheers or chuckles. And so much more.

But then, did I really want the answers? In retrospect, I think, I had been in too euphoric a state of mind to care.

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