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Monday, September 13, 2004


8 pm: FF has arrived from the US with all those bagfuls of chocolates and … what’s that? Jhaal muri from the bylanes of Kolkata?? Yummieee ... and Hoby is just as cute as ever … he recognizes me this time and doesn’t bark, just nuzzles me fondly while I tickle him under his ears … pomerians are cho chweet na … :)

7 am: Goo morningzzz. Moi sleepy. Oooh is it a holiday? Wotfor?? Gopal Kala? In zat case moi’s WIDE awake :) …
10 am: Met FF and the rest of the family in Bandra. Went on wild shopping spree in Elco -- beaded purses, ethnic jewelry, chic kurtas, even razzy hairclips. Then lunched in Amrut Sagar -- their Family Dosa’s over one metre long and the dahi batata puri is the best we've ever had. Then a quick round of Jogger's Park, a short walk on the Bandstand promenade, and then visits to three families in two hours. Hectic hectic.

4 pm: Boss in an indulgent mood says, "Let's all go for a week-long white-water rafting trip to Hrishikesh". But before we stunned mortals can say "Ranagazookaleblauminkies", he amends it to, "At least let's catch a movie. What workaholics you folks are." And he’s accidentally looking at me while saying this !! Everyone else looks at moi in disbelief. Bwahaha ! :))
7 pm: Cine Magic Hall sees twenty eight managers trooping in for the 6.45 pm show of Dhoom. Slick flick. Ishtylish special effects, second only to the inimitable Jaani Dushman. Decent TP.
Flashback: This reminds moi of our JDFC or ‘Jaani Dushman Fan Club’ operating in WIMWI. Moi was a 2-star member coz I'd seen JD twice. The prez of the club had 32 stars!!

9 am: Heck, my forehead’s warm. Must be due to the change in temperature.
9 pm: Heck, my forehead’s still warm. Guess the strong AC in the office cools only ambient temperatures and not body temperatures. Sorry gang, won’t be making it to the late-nite coffee outing.

7.30 am: Cool, my forehead’s cool :)
11 am: Moi gets fired by Bosses for something I hadn't done. The fact that I hadn't done it was the reason for the firing is of course another matter altogether.
5 pm: My natural euphoria with life in general comes crashing down to earth when KK points out that I’m behaving like someone I'm not. I agree, KK, but believe me, I'm not really like this at all. Probably just a result of over-exuberance. I apologize. Sincerely hope it’s just an unfortunate misunderstanding and our budding friendship comes back on track some day.
8 pm: While returning home on Friday, I met this sweet old lady in the elevator. Turns out she lives in the same building as us, and we’ve never met. She's been staying here since 1964, my nani's been here since 1974, I've been here since March 2004, and we meet only in September 2004. Guess that's what a megapolis like Mumbai does to you, neighbours have no time to ever meet each other, let alone become fast friends. It's so different from the other places I've stayed in, especially cities in the East like Kolkata, Jamshedpur and Ranchi, where new members in the neighbourhood are often greeted with garlands and sweets, there's a welcome party thrown in their honour, and they're expected to reciprocate with a party of their own.

11 am: Visit optician to change spectacle frame. Choose rectangular instead of round. More hep, he says. Hope so! :)
12 noon: Visit Chand Sports and finally buy those dumb belles, oops dumbbells. They’re sold at Rs. 11 per pound. Cute! :)
12.45 pm: Purchase “The Da Vinci Code” at 40% discount from a roadside hawker at a busy four-point crossing. Mission accomplished !!! Now there’s just that little matter of reading it someday …
1 pm: Biryani with mum at Zaika. While we're there, a smartly dressed chauffeur walks in, says "Dilip Kumar saab ka package ready hai kya?", collects a whopper of a food hamper, and walks out. Mum's going, "Find out what they've ordered naa", I'm like, "Will it be below my dignity to ask for the chauffeur's autograph", and by the time the mist clears, the chauffeur has evaporated into thin air and Dilipsaab's house. Sniff !!
1.35 pm: Fruit salad with jelly at Amrut Sagar. Lots of kajus. Me loves kajus :)
1.50 pm: Stuffed to brim like Empress of Blandings. Burp. 'Scuse me.
2.30 pm: Conk off into dreamless siesta. Moi first true love -- Miss Sleep ...
4.30 pm: Have just kicked butt of alien terrorists and got the girl. Who’s she? She swings round to face me … oh it’s Ash Rai. Yawn but sweet. She offers her petite hand. I clasp it tenderly and walk away into sunset. Just then she turns and tells me in a honeyed voice, “Suhail wake up … you’ve overslept …” … strange how she sounds uncannily like mum … oops, looks like siesta wasn’t dreamless after all. Damn reality.
5 pm: Need to go to Navy Nagar. How far is it? 2 hours? Oops … 2 hours ONE WAY?? NO WAY!! How inviting doth this couch look … what’s on TV? … let’s watch “Finding Nemo” again …
9 pm: Sizzler dinner at Kobe’s. Am living the high life. Gotta cut down on these foodie junkets else will develop cute but unhealthy paunch.
2 am: What’s with my biological clock? The moment it knows there’s no need for moi to wake up at 7 am the next morning, it just refuses to let me fall asleep before 3 am. I’m now feeling like an owl in the daytime. Lemme raid the fridge.
4 am: Zzzzzz …

10 am: Zzzzzz …
11 am: Oops … too late for the play. But the famous week long celebrations of Bandra Fair starts today, ohkay let’s go in the evening!
6 pm: What dense crowds … Bandra Fair seems to attract the whole of Mumbai and it’s neighbours … candy floss … mini-giant-wheel rides … visit to Mount Mary church invoking the blessings of Our Lady of the Mount where, the devout claim, miracles happen every year … the church looks resplendent in it’s floral finery … snacks at Adi’s … walk back home as no conveyance … shops selling Goanese sweets where rival shopkeepers keep jumping across to their competitors’ stalls and shouting out to customers, “Raaste ka maal … saste mein” :) … good fun evening … the highlight indubitably being this huge assassin-type giant walking up to me and aggressively thrusting a book under my nose. The title? “The Quickest Road to Heaven.” I glance at the menacing countenance of the angry giant and almost say, “How will I know the quickest road to Heaven – if I buy the book or if I don’t?” – but I refrain from making such suicidal sarci statements and instead muster enough courage to walk away with a spring in my steps and a prayer on my lips.

And I survive ...

... and life goes on ...

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