Sunday, March 7, 2010

Back to Pune [Day1 - Mumbai]

~6th March~
the only bit of unwanted luggage that I'm carrying on this trip, it seems, is a persistent throat ache and a hacking cough, and it doesn't seem interested in forsaking my company anytime soon. pity. i reached mumbai early morning. got off at dadar, successfully negotiated the station which has confounded me in the past and headed for kanjurmarg, where bhupen stays. reached around 630, i suppose. within a few hours and a couple of phone calls later, i realised that most of the people i wanted to meet were busy till evening. as a last resort i called rahul....he was at the doc's but he told me to come down to nahur. having nothing better to do all day except read, i went along with rahul (who has a lot more white strands on his head than before...guess marriage can do that to a person) to their new home under construction at belapur...spent a couple of hours there chatting with him, after which he dropped me off at vashi. called up sheetal from there, who'd just returned from her shift. she told me to let her know a while before i reached BT. i got on the train, put on an alarm and happily dozed off, all the time under the impression that the train will definitely pass dadar, and that would be when i call her and wake her up. well, fresh from my nap, i still found station after station bearing unfamiliar names. after a while, becoming almost sure something was wrong i had gotten on to the wrong train, i went near the gate to check the route map. imagine my surprise to find that the vashi-BT line is completely different (as in no dadar), and i was roughly three minutes away from BT. i called sheetal up. told her that i'd made a calculation mistake and was at BT already. she said she'll take 'some time' to get ready, and told me to come to colaba causeway in 20mins. knowing her for the better part of 3 years now, i was well aware that punctuality was not one of her stronger suites. so i found myself with quite a bit of time to kill. i was feeling rather thirsty by then. i went up to one of the railway snack stall at the station and ordered a lassi (i had had a throat ache all that time), and downed it in 30 seconds flat. still thirsty, i ordered a chocolate milkshake. downed it and realised i was STILL insatiably thirsty. had ANOTHER milkshake. felt slightly better after that, but my throat had started acting up again. anyway, i headed out of the station and took a taxi to the causeway. found out on the way that she had already reached, which made me really'd be the first time she was early. heh. i got off at the causeway, and then spent the next ten minutes trying to locate each other. finally did, and then we headed off to barista. sheetal had grown thin....but she said that she still weighed the unless she'd grown more muscular over the last year and a half, it wasn't really possible. she had a point, but then again, i still maintain that she's grown thinner since i last saw her. not that it made her any less stunning, though. anyway, i convinced her she owed me two treats, one for getting a job and another as payment for all that much anime i was giving her, and that she was lucky i was prepared to club those two treats into one. she seemed convinced, but barely. was very happy to find out that her viao was NOT pink (it was silver), but the bag was red and gold (officially, though it seemed more like deep pink and yellow to my eyes). over a variety of goodies (tea, coffee, sandwiches, and...chocolates, obviously) we caught up on books, music, anime, work and life in general. sheetal being the most sparkling person I've ever known, time just whizzed by. but THEN...she was unable to finish her chocolate, much to my glee. said she felt sick with too much of it. i told her a few more gory chocolate stories till she was prepared to forfeit and let me finish off the rest. it was funny...she is one of the three chocolate goddesses in my life (chocolate goddess- one who either loves chocolate, or treats me regularly to it, or both), and she herself had mentally OD'ed on it. anyway, that episode done, we headed towards marine drive. mumbai by now had already started growing on me. the cool evening breeze and the lights in the horizon made me like this city a bit more. we sat there and talked and talked and talked about almost anything and everything we had in common and some that we probably didn't. and then it was time for her to go...i headed back to the station and back to kanjur, having spent the day with two people i barely got a chance to know but two people I'm really fond of anyway. rahul and sheetal...I'd met the former the last time in may 08, and the latter in july 08...but it seemed like almost no time had passed since then and now. it didn't take any effort to pick off where our last conversations had ended. two entirely different people who have next to nothing in common with each other. but both are equally strange in their own ways, infinitely admirable, sparkling with life every single second...and both people i wished i knew a bit better. it had turned out to be a lovely, lovely day.
was really tired when i got back to bhupen's. took a bath, went out and got some food. he took a beer while we waited, and i foolishly took a peg of vodka. not a very good idea when one is as tired as i was. was on the verge of dozing off on the street as we headed back to his room. anyway, had dinner, chatted with him a bit more...and when things finally started getting spirally around me, faded away into the blissful oblivion of sleep...

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