I was wrong.
SS came with two pairs of shoes – one with three inches heels and the other one with three and a half. When one comes with footwear suited for soft carpet walking, the cratered roads of Pune come as a rude shock. SS did her very best to not turn up her nose at the rocks that lay untarred on the sides of the road or the huge cracks on the sidewalks. But there are few things that SS can keep to herself – namely her disdain for all things less than perfect.
Anyway, we had quite a walk – all the way from Lane 5 to German Bakery. Once there, she walked in, all stylish and posh in her sky-blue tee and funky belt. She surveyed the area for a place to sit and beckoned to no-one in particular with a tapered hand. A young, jolly boy appeared from nowhere and cleared the table, all the while eyeing her long, silky hair. I’m not even sure he worked there.
Over our cups of coffee, I tried to chalk out a plan that involved going clubbing with friends, eating vegetarian food at a grill place (my enthusiasm was rather dim at this point), checking out clothes out of wooden boxes at ‘Mela’, and taking her to the Nala garden the next day. There are few things more beautiful than seeing a white lotus through wet morning mist.
It didn’t quite turn out as planned.
To begin with the club.
We went clubbing, sure, but there was much to answer for before that. Like this friend we with who we went dancing –Ak.
How did you meet Ak?
Outside Fire and Ice.
So, who is Ak?
What was he doing outside Fire and Ice?
Umm, quoting Robert Frost..You know, ‘Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice. From what I’ve tasted of desire, I hold with those who favor fire.’
Then, prodding about the venue.
Where are we going?
This place in Blue Diamond…
Where?! What kind of a place is ‘Blue Diamond?’ Who goes dancing in ‘Blue Diamond’?!
Taj Blue Diamond
No, I mean it’s Solaris or Polaris or something…
It can’t be Polaris. Polaris is the name of a software company.
Why would a club want to name itself after a software company?
Maybe a software company wanted to name itself after a club.
Shut up. It must be Solaris.
The club is Polaris.
We went and sat in a darkened alcove, nursing our drinks. I am fond of places that give me a fly-on-the-wall feeling – simultaneously sequestered, yet in the picture. It is black and tony with fawn-hued sofas and glass tables. The tiny dance floor was swathed in a laser-beam blitzkrieg that filmmakers reserve to introduce space ships or aliens. While that may contribute to the mood when people are actually dancing, they do nothing for an empty floor that people are merely staring at.
The first hour was spent discussing this and that. SS and Ak were talking about Shiney Ahuja or laptops or whatever it is they considered to be a worthwhile discovery. I admired the top SS was wearing. The admiration was profound for several reasons. It was very attractive. I had tried it on and it made me look nice. It was from Bandra. It was only 150 bucks.
Also, contributing to the admiration molasses was how I could never be able to find such a deal. Such happenstances occur only to people who get high-heels as walking shoes. Fact of life.
As the evening wore on, it got more interesting. We danced with gusto, ate nothing, and reached home pleasantly pooped and ravenous. We chatted a little later into the night and then slept.
So, there was no early morning walk the next day.
But with the skies overcast, it matters not whether you perambulate in day or noon. We flitted in and out of cubicle-like shops, got tempted by pretty, candy-colored knit tops, bought Osho chappals, and finally suffused with economic consumerism, decided to eat something.
I absolutely lovely breakfasts; especially hearty ones that follow bouts of solid physical activity. I enjoy them more than lunches or dinners, really. There is something very charming about having an unrushed, tasty start to the day.
So, I took SS to Hot Breads. We chose our food (she always has a veg puff wherever she goes, and I gravitate towards anything that has a juicy-looking grilled sausage in it), got our frothy coffees and sat at a table near the entrance. From the glass windows, we could see the slight Sunday shopping buzz that hovers around Koregaon.
We discussed my marriage plans and SS pointed out very astutely that a marriage cannot possibly happen without having a good tailor around. (From whatever I hear of marriage preparations, it seems that finding the groom is the simplest task of all. A practical ‘no-brainer’, as my cousin put it. ‘What did you really have to do?’ A good tailor on the other hand – that takes prayers.)
A group of Chinese kids trooped in, practically loaded their breakfast trays with every piece of baked carbohydrate, and tucked in.
I wonder if it is a universal thing – this warm, fuzzy fondness that comes over you when you watch someone eat with relish. The girl in the group was hurriedly smearing the jam on her bread, she was in such a hurry to start feasting. The boys licked the dribble of honey from their finger-tips. Bit by bit, their plates were getting empty. Finally, after they had actually cleaned off every crumb on the plate, they looked at each other and laughed.
SS was smiling.
I came back to Mumbai with her on Sunday evening.
Some things just hit home.