Wednesday, September 27, 2006

followed up by a traumatic birthday

5 PM. I'm floating in a warm fuzzy cloud of microsleep.
Brief flashes - leaving office - the digits on the station clock changing with a distinct click - the strands of gray in the head of the guy stuck in front of me in the train - the icy chill of the ATM - the dabba that feels nearly too heavy to pick up - and finally, the dark of my room, NatGeo running on mute as a nightlight.
11:59 PM. Someone shaking me awake. Blinding fluorescence. Sound. Fuzz that resolves into Bd, Bp, R, D, Bn, and A, standing around with ear-to-ear grins. Crackling yellow thrust into my hands that becomes a cellophane-wrapped bunch of yellow flowers. A pair of pretty nice shirts. A group-autographed red underwear is hung on my head. Chocolate smell. A black forest cake appears, opens. I cut. A piece comes up and hits me in the nose, and then rubs all over my face like a lascivious cat. Chocolate and spongecake coat my bed. I eat kheer. I stand, and as the room sways and spins, with a deep buzzing sound, I say goodbye. I wash sheet. I sleep.
1 PM. Office. Chocolate smell. another cake appears, pure chocolate this time. A knife is in my hand and forty-five people sing happy birthday. I cut. A piece comes up and hits me in the nose, and then rubs all over my face like a horny turbocharged giant snail. Deja vu. I look even more like Singapore's Chocolate Spa's posterboy of the year.

If you're reading this and you're an attractive woman with a weakness for chocolate, do send me any and all ideas that came into your head when you saw this and let's catch up sometime.
9 PM. Pratap's Dhaba. Also known as Chawla's Chicken, Pritam, the punju joint and the Oshiwara dhaba. Table for ten, have invited seventeen, and three have turned up. I need a drink.
Over the next 3 hours, everyone arrives - trekkers, ex-colleagues, hostelites, competitors, bosses, girlfriends... but all, remarkably enough, in series, so there are no embarassing encounters and no chairs short. I give my growing event management skills ten thousand brownie points.
And hukka, daru, chicken, and gossip. Wah.
1:30 AM. The dhaba is dark. All lights have been switched off, chairs have been stacked up, and the only occupied table is ours. Most of guests have gone. There's 5 of us now, happily calling for more jalebis and daru. I was later told that I had a wide, fixed smile, a thousand-yard stare, and was conducting 4 simultaneous conversations on unrecognized work, site traffic back-calculations, the merits of eating predigested chicken, and the future of travel in India and recruitment in GTL. And apparently playing footsie with an empty shoe.
And consuming frightening quantities of reshmi kabas and lemon-flavoured smoke.
2 AM. Senior person disappears into auto with speed of striking snake to drop off people home, leaving strict instructions for us to meet him at X later.
2:05 AM. Panicked SMS saying the group has been halted by the cops and is in imminent danger of arrest for unruly behaviour.
3 AM. First successful dropoff
3:15 AM. Final dropoff
3:16 AM. Battery dies. Like Christian Slater, I say, "So be it" and go home.

And so Death and I take one more tiny little step closer to each other.
27, and life to go.


  1. Anonymous12:35 AM

    Happy birthday!

  2. Anonymous6:03 AM

    Hey :) been reading ur blogs for a while now.. must say, they make for 'interesting' reading :) Hope you had a great day! :)