Spending New Year’s Eve in Bombay was strange. Didn’t think I’d miss nothing and no one at all. It was exactly how i wanted it to be. The booze was just right; the setting was quiet; the laughter all there; the company was better than the best; and the cold too played its part. Add to this the most important two ingredients - maa ka khana and a comfy bed to retire.
Who made it all happen?
To not meet someone for two years; barely stay in touch and not crossing paths simply cuz home was both our calling at the same bloody time. And then when it does happen, it's like the old times. Nostalgia couldn’t have come at a better time. It is not my style, but this was just beyond material worth. The laughter, the randomness, exchanging titbits, letting each other be.
We never realise why we value some people and being with them. They just allow you to be. To exist. Followed up with a drink and some black forest pastry. And koshambari and authentic fresh-off-the-tawa paranthas with the ever indulgent Guptaji-ka-achaar. There is no malice, no criticism, yet they know you like the back of their homes. Or their allergies.
I Googled "fruit diet" and Law and Kenneth, Facebooked and Gtalked and checked all my mail, and burst crackers with auntie and spoke to different people at different times on the phone and even saw the lunar eclipse overhead as it wound up for the night. Just not the things I can do in anybody's home. It is not detachment. It is what I term space. Complete, unadulterated.
Pam n I talked for the longest time the night before last. About everything that's been going right in our lives. She put a lot of my fears at bay. She reminded me I wasn't the only one harbouring them. And in that rain check, I have found out what her place is in my life. Thanks Pam, for being the woman who tells me time and again, "Chal baith ja! You’re not the only one!"
Panvel is nothing like it was on my last visit. ONGC's done its bit and there were no giant insects the size of mini Godzillas. The hills make a remote view and the noise is just as consistent as Bombay proper. It is hinterland no more.
Pam was supposed to return my mother's shawl that ma gave her to wear three years back on her way back from our place late one evening. Now I’ve left my cell-phone charger there also. I know, PUppy shame shame!
MY NEW YEAR GIFTS: a pair of LARGE green earrings set in white metal and a chunky neck-piece from a flee-market in Goa, Dil Toh Bachcha Hai Ji from Ishqiya, a set of pictures from Vipul Arora and a loved one arriving from another distant land next weekend.