I've maintained even in a previous post, May is a shit month in India.That shit is quick to hit the ceiling - of course, before that, the temperatures soar - and then humidity takes over in preparation of the rains that hit Kerala and the North East by June 1.

My May may not have been a grand departure, but here's a little glimpse of the roller coaster!

So in April this year, my four-year-long chapter in Bombay finally came to an end.

I left two amazing flatmates and a crazy cat behind (who, incidentally seemed to be waiting for me to leave so she would grow significantly in a month!)...

And decided to take a little break before I started my spanking new life in the cliched Rape Capital of India, Gurugram (you can Anglicise the name anytime you like but you can't change Gudgawaan).

My first stop was going to be decidedly Pune, since that's where the boy and a couple of dear friends live. Having lived in Pune before my arrival in Bombay, this seemed like a fitting revisit.

Several evening walks around Koregaon Park's labyrinthine lanes and a lot of indoor time helped me muster some courage to stretch myself some more. I booked myself return train tickets to and from Hyderabad. 

Clearly it had been a very long time since my last visit (2012), because I'd forgotten what bitchass weather was awaiting me. Between the platform and my cab, I spent a baking 10 minutes out in the sun and simultaneously questioned my intelligence and cheered about being able to add a three-digit temperature filter on my Snapchat (for the uninitiated, I'm a big fan and post inanely via bombaychuddies on the ephemeral photo-blogging platform). I had also forgotten how well-versed the locals weren't anymore because Hyderabad was now like any other communally charged city in India. So despite a universal force tying us (a la Uber), I was still hitting my head against an invisible wall with the driver, who managed to arrive after I was legit Baked PUtato.

I did the mandatory trips to my alma mater, EFL University and met both, my prof, and my friend who teaches at the campus and is closing retirement.

Staying with Karthik (that's him in the next picture. I still can't stop laughing at the unintended photobomb) helped because we had some serious catching up to do! It was a strange yet intimate feeling of being with a friend again, who had anchored me. His parents were only warm and caring and adorable. And it tore me to leave. :(

But not before I did the things I had to and wanted to do! I met dear dear friend, photographer and chowkidaar of the online photojournalism magazine, Galli (go cheggit!).

And convinced him to stay on for a play that a bunch of kids from EFL performed in the evening. I had forgotten that this was Hyderabad and on-time meant at least an hour's delay. But the production was surprisingly well put together and the performances were riveting.

Given these are possibly the country's most progressive bunch of humanities post-grads in the making, of course the subject was as sensitive, and handled delicately.

Of course I had to have logistical debacles, but that's my general state of being and Karthik's folks and dog were generously forgiving!
I arrived (with the first sophisticated instalment of suitcases and half a dozen cartons a few days in) in the middle of Gurgaon's April summer onslaught. But Hyderabad had prepared me, or had it

Thankfully, I took a few days to acclimatise to the bhatthi weather again and then start work (by which time it began raining? And dust storms made sure if i was home alone in the evenings, I was positively terrorised).

Soon after was my first real initiation, though. I ended up crashing a pre-wedding party of a friend's friend at a club one night. And that's when I discovered there's a higher chance of encountering better male dancers in this city than women.

And mother nature's bounty is infinite. I had found not only a flatmate, but also a kind, generous, thoughtful and intelligent companion in Swati.

She made sure my first steps in this new city were sure, not uncertain. She has now assumed the role of utmost authority and i try constantly to replenish my respect and adoration for her (apart from filling all the water bottles soon as they're empty and cracking depressing puns with Rahul, her friend seen in the picture above).

There was no question about it. This was to be my summer romance. I mean, what's there not to love in that Laburnum? Or the several tree-lined roads of Lutyen's Delhi? Or the wide pathways to the Parliament and the India Gate? Or the golgappas and samosas in every market. Sigh...
The boy too made a quick visit before getting on the plane for his holiday and we met his spunky ex-colleague from here at the butter chicken haven, Gulati's at Pandara Road.


And very soon after acquaintances emerged from every corner of G-Town! I was amazed at just how happy they were to absorb you into the bunch.

And finally I met this child after an entire decade last week! Aastha and I were roommates along with Tweshaaaa at EFL. She works with special children now and continues to retain that streak of spontaneous madness to this day. Considering she stays right around the corner, I look forward to taking up the offer of a nightover soon!

And of course, this poster in Hauz Khas village outside Elma's reminded me of what I've left behind. 

But warmth and sweetness this fine also gives me the hope that I might just last it!

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