"Why do they have wooden planks here, it is not lohri." Or is it?

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Funny, in the moment when my panel was coming apart and he was at his best- to explain why he can't make it, all I was focussing was on his Kolkattaesque accent which has never been more profound than today. Carefully languished his English diction (an LMB product and I'm assuming proud), he was mixing date and time- almost like how it works in my head or any stoner's.

Who cares if it's 15 or 16 or even 29 March. Who cares if it's official press conference or just a date with an old flame. It could be anything, he could be anywhere. In that passing phase all that mattered to me was his accent that was getting unfamiliar and stranger by each passing moment. Almost as if it were happening in my head, by the works of Budweiser.

I was down by plentiful. Enough to calm my nerves and not react to the situation when our 'esteemed panelist' and my favourite columnist sent a text to the treasurer. Lucky cow. I imagined him to text me someday casually except this was different. The text didn't come to me and neither was it casual. 'What time is your thing scheduled for, on 15? I'm travelling on 16'. The treasurer forwarded me the text with a harried explanation that he sent, assuming to believe, I wouldn't read his name, as undersigned.

Did I panic, then? No. I was drunk enough to not care about my phone. In the middle of constructing hotel on my orange site in monopoly, I picked up the phone only when it flashed her name for call.

'did you read my text?'

'um, no' (I didn't consider important enough to read it between a good game of monopoly where I was winning against a friend who invited herself over for game and drinks, when she was suppose to cook for me.)

'he's travelling on 16. Didn't you confirm the date with him?'

'fuck man. I did. Of course I did. I was drunk that day but I did. I even sent him the poster with his name. He can't ditch now. I'll call him.'

By this time, I had toned down. I could smell the occurrence of shit from a distance. Poop smell is distinct. I called him. Out of coverage. Typical anti climax at such moments. As soon as I was done with that futile attempt, I got bombarded with calls from the secretary and treasurer. News surely travels faster than light. This is a good example.

10 minutes and a few missed calls later, I was sure about couple of things including the fleeting difference between reality and fiction. I was looking for something familiar in his voice. That feeling of homecoming, you know, orange peel, brown sugar, something that gives you comfort. It was there. Except it didn't seem familiar. There was a meritorious difference in that accent. He could be anyone. I was trying to find the image I'd created in my head. The similie loving, vodka pissing writer crush who I'd cross every noon when he'd be smoking outside the gate. 'Fuck. I need a cigarette now.', said friend.

'4S? Let's go. I don't even know how to smoke'

'fuck you man, I hate 4s. Let's have Marlboro or something.'

'I meant the place. They have a panwari there naa, not 4s. Jeez.'

When I came to my senses, or to say the least remember from there, I was in a car, which was exceeding speed of 110 kmph at east of Kailash crossing, not exactly the best place to be found without a seat belt, struggling to type a text devoid of any error from one hand and balancing chilled beer in other, struggling to put the damn belt on. Mission successful. Texting three people then, on to next level i.e. struggling with beer in a car blasting 'yo yo honey singh' and of course the senses.

By the time I came out of the car to place the order for lunch, I was conscious enough to know, my friend, the driver, was bending on the cashier, almost falling on the counter and telling loud enough for the world to hear, "susu". This time, I was suppose to call another writer to replace the original one. Same shit, call someone up and they NEVER take your call. Anyway, a minute later he did return the call and very enthusiastically gave me a no, saying he's travelling a night before our fest. Of course.

Lunch conversations were all about MBA, marriage and the usual, cancer deaths, the life, the profound experience with the company of mother and sibling and a very drunk friend who by then was talking utter crap. I was focussing on every bite of lemon rice and just hopeless life minus a job.

Now, that I'm one step closer to clogging my arteries with a medu vada, I look back at the drunk text sent to the dude. Feels pretty weird to come to senses and know this happened. I spoke to the man I read every Sunday morning. I'm very proud of me. Not a big thing for most but a giant leap for Snobster. Pass me the beer, will you?

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