All the while driving through the over crowded roads of Bombay or shall I say Mumbai, Aryan kept on cribbing on the fact that I had made up my mind to stay in India. Well to no one’s surprise all my friends were annoyed. Well there again who won’t be? The entire idea to go back where my parents left to become some thing, some thing they always wanted to be, some thing their family wanted them to be, (doctors) seemed silly to them. I hardly ever came to India when I was small because I used get sick, but who won’t? When a girl born ‘n’ bred in US tries to come and spend time in India what happens, you get heat stroke, mosquitoes act like masochist vampires, they suck up almost all your blood and leave minuscule quantity to feel the pain and last but not the least, the relatives leave you brain dead asking endless questions about your life “foreign land” . How is your school? How tall are the buildings……What do the girls wear? And the most important topic ‘boys’!
Do all boys and girls go on dates ? Do you have a boyfriend etc etc. The same old questions again and again. What they don’t realise is that even if you leave India you are not able to leave your Indian habits, your sanskaras.
So Aryan is my cousin as he is grandson of my daddy’s innumerable aunts and my best friend, who is always there for me but won’t hesitate before saying something he should or not. We both became friends when we were babies used to fight a lot but he was always there for me like a big brother. It has always been like his friends my friends, my friends his friends, our friends friends with each other. My train of thoughts was stopped by Stella.
“Have you seen the way traffic moves here? It’s like so not fair.”
“Stell did no one tell you life’s not fair, oh wait! I just did.” exclaimed Aryan
Stella and I always were best friends forever. We both met at the age of six at school. Actually we might not have been friends if Aryan had not pulled her hair and not made fun of her. I found her crying near the see-saw so, I went to console her. Since that day we have been BFFs and have been picking on Aryan (once in a blue moon).
Today is my birthday and for the first time in my life I am not throwing a party. The only reason I am not throwing one is that most of my friends are back at US, probably sleeping. Aryan and Stella still felt the need to party, after arguing for an entire hour we settled down to simple celebration. By simple celebration I meant dinner, movie and maybe some cake, though unlike me they meant party, dance, loud music and jumbo size every thing through out the night. All thanks to it being Tuesday they understood that I had to attend work. From their enthusiasm I was getting vibes that they were up to something, I decided not ruin to their plan therefore I behaved as if nothing is going to happen and act surprised when it does. Now the difficult job was to keep a straight face during whatever they planned. The only thought in my mind for the rest of the journey was ‘What did they plan?’
Finding a place to park a SUV car on Colaba Causeway is like finding a needle in the Sahara dessert. Well because this place had no valet we could not leave the car.
“Please for the love of god just park the car anywhere” I cribbed
“What, how can you say that?” questioned Aryan
“What do you mean?”
“As per you we should follow all the rules everywhere. You don’t even care how silly the rules may seem.”
“Guys there is an exception to every rule but it does not mean that we can leave the car anywhere, someone could steal it or cops can tow it away” Stella said trying to maintain peace
“Yeah whatever” I said “Park there, a car just moved”
After we parked the car we started walking towards Leopold Café. I don’t know much about this place but I heard that it was mentioned extensively in novel about an Australian smuggler who sought refuge in Mumbai. The novel was named Shantaram, weird how come I didn’t know about this novel. I made a mental note to read it.
“Hey do you know this place is very famous amongst firangis” I informed in Hindi forgetting that Stella was there with us
“Yeah it is clearly visible” replied Aryan giving me what’s wrong with you type of look.
“Sorry” I mumbled
“I’m sure it’s not going to pain if you stop speaking Indian, by the way apology accepted on behalf of rest of us who do not understand your dialect” came a voice with heavy British accent.