Sunday, May 30, 2010

of Charpais, Chaach, Country Cousins and Headlights

We’re gonna get our kicks before this house burns down…

About a month back I’d gone ol the way to Gurgaon to play football over the weekend. It started raining so we couldn play ended up just sittin at me friend’s and having fuck’s sake conversations as usual.

This is when one of the guys Vikas brought up his brother’s controversial (dats another story) wedding that was soon to happen. But it wasn the how’s the whys and the whens that I cared much about, it was the where of it. And to my frenzied delight he suggested it’s going to happen in their village, Neem Ka Thana. Not in Delhi, not even in Jaipur, now that’s just unheard of, certainly unattended to.
Next coupla weeks I pestered our man Vikas for confirmation. A week before the wedding he told me “it’s gonna be 22nd May and you should land up” , invitation enough yeah. There was no question, I was goin, and there was no question I was riding the 5 hours down.
Now then, I thought it’d be nice to have company on the ride and I asked Bhatia, another dude who was part of the initial conversation and happened to be the groom’s roommate. Being a travel freak himself he was totally in no time. To cut the rest of the boring details short we were on the road delayed by 2 hours @7:40 pm on 21st night. Niether of us was in the best shape, Bhatia had a shoulder tear and I was carrying a bug or two in me stomach. Neways, it was quite a regular night ride on the Jaipur Highway. Vikas had told us that we have to get off the highway into a left from a circle that will indicate Neem Ka Thana, what else. We forgot however to ask him how short of Jaipur would this turn be. I for some reason had 40kms short in my head. Anyways, we decided to call him when we would have done a safe 100. So we did, stopping at a Dhaba for our second tea stop. We had left the turn 13kms behind. We thought, ok ..Now that we’re delayed we might as well get some food. So we hogged on dhaba delights. Turned back reached the point from where we now had to take a left, almost missed it because apparently there was some construction happening and they’d done away wit the sign boards and well the circle itself. Neways, asking around, we took the inconspicuous left. It din look like they’d be anything beyond a 10 min ride up, but Vikas had told us it’ll take about an hour after taking the turn. It was pitch dark and the road wasn exactly the ones to rip on. Besides I discovered that after 2 accidents in 6 months I am night blind, meaning I can’t negotiate turns with headlights in my eyes. I say night blindness cuz Bhatia say’s he can totally do that. I’m not really sure if I’m night-blind and a bit jittery because of recent crashes or he’s just got extraordinary eyes. Either ways I was the one riding and the last 1 hr of the journey drained out a lot of the coconut water that I’d put in me system for my stomach.
We were there and it was 1am and the idea of space and time was kinda lost on us. All we needed was a bit of alcohol and a comfortable bed. Vikas and his country cousins arrived and one of the exigencies was taken care off. We got some beer in our system. Infact to be specific I put a Bullet in my head and felt much better. We ate a bit too. Now it was time to sleep and just as I’d expected (yeah right!) we were lead to a gas agency surrounded with fields and made to sleep on the Charpai. Authentic.. ain it. We could see the night sky very clearly and at the expense of sounding a bit pseudo, it was pretty. By the way this was Vikas’ cousin Montu’s Gas agency (It was also called Montu’s Gas Agency) and his Charpai too. After a long night it wasn difficult to put ourselves to bed, expect Bhatia who had to battle a fly through the rest of the night. It’s not funny, we’ve ol been thru those flies who take a special fancy for our skins, and our skins only.

22nd Morning 7am – Isn’t exactly the time you’d wanna wake up on a weekend especially after a long rough night. But when you sleep in the open the alarm clock doesn really sound, it shines, n in Rajasthan part of the world it shine’s rather bright. We weren’t exactly the kinds to comply to the sun easily so we lased around till we din get our cuppa tea, had it and kicked off what was to be an exciting day and a mind numbing night.
There were some complications about how and wher we would freshen up. These continued even when we reached the host’s place. Eventually we did exercise our rights in the tiny shared bathrooms, with 2 rounds each and weren’t we brimming. Young turks ready to take on the world. Except that Neem ka thana could never have been our Normandy. Neways, we meet a lot of people, relationship nomenclature notwithstanding all of them seemed nice but not overtly excited to see a coupla city lads who wouldn even touch their feet. Well, what has the world come to I say.

Right, so we head to a room which has apparently been opened after ages, specially for us. I wonder why, does it self explode, or does it suck in the inhabitants. Neways, it has a cooler and a coupla charpais and a coffee table read in “Soviet Sangh”, hard cover(just kidding, not about the title tho).

Need we ask for more? But before we explore the amenities, we’ve been summoned for breakfast which is well, authentic. White Paranthas with raw onions and tomatoes and a jug of chaach. After filling our empty stomachs we could see charpais everywhere. It was our own little jutey oasis. But sleep we weren gonna get so easily. It was the wedding house, our trip short and this was the only time we could see the market. So we did the done, headed to the market where we met Vikas’s Dad who took a special liking towards Vishesh “Marlboro Man” Bhatia, if you know what I mean. You do not. Well quickly then, The groom’s (Vikram) dad had paid his son a visit in the recent past to discover the fabulous company his son was living in. Their bachelor pad had been just the way it should have been - to the distaste of older folks. Moving on, while in the market we went to the best apparel store, one that was offering a conservative 90% discount. Also headed to a nonchalant sherwani shop to pick one up for Vikram. Job done efficiently, headed home. Could anyone stop us from sinking into those charpais now. No, noone cared as long as the city lads were sinking. 1 and half hours of the most awkward yet comfortable disposition to cradle. It was 4 pm and time to move to the Hotel/resort/park, the wedding location where we were also to be staying with another rather gigantic cousin who’s name I forget. Neways, a far more mammoth challenge was riding the bike to the location in the scorching afternoon heat. Rajasthan literally boils in the afternoon and I dived right into the pot choosing to transport the bike once in for all. Unwise, but that’s what young men are right, brave and romantic. I played my part. I was hungry again and there were a million things that Vikas had to get sorted before the wedding.

There were these all important nothings in between and I’ll cut to the wedding, or just before the wedding.
Pre wedding drinks are a must, and there was a theka strategically located adjacent to the wedding venue. We thru down beer after beef, broke a bottle, cliked some interesting pictures and were joined by Vikas and his cousins and the party just kept getting bigger and wilder. By the time we formally entered the venue, I’d put in some whisky loads of beer and a few packets of Rajnigandha mix into my body. I was buzzing to put it mildly.
At the wedding there was a troop of Rajasthani dancers to keep the guests entertained. Women and men were dutifully sitting separately. There was enough incest in the air. That mixed with the concoction in my head was taking me places. So I headed for the room. And behold, there were women from the girl’s side changing in our room, so I had to keep out a little longer. When they were done, we did our namastes on my way in as they shimmered out. Soon, I was joined by the country clan again and they were urging me to get off my ass as the baraat was there and we had to let it rip to the shehnai & dhol. I couldn be less interested, but I was made to wear the authentic Rajasthani head gear and it put me in the mood. We headed out, moshpited the baraat and were sober again. Went inside enjoyed the performances of the dance troop especially their charismatic (or should I say freaky) front man. Amazing stuff anyways.

While having our dinner some time later we realized it’s going to be a long night, one in which we are not going to get any sleep if we stay put. At 1 am we decided we had to leave, much to the apprehensions of all and sundry. But we had to; the prospect of riding sleep devoid in the heat next morning (which was the only alternative) was not attractive at all. So we started off, into the pitch darkness and towards the many headlights that were to fixate us on our way to the highway. As we hit the highway we were both exceedingly tired and sleepy, stopped at the first Dhaba we found, had some tea and before we knew it both of slouched a sleep on the Charpais. Woke up after 1 and half hours again and moved on, this time to complete our journey. It wasn an easy ride tho. I realized I needed to change my bike’s handle bars as they were causing “accumulation of lactic acid in my shoulders” – Bhatia.
When we reached we knew were done for and dead. As I flopped onto the bed I dint feel very well and was also hungry. But I did not have the stamina to make any arrangements ot ask Bhatia. Bhatia seemed slightly better off, but his fate for the morning was ditto, sleeping like a log.


Quintessential! Lost, but yet to be found entity said...

salute , salute, salute... fan of ur style of writing....

Kuber said...

just hope u're bein sarcastic..
goin thru ur blog i came across an interesting phrase "penchant for prolixity". Please add to dat a penchant for undue praise...

Quintessential! Lost, but yet to be found entity said...

no seriously bro, ur writing has this sense of ease.....which is so charming. ur blog post "What up with you Stranger" was one the most enlightening as well as thought provoking read i have had in recent times. when u read ,u r like "oh! I think about that too...."