Weekend, what can you do in a weekend? There can be a million answers for this question. Lots of people would have done lots of prolific things during the span of the two days that we call a weekend. I am going to tell you a story of one such weekend.
Friday, 23rd April 2010 6:15 PM
I am sitting in the office cafeteria at my office in Pune with two of my colleagues, Sakshi and Poulomi. We are having snacks and I tell them I have to catch a bus at 7:30.
Sakshi : How are you supposed to reach ruby hall by 7:30? (She asked this because of the distance I had to go to catch the bus from Ruby Hall)
Me: By auto… (Gesturing the handle of an autorikshaw). I have done that in past, last time I started at 5:30 to catch a bus at 6:30.
Sakshi : You see, there is a difference between 5:30 and 6:30. You will see.
Me : I am done with the sandwich.
Sakshi : I think you should leave.
Me : Bye… (half walking half running)
I get out of the office, catch the first shared auto to reach the Hinjewadi chowk. It takes me 10 mins and 10,000 words to convince a rickshaw driver to drop me at the bus stop for mere (!) price of Rs. 280. This comes with an added condition; he will also take up fares all along the way.
During the whole journey he keeps screaming ‘Teshon’ (‘Station’ in local lingo). Thanks to him we stop at atleast 5 places on the way and I get accompanied by a fat and stout Girl going to meet her boyfriend, a cool and sexy girl who is going for a movie and an insurance agent going for a call. Now don’t ask how I came to know about what they were going for.
I reach the bus stop and manage to catch the last bus leaving for Indore. As I am so late to get the ticket the only seat left was the upper berth at the end of the bus. Those who are not familiar with the sleeper buses that ply in all parts of India don’t get surprised by the mention of the word ‘berth’. The sleeper buses are an amalgamation of the Chassis of a bus and the layout of a train. Search Google for picture of these buses, which will give you a visual feel of the interior.
Travelling with your berth at the rear end of bus is what you call pain in ass, head, back …actually each and every part of your body. The ride is so bumpy that during the sleep (whatever I was able to get) I dream of travelling on moon. I bang my head atleast twelve times after which I stop counting. At an early hour of morning my cellular communication device informs me of a text message. It says
‘Dear Customer, your outgoing facility has been barred due to negative verification of your documents. Please submit correct documents to continue uninterrupted service.’
Now that’s what you call an insult to injury.
Saturday, 24th April 2010 9:00 AM
With very little sleep and lots of body ache I manage to reach Indore. As usual the city that I love the most welcomes me with a shower of dust and blow of hot air. I see development work going on all along the way to my place. As I reach home, Mommy – Papa and Anand Mama (Chunnu Mama) are waiting anxiously for me. They think my phone died due to low battery. A plate of Poha is served in front of me along with a glass of Pana (Green mango squash). Man! I love Indore. As always a plate of Poha is never enough for an Indori.
Chunnu Mama is in Indore as he had to leave for some remote place near Mandla for a training camp for 15 days. The place is so far flanged that he has to walk 1.5 kms and climb a hillock to make a phone call. (He is still there as I write this).
All during the day I complete various important jobs pending to be done. I present you the list
– Visit to doctor, as a part of my monthly check up.
– Get my glasses repaired, which got damaged in my back-of-the-bus journey.
– Catch up on lost sleep.
– Visit to a friend’s place to collect a parcel which I was supposed to deliver to him in Pune
– Visit to Bhua’s place
– Then paid a visit to one of my cousin who had recently run into a 75 yr old man. The old guy was now in coma, had broken both his knees and my cousin was held responsible for this. (I never felt so as the old guy was driving a Royal Enfield Bullet and my cousin a TVS Scooty. How can a boy on scooty injure a man on Bullet so lethally).
– Book a ticket for return journey to Pune.
Meanwhile these things are happening I am constantly planning with my friends for the next day. Sunday is going to be the biggest day in life of one of my friend, Ashish Sharma aka Mathura aka Bhata aka Haapshish aka …..(Sorry cannot produce the whole list; it is bigger than the bible).
He is getting engaged after all.
Sunday, 25th April 2010 5:30 AM
I wake up listening to the alarm. I had to get ready by 6:00 AM as Nilesh sir is going to arrive and we would start for our journey.
Nilesh Singh Chandel, he was our senior in engineering college. ‘Berang’ , ‘Bindass’ and ‘Berang Bindass’ are his word whiskers, but with some meaning attached to them. I have provided the possible meaning for them.
|Berang||Literal meaning – Without any colour.He uses it when he intends to say that a particular job was done without any fear. It is more like the just-do-it.|
|Bindass||Literal meaning – Without any inhibitionsHe uses it to denote the carefree nature of things|
|Berang Bindass||He uses it to denote the combination of above two characteristics.|
Although a senior of ours he became quite a close friend in the later part of our college years. The bond was strengthened by the mutual exchange of favours among us, especially with Ashish. On Saturday we had decided to go to Sihore for Ashish’s engagement on his bike as I had come back to catch a bus at 7:00 PM for Pune.
While I am bathing, I could hear that Nilesh sir has arrived and is talking to my Mom. I quickly come out and get dressed up. It was 6:30 by the time we leave. We refuel the bike at a petrol station just near the city limits before hitting the highway.
The road from Indore to Bhopal (On which falls the town of Sihore, at a distance of 160 Kms from Indore) is named State Highway 18. Now in the part of world where I live, even national highways are not expected to be in a very good condition, leave alone the state highway. But what we come across was much more than a surprise. The road is unexpectedly smooth and broad. The median is as wide as the roads and there are trees all along the way. We are so taken aback by the quality of the road present in front of us that we go almost a kilometer before we realized we are on the wrong way, near Dewas. At this point we check our phones for the time elapsed (as none of us had watches), it is already 7:45 and we are supposed to reach Sihore at 9 o’clock. We have to travel 116 kms in less than 90 mins. Now that is impossible we both know.
None of us spoke a word for the next one hour which we took to reach Astha, a town 40 kms from Sihore. We had to have a stop here because our bums are so hurting that I start believing that I would not be able to return by same means. A refreshing cup of tea and a plate of Poha brings back life into us. It is still cool and sun is not up to its full glory. We gear up for the last leg of our travel. All through the journey it never happens that due to the quality of the road we had to shift to a lower gear.
Sunday, 25th April 2010 9:30 AM
At 9:30 we reach the venue, as soon as we entered the marriage garden where the engagement is supposed to happen, an SUV also enters with us. Out come four boys, Aanil Pandey, Davendra Raikwar, Vaibhav Gupta, Vipul Gupta.
Anil Pandey, he is Ashish’s school friend. His voice is so heavy that a you could crush a can of cola under it. Presently in Delhi he is famous among the friends as ‘the confiscator’. He gets hold of whatever belonging he likes of his friends and is reluctant to return that. He is also famous for his love for black coloured clothing. Ashish attributes his mischievous nature most to Aanil, who influced Ashish a lot in their school days. Pandey now seems to be grown old as considerable amount of his hair is grey and he has grown thin.
Davendra Raikwar, He is among the people on whom I can go about writing a book. But will wind it up in short. Anna, is how we address him. He has absolutely unpredictable temper. He can make anybody go mad with his annoyance if he wills. One of my favorite partner when it comes to nag somebody. Both of us combined have produced many disastrous incidents where people got very hurt, which can be recalled by lots of our friends (angry friends, rather). He is very parsimonious when it comes to talking and keeps most of things to himself. Presently working for Delhi Metro, he holds the most prestigious job among us, as majority of us are software engineers. You need to be his friend for a long time before you understand what he really means when he remains quite. During our college times he used to hate the silly text messages on friendship, love and etc. But now he is the one who sends all such messages and the one who sends them the most.
Vaibhav Gupta, again a figure who can be a subject of a book. He is the favorite prey for Davendra and me and he also very well appreciates this. Kaka is how somebody from us will address him. The reason behind this is that he used to play the role of famous ‘Ramu kaka’ from Sholay in the skits we staged during our college. He is also known as ‘the altruist’ due to his helping nature. Very few people know that he lives a dual life. For those who see him from a distance don’t know this. And even no one from us know exactly what his other life is like but all of us know discrete bits and pieces. Below is the list of certain things that define him.
- Loves listening to songs.
- You will find him always chewing cinnamons.
- When it rains it is out of his control to not get drenched.
- He cannot help helping others, especially if the other is a girl.
- Needs Dal-baati at least once a week.
- Loves philosophies of Osho, Sri Sri Ravishankar and anybody who can profess.
- Visit places with only some of his selected friends, especially by bunking classes.
- Occasionally sleeps at night.
Presently at IIT Roorke, I hear that he had created a fan base there with his altruism and stories he narrates to everybody. I think that is enough to give an idea about him.
Vipul Gupta, Vaibhav’s younger brother. If I consider all the siblings of my friends he is the one we are friendliest with. Our relationships with him have reached such a level that Vaibhav doesn’t matter when it comes to rapport between any of us and Vipul. Monu, as he is fondly called, is a humble and happy-go-lucky creature. Although I have heard incidents of his stubbornness from his mother but I have just heard them. He always comes across smiling. He is always ready on his toes to respond to orders of his elder brother. A Charted Accountant in making he is a dream of a brother.
Before me and Nilesh sir finish catching up with these four guys, Ashish, Pavan, Deepak and Anil Upadhyay along with some other friends of Ashish come to us.
Ashish Sharma, already you all are aware of his various names. The most popular and catchy one is Mathura. Now I am not going to tell you about the story behind this name. Mathura, as everybody calls him is a weird character. An ardent gym devotee, he always believes in doing what he wills. He can talk to a stranger for a whole day, till the stranger is no more a stranger. He loves photography but only if the one who is posing is he. He can sleep for days and remain awake for more days. When we were in college he was a terror among the juniors and was the most dedicated junior to all the seniors. Pavan Rungrecha holds the key to Ashish. Nobody save Pavan came make Ashish agree to certain point. One more striking aspect about Ashish is his Bike. A black Yahama Libero is the one possessed by him. He is famous (or rather infamous) for his trademark U-Turns on a busy road. He has achieved various accomplishments with his bike, the latest and the most daring one is a bike ride from Ujjain to Mumbai (nearly 700 Kms) in 16 hours. Now I won’t go boasting about him. He is the one getting engaged and we all have travelled from different parts of the country for him. As I have mentioned earlier about some of my friends on whom I can go about writing a book, the book on Ashish would be the most massive one. Presently, he works for a software company in Mumbai.
Pavan Rungrecha, a plump shaped, preoccupied, self conscious guy who wants to look fit without any effort. Genda aka mama aka pakoda … he too, just like Ashish has wide variety of names. He is always bothered about his appearance. During the college time he used to get smitten by every passing girl. He very skillfully pretends to be the most responsible, the most mature and the most thoughtful guy among us, and is very successful in doing so (although we know the truth). If you tell him the symptoms of a disease he is sure to catch that within few hours. He thinks he is the leader of all the mankind and is the one who should speak on everybody’s behalf. Now I should refrain from writing much about him as it will be harmful for him as well as me. Presntly, just like me he is working for a Software company in Mumbai
Deepak Sisodiya, a smart looking guy (he just looks smart) from Mandsaur (along with Pavan and Davendra). Pavan calls him Lala and so do some of us. He always keeps smiling and laughs out loud at every joke. You never know when he actually understands the joke and when it’s a dumb laugh. He is one of the few people who actually enjoy listening to incidents narrated by me(this is what he tells). Apart from Davendra he is the one who sends a message per day. But his are more comic rather than dull sentimental messages. Presently he handles his family run business and manages a sari shop.
Anil Upadhyay, another character who hails from Ujjain and is Ashish’s childhood friend. He is one of the most astonishing characters I have ever seen. Some of his deeds are so prolific that if I cannot think of doing those. His friends fondly recall his famous suicide attempt. During the college time he seldom prepared for the exams but often passed the exams. Sometimes we knew how he did that and sometimes not. He was managing all the activities for Ashish’s engagement. Presently he teaches in an Engineering college.
Ashish: BAWA, BAWA, BAWA, BAWA, BAWA, BAWA, BAWA!!! (That’s our trademark greeting. Bawa pronounced loudly 7 times in a rhythm, with your hands up like you are held by a cop. We even have a community for that on Okut!) Abe to bike se kaise aa gaya? (He asks to me).
Me: Kyun, main bike se nahi aa sakta? Koi problem hai kya bikes ko?
Ashish: Nahi be, main is liye aisa pooch raha hoon ki tu itni der bike pe baitha kaise?
Me: Ab teri sagai me aana tha to tere tarike se hi aa gaya….
Soon Naushad, Amit, Pravin and Ritu (Sharma) arrive. Everybody is talking to each other.
Naushad Ghori, tall, fair and handsome (argh…) male (?). I don’t know it is his habit or he does that intentionally but he can never be serious. Back in college he was an integral part of our team that staged skits in which we spoofed the Hindi film industry. And it was during the times of cultural activities that the two of us interacted the most. He used to play Sanjeev Kumar aka Thakur Baldev Singh from Sholay and Vaibhav Gupta was Ramu kaka (Hence he came to be known as kaka). He is one of the most irritating creature I have come across, there were times when during the rehearsals I used to shout like anything at him and Shikar (I won’t describe this creature here). He always tries to impress girls with his greasy talks. Every time you will find him loitering around girls. During our training days in Kerala he still remained the femalephillic organism. We both were put in the same group for preparing a mock project. There were instances where he did something which could be called as productive for the mock project, but those are very few. I feel I have wasted enough space on this good-for-nothing rascal.
Amit Hasija, slim, tall, fair brown-eyed guy. Amongst all these people he is the one whom I had known for the longest. Both of us went to the same coaching class in high school. He and Naushad are schoolmates. Ashish, Amit and Naushad are flatmates. Ashish, Naushad and me are classmates from college. It is interesting to see how the net of friends interconnects two nodes through different paths. So coming back to Amit. To be honest, during our college times I had minimal interaction with Amit. It was only during our training days in Kerala that we got to spend some time together. He used to come and stay at the hotel in which we were staying, even though he was allotted a different accommodation (God knows why). Presently he is working for the same IT firm as I am and lives in Mumbai.
Praveen Kaushale aka chupchap, a dark, reserved guy. He also is one of the flatmates of Ashish. He and I used to travel in the same bus during our college times. There is an interesting story about how he came to be known as Chupchap. Once when we were in second year of college there was an event organized by a local newspaper in our college. Somebody from Praveen’s branch knew one of the reporters. They decided to do one piece for the local supplement of the paper where senseless bits of information and meaningless college news are published (Usually the last page on the city supplement). In that article a picture of group of friends was published (Praveen was also a part of it) and there was a small description of every member in it. Praveen was named as chupchap by his other friends and it was written ‘ab mileye Praveen se jinko inke dost pyaar se chupchap bulate hai….’ And some other shit. Next morning he came out in the bus flaunting that his picture has been published in the paper. When Abhishek (another of my friend) and I read out the matter we couldn’t help needling Praveen. It was so hackneyed and so chutiyatic (sorry for the slang). Even Praveen was embarrassed with that, he never mentioned that article again. Presently he is chupchaply living in Mumbai and exploring new boundaries.
Ritu Sharma, a cute, lovable and what-is-happening sort of girl. Hers was roll number 48 just before mine. She has been the victim of my wrath during the practical session in the college. I was always concerned with finishing the experiment as early as possible and she and Ritu Kapse were the two other member in our practical group. I used to tell them to sit quietly and not utter a word till I have done the practical. It was only after I had finished that they touched the apparatus. Presently she is teaching at an engineering college. When I asked her what subjects are you teaching she replied that, who actually teaches at an engineering college, with a chirp.
And our talks continue till we go into bath. The bathroom doors has slits on the top. Somebody starts taking pictures of the ones bathing inside and that turns into rage with each one bullying another. Now I am not going to describe the intricate details of it. After getting ready we sit below a tree which is very soothing as heat starts mounting. While we were bathing Sandhya(Ashish’s fiancé) had arrived. Soon two other creatures had arrived namely Kapil Saluja and Banakdeep Singh Saluja
Kapil Saluja, a smart, young and stubborn guy. He is the younger brother of our dear friend Rishi. As Rishi is in Chandigarh and could not come to attend Ashish’s engagement Kapil came. He would’ve come even if Rishi was there. Kapil considers Ashish as his guru. Both share traits as far as thinking goes. He is also famous for his stubborn nature. I had heard incidents of his beating up a policeman even before I first met him. Presently he is studying in Indore.
Banakdeep Singh Saluja
Banakdeep Singh Saluja, a slim, fair Sikh with genuine turban. He is Kapil’s friend and flatmate. I have met him only on certain instances but the impression I got about his is he is an amiable and cool tempered person. It was during Ashish’s engagement that I came to know about the meaning of his name, Banak means Honey. Although we had a very less interaction there have memorable incidents one of them being his bike being taken away by traffic police. At that time he had even lost all the papers for the bike and his license too. He is also presently studying along with Kapil.
The ritual requires the presence of the girl for most of the time. Hence we are with Ashish in a room where he was getting ready while the rituals are being performed. He will only have to make a presence for exchanging the rings and some trivial rituals. But that is also delayed as he had forgotten a special tika that is worn by the Boy at the time of engagement (Anil Upadhyay is held responsible for this). Two of his friends are dispatched to bring that from the local market. As they aren’t aware of where to get it from, it takes them time to find it out. Meanwhile, everybody starts thinking that we have held up Ashish as a sign of the groom’s ego. People from family keep saying that it is not a marriage let him go, and we have to explain them the real problem.
Just before the auspicious time is about to pass, they arrive with the tika and out comes Ashish dressed in Purplish blue Kurta payjama. He goes straight to where Sandhya was sitting and also the priest. All through this time, Pavan is taking snaps of the happenings. He thinks he is some world class photographer and expects us to feel privileged to get his services.
It is very crowded as everyone wanted to see the exchange of rings. Davendra, Deepak and me slip back and as soon as ceremony is over we signaled the Dholi(Drummer) to start his act(actually he was already into it) and then we start dancing. For next 10 minutes what happens I don’t know. It is so hot and the dancing resulted in sweating and perspiration. I am dehydrated; I go and drink from whiSchever water body comes to me at first. Despite of doctor’s warnings of drinking only distilled water I gulp 4 glasses of water from a drum kept just outside the hall where we were dancing.
After all this we take time to calm ourselves and retire to the same tree. As many of us meet each other after a long, long time we couldn’t get enough of catching up. Naushad, has a bleeding nose due to the heat. Poor guy couldn’t enjoy the whole function. Soon the lunch is served and we the groom’s friends with the entire attitude enjoy the first serving.
Sunday, 25th April 2010 2:30 PM
After lunch we go back to our temporary lounge(The tree shade) and keep chatting. Nilesh Sir points out that it was nearing 2:30 the time we had decided to leave SIhore. We start bidding goodbye to all and it is not before 3:15 that we could actually leave.
This time the heat is on. We cover ourselves with white cotton cloths one of which I had brought with me and one each was given from Sandhya’s family as an acknowledgement of appearance in the function to us. We are now aware of the route and the time we would take to get back hence we are more confident. But certainly the conditions are different, it is almost 41o C and the highway is going to be hotter than this.
Nilesh sir rides the bike for the first leg of 60 Kms till the MP Tourism highway retreat. Then I take over and it is never a time in the journey that we have to pull down the speed due to the poor quality of the road. It takes us just within 3 hours to reach my place. We cover more than 160 Kms in 3 hours.
Sunday, 25th April 2010 6:15 PM
I reach home, took a bath while mommy prepares a cup of tea. I realize that I am having a headache. Papa gives me a painkiller. I quickly pack my bags and leave for the bus stop. When I reach the bus stop, the bus is already there.
Before I could arrange my belongings the bus has left the limits of the city. And here I am wondering about this adventurous weekend that I had. If I see it in retrospect I could’ve never agreed to the idea of riding a bike all the way to Sihore and coming back in one day. But sometimes you do most unusual things for the people whom you love. At no cost I could’ve missed Ashish’s engagement. At no cost I could’ve missed meeting so many friends at one place. Soon I fall asleep.
Monday, 26th April 2010 12:00 PM
I am sitting in my office and it seems as if nothing has happened. Although I have travelled more than 1700 kms by road in just a span of 2 days including 320 kms on bike in one day it makes no difference. I have loads of calls and issues. The usual life has resumed……
Posted on May 23, 2010, in ऐसा भी होता है......, Uncategorized and tagged adventure, Bike trip, friends, Friendship, life, non-fiction, Pune Indore bus journey, Road trip, Rohan Kanungo, weekend, writing. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.