Sunday, March 21

Nobody's Home

I have a text message sent to my cellphone on the 5th of March 2009, 8:42 pm. It says 'Beer'.

To me, this terse SMS encapsulates what it was like to have lived in Mumbai in the year 2009. By reading it, I knew when & where to be. Toto's in Bandra at about 9:15 pm, in case you were wondering.

I'd head out of my house, reach the now-familiar corner of Pali Hill, make my way into a pub literally vibrating to rock music, look around and spot 2 gents in formal work attire either slouched at the bar or standing in an unobtrusive corner. Wherever they stood, they'd be holding mugs of beer. I'd make my way over to them and we'd grin collectively. Nothing would be said. I'd signal for an empty mug and be handed one. Nothing would be said. I'd pour myself a glass of beer with a sliver of foam at the top. 3 mugs would clink, sips would be taken, the first cold, bitter spark would ignite at the back of the throat, we'd sigh...

"So, what's happening?"

D, G & A
Over the year, we'd take part in this ritual countless number of times, in a handful of tested, trusted and well-shuffled pubs. Usually, it'd be on a Thursday, to help break the flow of a relentless week. The order of the gents arriving would vary, depending on who got stuck at Mahim Causeway or at Saki Naka. But we'd get there. The pub sessions, as I'd come to view them. There never was any frantic drinking. A couple of pitchers, a plate of fried mushrooms, a plate of chicken, all of it accompanied by music. And talk and laughter. Old favourite topics came up consistently, but never tinged by jadedness.

I'd come to Pune on the weekends, twice a month. The other 2 would go on short and long holidays, have deadlines to meet or be exhausted by the demands of work. But, more often than not, come the Thursday, a text would go out around 5 pm - "What's the plan?".

Around 8:30 pm...

If, at this point, you're wondering - "What the heck is he going on about ? I have friends like these", then let me spell it out for you. You are lucky. Appreciate moments like these. And take more pictures, because heaven knows, I wish I had.

By the 5th of March 2010, there were only 2 people meeting up, the third having shifted out of Mumbai.

By the 21st of March 2010, there's just me.

Call me a nostalgic fool. Tell me I'm overreacting. Try as I might, I can't shake off the feeling that the Mumbai of 22nd March 2010 will be strangely new to me.

Song for the moment: Perfect Strangers - Deep Purple

9 comments:

Piggy Little said...

je sais. :)

girish said...

:) It figures that you would.

Boshu said...

And its a nice pic..:)

girish said...

That it is. How wasted we look, na ? Lucky for us your camera was around.

bhumika said...

having read the 1st two lines, i was like - too much of beer happening on your blog these days. But then, what a read :)

gaizabonts said...

Beer. (Using this comment box till I get your mobile number and we define new logistics; what say?)

girish said...

@ bhumika - Heh, okay admittedly, much beer did happen. But pub talk has contributed to some interesting posts here.

@ atul - Ha! And why not. Will email it.

Gauri Gharpure said...

a lovely post.

girish said...

@ gauri - Thank you.