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Archive for April 28th, 2010

The train reached Nizamuddin Station at its destined time of 06:15 AM. Luckily, we all got up in time to get dressed and pack up before the kids woke up. Had to drag the twins out of their sleep to get off the train , and boy, were they ticked off or what??!! Placated them with water, since making their feed on the stinky platform and waiting for them to finish didn’t bode well with me !  

BFC had initially informed us that someone would come to pick us up, but I think they didn’t have a cab at their disposal that day, so she asked us to come half-way through to Gopinath bazaar where her father would receive us. The meeting point was a petrol pump in Gopinath Bazaar. So we took a taxi (the driver, who after a  LOT of haggling agreed on 350/- for the trip) , loaded our luggage and were off. One thing that we instantly noticed about Delhi, were the GOOD roads. They were smoooooth!!!! Didn’t suffer a single bump the entire way!! How I wish I could say the same about the other cities/towns I’ve visited 😦 . And yeah, the old, old monuments on the way ( single gateways which went God-knows-where, enclosed by a fence) were so, what do you call it, frail?! I could practically see some of them crumbling right in front of my eyes. Its a testimony to their strength that they survived this long!! 

After a drive of around 20 minutes, the driver informed us that we were at Gopinath Bazaar. We saw a Petrol pump there and asked him if this was the only pump in the vicinity. He grunted his reply in the affirmative and so we unloaded and waited at the pump. Some 10 minutes of waiting made us realize that maybe we weren’t at the right place after all. BFG and BFS were getting the jitters because the birds up there decided to favour these two with their blessings 😀 . A quick call to BFC and we found out that her father had been waiting for us at another petrol pump for the last 20 minutes!! That jerk of a driver!! Poor uncle!! We called him up immediately and he came to meet us in an auto. We loaded our luggage into it and Uncle got in, we crossed the road to hail another auto.  

It turned out, that the venue was barely 2 minutes drive from where we  were standing!! If only BFC had told us this before, we’d have asked the taxi driver to directly take us there!! Anyway, we lost track of uncle’s auto and took a wrong turn . Another call to him and we changed our route again. A small incident happened here……While our driver was busy trying to make a right turn, a lady on a bike came up to him and said , “Indicator naam ki koi cheez hoti hai ya nahin? Saare ke saare yahin baitth jaate the abhi!!” Apparently, unaware that the auto was going to make a turn, the lady was about to bang right into us. But seriously, we four were grinning away, not because of what she said, but how she said it!! The typical North Indian twang in place!! Simply LOVED the sound of it 😀  

Anyhow, we reached the right place finally to find that Uncle had already unloaded our luggage and put it in our rooms. Or rather, room. It was a dormitory with two sections where there were beds and a common hall area. I don’t have a snap of the whole thing , but there are some other snaps which will give you a better idea. And oh, Delhi-ites spell as they pronounce, which means, we actually stayed here :-  

  

Yup, thats right!! Brought a smile to my face every time I stepped in 🙂  

By the way, this was the building where we were put up :-  

  

The fountain played in the evening, and once or twice I took the kids down to feel the spray . Too bad, I never took the camera along and have no snaps to show for it 😦 .  

BFC came to meet us and we had a round of hugs and kisses , all glad to see each other! She sat with us for some time and then it was time to move for breakfast (the breakfast counter would close at 9 and we had to rush there before it closed down). We requested the canteen people to provide us with hot water for the kids and they were kind enough to oblige. Me and BFG quickly wrapped up breakfast and headed back to our room because the twins were getting naughty and playing with plug points in the breakfast hall!! 

I gave the two a good hot bath, which actually couldn’t be avoided, since the hot water came from the cold water tap (yup, it was that hot!). Dressed them up, fed them some milk and waited for the BF to return so that I could go for my bath. 

The twins on the sofa…after their bath!!

 

Suddenly, a couple of men barged into the room with a large table .Me and BFG looked at each other in surprise. Shortly, two more came in with another table. When we asked the guys what they were up to, they simply mumbled something and left. Now BFG and me were quite amused and wondered what was happening. And then we knew. Apparently, the canteen refused to cater to the large marriage crowd and hence, BFC’s parents had to arrange for an alternate caterer to look into the the regular meals for the guests. And since ours was the largest room, they decided to lay the tables there.  

The common hall with a separate area for the BF, me and kids

The Common hall with a separate area for BFS and BFG

The twins were excited to see so many new people and refused to sleep. It didn’t help that the bedroom area did not have a door or even a curtain to block it from the hall view. Try as I might, the kids refused to sleep. They preferred jumping between the legs of the workers, getting in the way as they laid the tables, reaching out for glasses, plates and what not. Just holding the kids back was a tough task, something , which the BF and I ended up doing for our entire stay. Believe me, it was stressful, just making sure that they didn’t damage anything or hurt themself in any way.  

The BF, seeing that there was very limited, or no privacy for any of us (not to mention, no air conditioning in the sweltering heat), suggested that we move out and make our own arrangements. In a way, I agreed with him. But BFS and BFG refused to come with us. They said , it would be insulting our hosts hospitality to move out of the arrangements they made for us. So we stayed put ( A decision, I very much regretted later 😦  ).  

Anyhow, at lunch time, we met up with BFC’s relatives and other family members, the twins had their first taste of Dal-Makhani and boondi-raita and luckily, they didn’t trouble much. SS took an instant fancy to one of BFC’s aunts and refused to get off from her arms. Poor aunty was carrying him around the whole afternoon!!  

Post lunch, the caterers took their own sweet time to clear the tables. By now, we were all very tired and looking forward to catching up on some sleep. Now if only these people cleared up from here!! The coolers, though filled with water, were only spewing hot air into the room and we were getting a pretty good idea about how hot Delhi could really be!! I guess it was the heat that made the kids cranky and they simply refused to sleep!! And when they didn’t, we didn’t. The BF and I stayed up minding the twins while BFG and BFS caught up on some sleep. We had to leave for the Sagan ceremony in the evening and had to be ready by 7 PM.  

Did I mention that RS learnt how to open the tap of the water dispenser? No? Well, she did. And made sure that the entire hall was covered with water!! I was busy trying to put SS to sleep and RS was with the BF, who was guilty of snoozing on the sofa and missed out on his daughter’s antics. The twins were obviously delighted to see so much water in this heat and immediately started splashing around. SS even skidded badly and hurt his head. I was furious with RS was spilling the water, but seriously, who could blame her?? I just tried to mop up as much water as possible and then called in the housekeeping guys to clear up the rest. Believe me, I’d have given my right arm just to be able to catch a few minutes nap by this time. I was so so tired!!  

By 5 PM, woke up BFS and started another round of baths. Delhi can be miserably hot and you either bathe with water , or with sweat.  And when we were not bathing, we were busy running after the kids while groping our way through the curtain of sweat cascading down the eye-brows!!  

It took some time to get the twins ready (RS in a pink and white shalwar kameez and SS in a white and blue Kurta Pajama), who were getting crankier by the minute. I didn’t realize it then, but frankly,the heat was getting to them and there was nothing they could do about it. The BF got dressed in a jiffy and then took his turn to mind the kids while we got dressed. And we took a real long time. Seriously. So while the kids and the BF were ready by 6:30 PM, me and the other two girls moved out not before 8 PM!! We went down to find that all the other guests had left for the venue and the only people left were us and BFC’s father and nani(who by the way, is a gracious, darling granny 🙂 ) who were waiting for us to come down. We all were suitably abashed, except maybe the BF, who was shooting off dagger looks at us for taking so long to get dressed.  

We reached the venue after a short drive and had to walk a considerable distance from the parking to the event area, a journey, which made me realize that after more than two years of wearing flat shoes, I shouldn’t have selected this particular event to try out my heels. Sigh. Some people never learn. Count me as one of them!! To top it, The twins were now drowsy and irritable and begged to be carried. Tough indeed!!  

The event area was an open terrace, with nice round tables spread across it. Stand-fans did their best to dispel some of the heavy hot air hanging around like a curtain, but not making much progress in the bargain! BFC hadn’t returned from the parlour yet and we spent the time gulping down soft drinks (which, under any other circumstance, I wouldn’t touch with a barge-pole!) and running after the twins, who were once again captivated by the plug points and bulbs, even managing to switch off a few lights in the bargain. Aah….those killer gazes from the guests would have stung anyone with a thinner hide, but I guess by now, the BF and me were quite immune to it . We are made of much sterner stuff  😀  

As usual, in our hurry to leave, I forgot the camera and now I have to wait for BFS to send across her snaps. Somewhere after 40 minutes, the groom arrived. Mr.SK is a smart, suave guy at the first appearance and a cheerful, talkative , friendly guy at the second 🙂 . It was nice talking to him, which we did for quite some time until he was finally called away to meet some relatives. I had a warm feeling after meeting him. He seemed just the right person for BFC. And I’m seriously glad that this alliance came through. Almost made me think favourably about arranged marriages 😀 .  

SK’s mother, and BFC’s MIL is a smart lady, holding her own presence with grace and effervesence. That she liked BFC was apparent in the way she greeted her when BFC arrived. Oh, btw, BFC looked GORGEOUS!! I simply couldn’t recognise her, and when I hugged her, I’m sure the onlookers worried that I might just squeeze the breath out of her 😀 . She looked that good!! SK took one look at his fiancée and I’m sure I saw him puffing up with pride, or maybe his breath just got lodged in his throat! Whatever. Point is, he was as spell-bound as us and when he asked BFC how she was , my friend blushed in a manner that truly mirrored her name. Absolutely charming 🙂 . And when SK playfully squeezed her chin, she turned such a fiery red, the BF was sure she was going to faint 😀 . BFS took a few snaps of us all where I look as haggard as possible (blame it on the lack of sleep!) and the BF looked totally lost (blame it on running after the kids in a setting where he was the ONLY man running around. He didn’t find it funny in the least 😐 ) .  

I’d heard of well-off mommies in Delhi employing young girls as help for their kids and I was quite flummoxed to see a lady arrive with TWO maids for her two kids. One was around 4-5 years old and the other was as old as the twins. The lady relaxed with her drinks and snacks while the maids did the running around with the kids. I was envious for maybe a second. What the hell, who am I kidding?! At that particular time, I was envious for more than 10 minutes. OR maybe 15. No harm in being honest, is there? The BF agreed with my sentiments and said that we should have brought some maids along with us too. I hushed him into silence saying that this was his punishment for working long hours in office and not spending enough time with the kids. And I was seriously surprised to see the BF reasonably chastised!! He actually believed what I said. And me, being the clever girl that I am, didn’t bother to say that I was just kidding. Never disturb a man when he’s guilty. Even when he’s really not!! I’ll add this to my list of mottoes 😀  

The sagan ceremony by itself was a muted affair. BFC’s nani called to us to come and watch. I think the ritual mainly consisted of tilak to the groom and exchanging gifts between the families. I didn’t get to see much because RS was throwing a fit to be let down and when I did put her down, she was keen to grab at the jumbo ants crawling near a flower pot. I was busy just trying to make sure she didn’t get bitten!! SS, meanwhile, was besotted with the stand fans, and being the types who loves moving heavy stuff around, tried his best to push the stands , almost managing to topple one on a nearby table. The BF lunged at the fan and rescued it just in time. Whew!!  

Dinner was a delayed affair, what with the kids refusing to eat, rushing towards the stairs, running around like crazy, rolling on the floor and keeping me on my toes. Literally. I’d discarded the heels a long time back and was barefoot for the whole evening! While playing , one of the guest kids pushed SS a little too hard, who then fell back and bumped his head real hard. Obviously, he howled for all he was worth. The other kid was severely admonished by his grandfather and I had to assure the old man that things are not so bad and that SS would be fine. I then asked the BF and BFS and BFG to go ahead with their meal. Once they’re done, I thought I’ll grab a bite for myself. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. My friends and the BF took and awful long time to finish and by then, I was too dead to care about dinner. The BF persuaded me to at least gulp down one Gulab Jamun. Which I did with great difficulty . You can imagine how very tired I was!! Gulab Jamun being my MOST FAVOURITE sweet ever!! And I was actually forced to eat it!! There’s a stupid PJ which I thought of here (How do you send a rose to the moon in a second?? You just say, “Gulab, Ja Moon” . Don’t hit me please. A tired mind does some really wierd things!!).  

The catering service was good, the waiters didn’t even give us the opportunity to gulp down one snack before they presented us with the next. Highly efficient (Unlike the waiters in Pune, who have to be bribed to come and serve anything!! And even then, they might drop a miniscule amount on your plate or glare at you if you bother to ask for more!!). Yet, we did hear a few disgruntled people complaining about the “poor service”. I really should have invited them over to Pune 😀  

I want to make a special mention about a young girl I met here. A precocious little darling who went by the name Ira. She was around 6 years old, but chatty enough like an old dame 😀 . I guess she was born and brought up in UK, and had this adorable accent. She was instant friends with the twins and the twins, on their behalf , were quite smitten by her. SS, on the first look, rushed up to hug her and though she was nearly a foot taller than him, he tried to crane his neck as high as possible for a kiss. Aahh…my poor boy. He was disappointed by his first crush 😀 . While I was minding the twins, Ira kept me company and spoke about so many things about her home back in UK. For a 6-year-old,she had an amazing vocabulary and I was quite amazed at her range of knowledge. I met her once again on the wedding day and alas, never got a chance to say a proper good-bye to her before I left. 

BFC,SK,Ira and SS. Unfortunately, this is the ONLY snap of SS in the Sagan 😦

RS in her salwar-kameez. That's me holding her!

 

Anyhow, we were one of the first ones to leave the venue and were back at our room by around 11 or 11:30 PM. Luckily, the kids crashed out pretty soon, though not without a fight, and by the time I could set my head on a pillow, it was 12.  

BTW, I didn’t get to sleep the night either. There were quite a few mosquitoes about and the twins were bitten real bad. RS kept screaming intermittently and would sleep only in my arms with me walking to and fro in the hall. SS woke up a couple of times too, but went back to sleep when the BF put him on his lap.  

Day one in Delhi was exceedingly tiring. More than I’d ever imagined. I don’t remember the last time I was so bone-weary and craving some rest. RS finally slept around 5:30 AM and that’s when I finally crashed out.  

(To be Contd……)

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