A chilly usual Saturday morning, I arrived at Bangalore after a terrible week at work place just for the feel good factor. Believe me, this city always uplifts my mood and brings back all the smiles :D. May be it's just the wind or a feeling of being at home :) I reached home & a warm welcome from papa, removed all the anxiety & frustrations & drew me to peace.
Spent my usual morning talking to dad about family, politics, markets, business... almost everything under the sun over a not so tasty, yet filling breakfast... made by the expert chef Me :D !!! Finally Pratap called... for those who don’t know this remarkable ajuba on earth... let me introduce u to the one out of my 4 musketeers, the king of PJ’s, someone I totally believed could never put on weight :P & one of my closest & dearest friends, who was born to drive me crazy :D But I simply adore the fact that he is always around... it gets me uneasy sometimes you know; when I don’t get to hear his trashy jokes :D So if i start describing this happy go lucky guy & my lovely 6 years of friendship with him, I would never get to Nandi Hills :D
I used to be one the most pampered one in the whole lot of 12 guys :D And this guy was always the protective one. When he finally came home & I saw him after 2 months (which actually seemed like ages), I felt, I was meant to be here; “Why the hell did I leave my best buddies and go to a place where solitude had no bounds???”, was what rushed through my Grey cells. I smiled, smiled & smiled after really long time. Dad, Pratap & I roamed about the usual places, I was lucky to get some gifts :D and did something which I had not done for quite some time, something that I came to realize later that I had missed, I was longing for, that was caring for people, helping my friends to shop Bossing over just for the heck of it and telling them that my word was the final word ;) knowing very well they will not like it and they would let me have it my way, no questions asked May be that’s what friendship is all about. Although, I was acting stupid, he was so sweet to me, probably, he missed me equally. :D There are not too many people who are lucky in this world... But I sure am! :D
Once we reached Pratap’s place, I was overwhelmed to see Rahul & Ravi... rahul urf haathi.. my 2nd musketeer, with & without whom life had always been miserable. :D The surprising part was not that I was elated seeing these species, but the fact that they seemed quite elated themselves :D. Ok! So that was a great start... so here we were, 4 crazy people, a pack of cards & a scorer :D Pratap of course! Soon from “the last card” game to buying properties in monopoly, we had played them all, tried all the tricks to fool each other :P although nothing seemed to be working. That’s when Mr.Holder called :D Before I get to this guy, I must mention some details about Ravi here. If we were ever a group of 12 & if i have to describe my relationship with him totally unexaggerated, then he was the only one who never liked me around. But that was ok! We all have our own choices & I respected that. An opener in our game of Marriage, a sensitive, nice guy who has been a great friend of my best friend, the 3rd musketeer for years. After knowing him for 3 years, I was taken aback by his splendid, caring & inoffensive behaviour. “Was it me or him???”, was ringing in my mind. So Mr.Holder aka Holdy aka the 4th & the final musketeer arrived & made my day. My one & only dearest friend who may not speak to me for a week or 2 but will check on me when he is down or when I am low or when he is off work and booze :D. “Just sit by his side, silently stay there for an hour or a minute & leave, you still would know you made the best conversation ever”. :) My sweetest & most caring buddy who likes turmeric powder in maggie with a tadka :).. yeah.. Someone who’s always “been there”! People say I am always rough with my ‘guy’ friends... but he is one guy I have never ever raised my hand on :) I couldn’t.
So when he arrived, we started discussing our plans for the next day (as I was pouring the masala, in the steaming water, to prepare a huge kadhai full of Maggie ;) for the starved souls). Pratap said Nandi Hills!( A place which is around 70kms away from the main city of Bangalore towards Yelahanka). I said ok :) (the reaction was spontaneous) “We could take my car! We are 5 people right? My car will be comfortable, what say?” ” I will drive!” Ravi added, I agreed gladly. So what time? Aha!! Not so soon honey, do we ever come to a consensus without a tiff ? :) Almost never! So what was it this time, well haathi had to book tickets in the morning for his travel next week? A valid genuine reason! So what do we do? I had suggestions, but I saw repugnance in a person’s attitude & that was a cause of concern for me because I had never seen that before. Anyway, we found a solution & Pratap & Ravi via Punjab(our adda, once upon a time) dropped me back home. Although I had to wake up at 3:30, dad & I had a long chat till 12 :) After I went off to bed, I dozed like a pig :P
At 3:45 AM sharp :) Pratap called me... which was a real surprise. :) Reminded me of those times when we would have to leave for a trip early in the morning & I would call everyone to wake them up :) I was up by then anyway. After an hour and a half, these guys finally turned up :D And what do I get to see, Only Ravi & pratap! I was surprised, I thought we found a solution to haathi’s problem.. I was :( disappointed when suddenly Pratap broke the news that as usual, holdy and haathi went to have tea :) Ok! So we started our drive towards the most beautiful sunrise, I had seen in a longgg time :). The road was good & Ravi drove really well. He had a great control on speed & 120km/hr seemed as 40 km/hr :P, pratap was mum & holdy was constantly cribbing & bugging us on why were we wasting a Sunday morning without sleep and food :))) Rahul cracking his usual jokes & I was enjoying every minute of it. Finally to put an end to holdy’s cribbing; we popped out the Aloo bhujia packet from pratap’s bag, it worked :). At 6:10 am, we drove in & Man!!! What a chilly morning it was :) After the freaking hot temperature in AP, this place was heaven :). Mild fog, wind gushing down your nerves like 1000 needles piercing through, quiet & beautiful, a breath taking site! We all chose a corner to be by ourselves & after our moments of admiration, we moved to this small canteen sort of a place to grab a bite. :) Holdy was more than happy & there we were, ordering one round of Bread Omelette, a round of Maggie, another round of Maggie & a hot sip of tea. Burp! :P Well if that sounded filling, think again, because we are talking about the ex-NESA man, fully charged :). As we came out of the canteen, a thela wala (a vendor selling goods on the cart :P) was selling mango’s (khatte wale ;)) and holdy n haathi cudn’t stop themselves ;) , so they bought one and after all had grabbed their share :P I had the privilege of having the guthli.. ;) Something is better than nothing :P
After a long walk around the hill, the strong, daring and “charming” men suddenly sounded weak, huffing & puffing :)) 23-24 yrs “old” software profs :D what a site it was!! Loaded ourselves back in the machine & left the serene beauty non-tampered and raced to our next destination, Dada’s place :); Yes! my bong bro who tied the knot last yr to a very sweet and talented gal named Payel. When I see them together, there is only one expression i feel :) Happiness! They are simply perfect for each other and when we attack his place, she, as always, would be a terrific host by serving these bhukkad brats loads of food and mishthi :D On our way back, Pratap drove the car for a while & when Ravi finally convinced him to come back to the passenger seat, He said, “ What a marvel, I will surely buy this car someday”. So after completing another sumptuous round of hogging at dada’s place, we bid the couple good bye and headed back to my cocoon. The perfect ending was after 4 rounds of food, holdy exclaimed “oh great! ghar jaake chana chawal khayenge :D!!!” and haathi responded as all burst out laughing... “Kya aadmi hai sala !! “:).