Saturday, May 1, 2010

A high-spirited night out on two roads: one with Red-light & another, without

It was the final day of our MBA (supposedly!) and as the occasion demands, it had to be grand and memorable; something at which we could look back and smile. Our college also tried to make the day memorable for us in their own special way by churning out wacky and innovative awards out of thin air like foreign language scholar award, best PR award, human value award etc. A girl got the Maximum attendance award but ironically she wasn’t present to collect that!!
Once this ‘Sitcom’ was over and after a few sessions of group-photos, hugging (with guys) and handshakes (with girls) {although, ideally, it should have been the other way round!!}, we bid adieu to each other one last time.
However, Lokesh, his friends and I had plans to carry on the party as long as we could as If the world is gonna come to an end after this.  The plan was to end the night (which eventually extend well into the next day) on a high and the fact that I was no longer a teetotaler was only going to help me to execute the plan better. But before that, it was the regular Mall surfing stuff with the women folks of our group. The random but unanimous pick of the group was Pind Baluchi on the 3rd floor of GIP Mall. The internal designing of ‘The village restaurant’ was great if not awesome with an almost real tree growing in the middle with something hanging on the branches, looking more like naked men hiding themselves in the tree than monkeys. A sumptuous & delicious dinner paved the way for the much awaited night when the new breed of farzi-managers would celebrate their pricy label in ‘high-spirits’.
Friends were already at loki’s PG at sec-39 and after discussing a few brands of beer and breezers, we hit the theka at sec-37 only to find that he was out of stock. But the river of alcohol never goes dry in India even if river of water does. Finally, we could hear the clinking of the beer bottles at the theka of sec-29. Even the excruciatingly high price of the beer (Rs 90/bottle when one can get the same in Delhi at Rs 50-60) couldn’t deter us from buying a carton of beer with a few bottles less. The carton was in the car but a few friends were absconding. With every passing minute the beers were getting warmer and our temper, shorter. After cursing and cussing the ‘perpetrators’, we opened the bottles in the car itself without making much ado.  The party only got grander and noisier back at the PG with profanity overflowing like beer off the rim of the glass. It was too hot in the rooms so we chose a damp filthy corner on the top of the roof beside the overhead tank where cool breeze was caressing us like a girl fondles with her boyfriend by brushing her towel-dry moist hair over his face. Don’t know about others but ‘she’ was getting me turned on! We sat there for hours discussing past experiences; accusing, abusing and occasionally, praising each other.
But this wasn’t destined to be the end of the day; after all, we had a car with us, a Wagon R. “Let’s go to CP”, was the consensus and around 1 in that fabulous night, we fastened our seatbelts ( only figuratively!). We knew it beforehand that our night-out is gonna be awesome. How? Well, the moment we set our foot out of the house we came across two hot chicks with good fashion sense (u know what I mean) and the dark of the night made them even hotter; enough to trigger our fantasies.
 We were four; Lokesh, Amit awasthi, me and xyz (he requested not to include his name; you will come to know why). We reached CP but we really didn’t expect it to be dead as a graveyard with not a single decent shop open. But it’s Delhi and hence options are limitless. After refueling the car, we caught hold of the Ashok Road which would lead us to India Gate. But a bigger disappointment was awaiting us there. The splendid India Gate, pride of Delhi, was left at the mercy of moon; not a single flood-light was on to allow this massive structure let its presence felt and announce, “Look, here I am, standing tall amidst this massive wilderness. Come and see me”. And to add insult to injury, there wasn’t any parking. We were going round and round the circle, stopping at the same ice-cream vendor to ask him the same question and observing couples relishing the ice-creams. But something was cooking in loki’s mind, courtesy some previous instance at CP that night and the baba finally came up with this – “guys, lets go to GB road”. We all almost instantly broke into laughter with Mr. xyz saying, “have you gone mad”. But lemme tell you, loki has got good convincing skills and it didn’t took him long to convince us with vivid recounts of his experiences of an altogether different ambience (what he aptly call as “mahaul”) at Kotha no. 64. He was quick to add that he went to the ‘stadium’ as only a ‘spectator’ and not to ‘play’ the ‘game’. And to make it clear to the readers, we had no intentions of playing the ‘game’ either. We were going there as an ‘audience’ to get a live experience of that mahaul.
So this time we asked a different question to the ice-cream walla – “which is the way to get to GB Road”? He was amusingly shocked. I could see a smirk on his otherwise dull and sleepy face. He was only beginning to tell us when a younger, overenthusiastic vendor, standing at a distance cut him short and started explaining his own version of the route saying, “are saab, main gaya hoon chaar-paanch baar” (sir, I have been there 4-5 times). But loki didn’t find his words quite convincing. Thanking them for confusing us and with our own vague idea about the place, we put the car into gear. En route, we asked help from many people – Autowalle, rkshawwalle, pedestrians etc. they helped us with the directions following a series of pattern – their eyes grew brighter, a crooked grin made a magical appearance on their faces and they all repeated this, “achcha, vahan jana hai”. This whole process was downright hilarious. We were having a gala time in the car with our guffaws vibrating the windowpanes more than the woofer!
Finally, after enough meandering, we were on that legendary road. It was filthy and archaic. All the kothas were on the right side of the road and we were avidly gawking towards that side expecting to see something either on the road or in the balconies of the buildings appearing more like booden blocks stacked one over the other by a kid. Alongside the road we saw some women standing and making some racy gestures to us which only they could make! We were looking at them and then to each other with astonished eyes and chuckling. To our surprise, a constable was also there and this very fact made us skeptical. It was almost ruled out that we could go into any of those ‘dens’ leaving the car on the road at the mercy of one. We kept on driving at a slow pace and soon the road ended but not our excursion.
We were feeling hungry by then and we knew a nice little shop near CP which takes care of nocturnal animals like us serving different kinds of paranthas, snacks etc. The atmosphere was buzzing with people with surprisingly a lot of girls in those late hours, thanks to the 24/7 corporate culture.
After crisscrossing most of the central Delhi we decided to hit the road back home and end the ‘Night Safari’ but in our heart of hearts, we never actually wanted to. So when made to choose between taking a left turn towards home or going straight on the Greater Noida Expressway, we chose the latter one. It was time to test the mean machine. Window panes were rolled up and the volume of the music was raised with some cool hip-hop beats blasting into our heads and vibrating our chests, giving us even a greater adrenaline rush. Foot once set on the accelerator was never raised and our eyeballs were shuttling between the road and the speedometer which was only rising in sync with our heart beats. 120…..130…..135….140…. We were on the edge of seats when suddenly we realized that a huge truck was crawling in the middle of the highway with loose ends of steel jutting out of it. I involuntarily grabbed the headrest of the front two seats and sunk my neck into the collar-bone. Meanwhile, Amit managed to decelerate and maneuver his way around that deadly truck. But the itch to touch 150 wasn’t pacified and we accelerated once again. Amit, on the wheel, took out his camera-phone to actually capture that moment when the pointer would touch 150 and finally it did. Our plan was to do a photo session at Pari chowk, the terminal of the Expressway, standing beside statues of angels (hence christened pari Chowk). But in an attempt to save electricity and prevent global warming, UP govt. had switched off all the lights of this roundabout when they are ‘least’ needed – in the night. We took a u-turn to finally get back from where we all started. While the rest of our friends slept and hence couldn’t keep a track of time, we were wide awake, having a time of our life.

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