I caught up with more friends in the last two days than I have in the last 2 years! (well…almost…and since these are amazingly special people, it’s given me just the booster I need!)
For starters, Johnny came from Ooty on his way home. I dropped him off at Kunchayan & Kochamma’s. Maria (also know as Useless) landed up at the airport, and despite her awful sense of direction, we managed to meet pretty quick, thanks to a politician and his concord of security men who kinda opened up the way! We tried hard to keep our language as respectable as possible. Not very successfully though. No one who heard us would say that she’s a graduate of English Lit from Oxford uni, does theatre and plays by the dozen, or that I’m going to teach English to 11th graders starting tomorrow! Still…we have been know to do much worse than just murder the English language in a rather liza dolittlish way!
Then to Manohar uncle’s place for a post-lunch lunch (and a pre-launch lunch! In Odisha, lunch is launch!) Pavi and Deepa are just as beautiful as ever. Multi-tasking experts, managing a book launch, lunch, looking after uncle, shopping for snacks, interview with journalists, meeting old friends, getting into saris and the like! Meeting Yoomi, Mark and Suchi, reminders of Charity focus, Madurai and more! Maria and me disappeared for a while, to meet B uncle at the Savera, where he was giving the key note address for the Tanker Foundation. We walked in on his television interview, so sat quietly while it was going on. Pretty impressive for the two of us, though I did get to answer his phone and thus speak to Ilina aunty for a while in the corridor. After that, we chatted a bit about food security before wandering down with the organisers. He had called to say that he was bringing ‘two young friends’ with him. We turned out to be more like 2 bulky body guards. And thanks to my black backpack, they thought I was the press!
Sadly we had to miss his talk, and head off, past good old our ladies hostel etc, to the book launch at Landmark (again, the good old one). Pavi spoke about the amazing story that is Aravind: Pavi, thanks for inspiring me as always. With your sincerity, spirit and love. Bindu, Beena’s mom and others made a fair representation of stella days! And I headed off to Devasigamani Road to wind up with more Stella reminders :) Radha kept me entertained, with some help from Hercule Poiroit!
The next day, we tried to get in touch with Anush, who was not picking up her mobile. I finally convinced Rad that in Madras it’s still ok to land up at someones in-laws unannounced. But then she couldnt remember the way to their place (or so she claimed!) So I set out for Kalakshetra and the Dastakar Mela. Outside, trying to cross the road to get into the parking lot, I was almost run over by a black car, with a loud mouthed driver yelling at me. Maybe that’s a bit harsh, he was yelling TO me not at me. And it turned out to be Dodo!! So we wandered around the Mela, got some elephant dung (hatti chaap) games and chennapatna toys for his colleague Don’s kids, and ended up at stall no 80 – Porgai!
Murugan & Magesh were doing a wonderful job of charming the ladies into buying lots of stuff. Not to mention Tha’s amazing designs that highlight the wonderful lambadi embroidery by the women in Sittilingi. The clothes and designs are so good that they practically sell themselves. And of course, using the empty neighbours stall as a ‘changing space’ worked wonders! I have promised to order online now, but since amma’s off to THI this week, I guess I’ll use the old fashioned way for a little longer!
Pavi and co came by, and Maria and me left in the evening, just as the crowds were hotting up. Dinner with Rad and Abe – who I havent seen in years!! And dessert at Amethyst, with Maria making sidey jokes :)
I saw Anush and her beautiful, chubby Maya the next morning. And Ajay looking totally relaxed at home. Anush has an amazing air of ‘mom’, and considering what a good job she did of keeping all of us together for a year, and more, she’s on her way to super cool mom now. Tj, Ala – really really missed you guys. The next few hours were all travel – 1/3rd of the time negotiating city traffic, and 2/3rds on the highway.
Amma, Ammachi & Binayak unc were at home/ made their way home after lunch. And then picking up Aditi from creche was next on the agenda. Rad had sent glow in the dark stickers, and Tips was much more excited about them than Aditi. So we started to put them up, despite a rather disapproving Santo (yes yes, the previous owners defaced the cupboards with stickers, but these are glow in the dark ones, Santo!).
Then it was off to A ward to see Aru, Anja and Bobby machan. Where Anand achachan was taking a 5 min break. And finally home with Appa.
So many people in such a small window of time. No wonder my cup is full and running over…