Well, as I had mentioned, i left office, with an hour to spare. I was planning to go home, collect my luggage, and pick up a thing or two from some shops...last minute not so necessary things. Only to discover I was sitting in the wrong bus. I got down asap, and thankfully with me also got down a scientist, and he helped me stop a jeep which acts as an alternative to the infrequent bus service between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar.
The jeep was chock full...and I had to sit at the back, beside a somewhat smelly woman carrying her sleeping grandchild. ANyway, made it back to the vicinity of my house for a surprising sum of Rs17 (compared to the Rs150-200 that I have to pay in an auto upto my office, i.e. halfway)...and went home.
Picked up bag, after rechecking presence of the oh-so-important toothbrush and paste, and ran to catch an auto to station.
THere was only one as far as my eye could see, and I caught that...once again I thought, I am running to catch the train on time. ts a record. I think only once in my historical Ahmedabad stay have I managed to leisurely go to the station to catch the important Ashram Express to delhi.
So there I was in the station, hurrying towards my coach and I rememebred...the only available ticket had been for a sleeper! So then I made way to my sleeper bogy, and found the seat. It had been a tiring week, with barely any sleep for me, and soon I was dozing. Got down at Mt. Abu road station, for the famous "rabri", to be told very gently by a copassenger that "sorry, but we dropped some dal on your shoes".
I didnt get it. THen I got it. "What!!" My favorite Lee Cooper slip ons. I made sure he washed them immediately.
Got down at the station, had my bit of Rabri, and phone calls, made way back, and tried to sleep before the train dragged into Jaipur at 430am...UnGodly hour! InHuman I should say!
Could barely sleep after 2am, tension in case train reaches early. It happens to me.
So finally I got down at Jaipur, and made way to auto stand, armed with the address and the meticulous directions provided by VnV (thats what ill call the couple for ease here).
The prepaid stand was empty. So went with an estimate (which I later found was accurate enough) for the fare, and followed directions from the famous "Saras" (the Milk products venture of Rajasthan Govt)...the factory or rather packaging unit soon to become by steadfast benchmark of anyplace in Jaipur.
What I saw of the hotel was...well, not encouraging, but a quiery confirmed rooms booked in the requisite names. Informed mom, and so on, and found out that my Hutch phone was not on Roaming! Damn! At least reliance is automatic roaming, and cheaper.
And i went up and tried to sleep.
By 10 I was up and had a rough plan of the mornings activities planned. I wanted to go buy some famous semi-precious stones o jaipur...from the famous market, where they are sold almost-wholesale. I mean everything including rubies, emeralds, saphires, amethysts, ...anything, but diamonds and pearls. ITs an awesome sight.
But then, it would not be possibel to do so with A and his wife Va, coz V wants only supermarkets. VJ also would be a cold blanket since I dont think he would be happy to watch me go through gemstones patiently.
And eitherway, the best way to potter around in these old markets is to take your time, patience and do exactly that - potter around. I had recently been to all the possible sight seeing points, in a detailed tour, and a second visit would (a) be boring, (b) be impossible in that short time. So I decided to potter.
So when V called let her know i was going out, called A and Va and told them to catch me somewhere in the old city, and I left ASAP!
Asked the hotel owner for directions, and had an OK cup of coffee, and int he process came to know of a reference to use for price haggling. :)
Soon i was in the market, trudging down a narrow lane lined on both sides by old, old shops selling unbelievably precious stuff, alternated by sweet and halwai shops selling hot samosas, etc...which by the way were nto inviting at all.
FOund a shop which sold loose stones, but no uncut stones, and shortlisted some topaz, amethysts, black star diastones, and went to their other shop in the interior where i found the most lovely blue topaz's.
Then went to a recommended shop and fuond uncut stones there...lovely! Bought some amethysts, yellow Topaz, and some more lesser semi precious opaque pink as well as a shaded stone (shading from opaque orange to red)stones.
Then went to previous shop and bought black star and blue topaz. Quite a haul.
it was already 1pm, and A had called once about his proposed outing, though he had not contacted after that - a ciscumstance I was happy about. Had an earthen glassfull of cold, salted lassi and proceeded down the main road shops looking for the shop which sells all imaginable types of churans. I had bought from it last time.
couldnt find that shop, but did find incredibly cheap necklaces made out of semi precious stones strung together. Damn neat.
Came back by 2, realised i was famished (no dinner last night, no breakfast), and ordered ommelette and beer. Ah! Cool cool refreshing beer after the scorching sun in the desert of rajasthan.
Soon after A came over to say hello, while Va was still sleeping. They had nto managed to go out - was I happy I didnt wait for them! Got ready soon thereafter, and we three made our way to the venue, 30 mins late, dreading being too late for the engagement.
Only to find that the to-be-groom was walking around in a t-shirt, the arrangements we still being made and so on.
So we three decided to hunt up the coffee shop, and have a cup of coffee, and snacks.
We went to TaBlu. Rooftop (8th floor), with a spectacular view of Jaipur city.
Conversation waxed and waned, as we waited impatiently. However, soon we were joined by VJ and Prat (Vips school frnd). Then conversation picked up and soon I was gettign calls from Vinks, and P from Vips...the bride and groom were bored. THe ceremony couldnt begin because....guess what. The two Mom's were missing!! For Laughing out Loud!
The ceremony started and boy was it long. Talked to Vj after soooooooo long. I think the last time i met him was in IMI, almost 3yrs ago. My headache seemed to get worse with the bright lights, and soon my head was splitting...so we went for a walk, took some snaps, and A n Va decided to go back to Delhi that very night.So they booked tickets, and we clicked snaps in the hotel.
THere were 2 other marriage/engagement ceremonies happening in the other lawns of the hotel.
V's parents were so happy to see us. So was V, but then they were almost ecstatic...OK im exaggerating.
Well, we came back and decided to 'sample' to food...and ate dinner. Finished and were right on time to see the ring exchange ceremony begin. Cheered Vinky..."Go Vinky!" "yay!" "Poor You!" etc...to the delight of the relatives and others.
On the way out...two funny incidents. I think they embaressed the others more than me.
Instance 1: Vips cousin brother is socialising with us. He nails down A, and then Va, then comes to Vj and is like "You must be VJ"..and soon to me "You must be Mrs. VJ" LOL!!! ROTFL!!! HE stood corrected. Crystal. Clarified.
Vj moves on, P and I are left, saying bbye to Vinks dad... Ok now for a lil background. In the true ahppy parent custom, her parents have been after me to be the next on the guillitone, and same with P (since he is my counterpart for Vips). So her dad asks us in a blanket statement "When are the two of you getting married"!!! Poor man was so embaressed when I went "Im not getting amrried in the near future, I dont know about him!"
We went out, desperately in need for a good party scene. Left A n Va for the journey, and suddenly I found myself given the reigns of giving directions, while P drove. I managed to cajole them to go via te hotel so I could change into comfy jeans and flats, instead of my stillettoes and sari. Surprised them both with my speed, and we were all a happy bunch, who just wanted to go to a place "where they serve drinks, play decent music, and allow you to dance"
Went to this place called "Steam" recommended by Apu. And it was nice. But there were barely any ppl. But it fitted the exact bill of our requirements.
Well, that didnt really matter too much to us (VJ, P and me). HAd a few drinks (Vidka, tequila, beer), danced like CRAZY. I, me. I. Had beer shots! I mean BEER SHOTS. and I was not high. Wow. Well, soon VnV were there, and we ahd a gala time chatting away in the open air of the place, having fun, going to the dance floor inside a room a few staps away when we felt like it, having a drink or two, and all in our senses...laughing away. FInished with aniseed shots with flames. I love aniseed shots. Had them once before in delhi, and now. Then the bartender gave usa free round of drinks...on the house coz we were having so much obvious fun.
And we danced/walked away home...or to our respective hotels.
It was fun dancing with VJ...last time was in IMI parties, and P was Ok too. And Vinks and I always have fun dancing together.
And we caught iup on so much...nonsense also. P on hearing the value of Vinks sari decided he was in the wrong profession. Anyone is in the wrong profession if there is a bunch of ppl making thousands out of one sari...till I told him the key was getting the colour combinations right!
Came back at 3.30am, VJ, P and I chatted for some more time, then it was gnite.
They left next morning, while I was apparently sleeping. They had to drive abck, and P had to go to office (on Sunday!).
Well, VnV came over at arnd 11, then Vinks and I went out.
We (as expected) had a good time. I bought her a nice stone for a pendant - a cetrine and amethyst mix (natural - so shaded from yellow to purple), teardrop shaped stone. and got some amethysts for my aunt.
Then she bought payal for her wedding, and we got some bangles made entirely out of thread. Cool ones. GOt some for M also. Ate Rajsthani thali. Thankfully I had shopped the previous day, all shops were closed on Sunday.
Back to V's mess. Chattet with her mom, sister, brother in law, father, relaxed, and then finally we all left together (me carrying dinner! and FRUITS!)..they got off at the wedding point og Vs to be brother in law, and I at the station.
The train journey back wasnt so good. train was late, and it was sleeper again., I had no cover, and it was cold. Also, a light was on constantly in the next coupe where there were a bunch of young guys preparing for an interview.
Morning, train was late, so there was no scope fo catching the bus. Asked my boss to pick em up from my house. Got off a station before the ultimate one sicnce the train showed no signs of budging. The auto guy told me the train would be very late, since there had been a bomb blast at the Ahd station.
There had been a bomb blast 1.45 on Sunday morning also. And on 16th there had been a bomb scare in the Airport for the AI london flight.
Anyway, back to routine, manged through the day in office. Evenin brought in realisation that I was finally back. Jaipur and the small Holiday I had I had was over.
It was a nice time. When TIME held almost no meaning, I had fun,...alone, with ppl, with Vinky, travelling, in a different city...yes, it was a very nice time I had.