2. Though I was up and kicking by 6.30 a.m., owing to overnight stay of a guest (leading to unbearable pressure and a rush at the only loo of the house), I could establish the first contact with the ever smiling and jovial Mipin, around twenty past seven. He appeared sleeping to glory and apparently showed a relaxed attitude when it came to punctuality on a ‘Mother’ of Holidays- Sunday. Ultimately, we met under a gigantic Melia Indica near a ‘Three in One’ religious ‘shop’ in a non-descript end of one and only Nehru Park. The revised time of 7.40 a.m. became ten to eight in the true tradition of the IST (Indian Stretchable Time!).
3. The almost six feet frame of Mipin, in a youthful attire, was visible from a distance. He had added, however, a pouch to his once impressive physique due to what he claimed ‘the side effects of some unconvincing medication’ prescribed by a ‘renowned’ physician. We smiled, shouted like kids and blamed each other for frittering away time. Soon it was mutually agreed to settle the scores by gentle shaking of hands and hugging (not of 377 kind).
4. The ritual of meeting had a solid kick start with a visit to the religious place in question. It was a ‘joint’ specialising more in bashing of women, opium consumption and its shameless facilitation by the vagabond, self proclaimed priests as opposed to the expected spiritual or pretended religious activity they are supposed to indulge in, in view of the publicised ‘Prachin’ (ancient) status of the temple.
5. As soon as we begin our foray into a bout of brisk walking, a large number of singles, pairs and non-pairs duly guided/ misguided by their impulses, begin passing by. Individuals of various sizes, colours and heights wearing shoes and sandals of a wide variety were thronging this centrally located park.
6. While two groups of teenagers were seen practicing, fine tuning and adding value to their Karate skills, a group of youth drawn from both the sexes was busy in testing its athletic skills in the acute, partially sunny and sultry conditions of July. Not to miss the fanfare, some senior citizens were seen relishing laughter therapy in their own, impressive ways.
7. A further walk of a kilometre gave us a rare opportunity to see an old couple picking up blackberries under a thick canopy. It reminded me of my own sweet and carefree childhood spent in the cosmopolitan, summer capital of erstwhile Bihar. A Firang middle aged plump woman in her figure hugging dress (revealing more than covering) was seen struggling with her lovely Apso puppies. The usual muddy water in the central pool was conspicuous by its absence. Barely, six to eight lotus buds and flowers were adding to the ‘beauty’ of the adjoining pool.
8. Mipin appeared enjoying every moment of the described activities in his unique, unusual style. His joy knew no bounds and he seemed to have entered the hallowed premises of the elusive seventh heaven when I remarked that he had not changed even a bit since the bygone MHA days. Rather, he was successful in adding to his inimitable sense of humour,
if his immediate, impromptu utterances and bits of ‘philosophies’ gave any hint.
9. Sri Hibber, the tall, fair, handsome and not to be missed, retired IG of CRPF was first one to be stopped and greeted by us. Prominently displaying his thick grey moustache, he appeared in true high spirits. Afterall, without looking ‘here and there’, he had completed three rounds of the park situated in the heart of a heartless Delhi.
10. Mipin, thereafter, almost bumped into a dusky, petite and charming Bong eve, who was enjoying her every bit of gentle cat walking while wearing a pair of electric blue hot pants and a sleeveless, semi-transparent polka -dot top. While taking adequate care of her cardio vascular requirements, she looked deeply engrossed in listening to the latest Pop music through an imported ear phone.
11. Within no time, we came across a group of tall hefty men led by the PS to one Minister. Same was followed closely by another combination ‘commanded’ in true military style by the PS to the ruling coalition Chairman. Their ‘regular’ work out had not led to reduction even of a kg of flesh from their bulging waistlines. Nevertheless, Mipin burst into laughter when informed of the presence of a large number of such regular jokers, pseudo walkers or even onlookers in this vast green lung of the city. ‘Appearances are deceptive’, he added, however, without fail.
12. The presence of a Lenin statue in absence of one of Nehru in the park spoke high of our ‘foreign commitments’ years after the disintegration of the USSR and months after loosening of the grip of so called Leftists over the Federal Government.
13. Mipin in the meanwhile, began giving some unsolicited advice in regard to regulating heart and mind. To him, life was to be led lightly without assuming any responsibility. He reiterated his grand plans of getting ‘cleaning’ of his heart done at least twice at official expense, prior to superannuation. He did add that an Apollo Doctor had misled him five years ago to undergo a conventional angiography. In view of his happy go lucky approach, a blockage to the extent of barely eight percent was shown.
14. He claimed to have run away from the hospital sooner than expected at the dead of the night and vowed not to re-enter such high voltage ‘by- pass factories’. I was not shocked to learn that upon being discharged, he drove his vehicle himself. Probably, his life partner is yet to become aware of this interesting and nocturnal medical encounter.
15. Before we close the chapter of heart, we occupy a bench, otherwise reserved for bold and smart pairs. I am advised to take Craetegus Tincture, a Homeopathic drop twice a day. A regular intake of this drop had kept him at a long distance from any Cardiologist during the last five years, he claimed once again in an authoritarian voice. I decided to give it a try to supplement my daily yoga and brisk walk sessions spanning to almost two hours.
16. Having completed the ‘heart to heart’ talk, I enquired about the welfare of his ailing 89 year old mother. He updated me in his true jovial manner. He was heaving a sigh of relief for a few days as his brother, for a change, had reluctantly assumed the onerous responsibility of looking after the octogenarian, yet robust parent.
17. The much awaited icing of the cake came in the form of sudden appearance of Mipin’s well dressed and attractive maid servant(M.S.) when I agreed to have some water and tea at his ‘palatial’ flat. Though his ‘Home Theatre’ failed to live up to expectations, his collection of
books and curio impressed me. When I finished gathering some information pertaining to the educational status of his off springs, the MS walked in gently. She smiled and showed polite manners. In a spur of moment, I uttered a few Nepali words. It hit her well. She responded positively. She was perplexed to hear flawless Nepali from a dark plainsman like me. She believed me when I informed her of my North-Eastern connections.
18. In no time she brought three glasses of plain water for me. A glass of cold water was handed over to Mipin, who appeared ignored, if not ignorant in presence of two Nepalis having the same wavelength. Though I hurriedly finished the hot cup of tea offered in a bourgeoisie cup without even looking at the M.S.(I swear), Mipin, true to his style, narrated my alleged weakness for the M.S. to my ‘strict’ prima donna, who by chance, had managed to catch me on Mipin’s latest mobile. Though, for a moment, my mobility and agility came to a sudden halt, I regained courage to convey to her that the concocted stories emanating from an old ‘mischievous’ friend had to be heard by one ear, to be dropped off instantly by another. She gave an impression as if she was convinced by my explanation.
19. At ten to ten, Mipin made no mistake in quickly seeing me off. While passing through the exit, he showed his two prized pitchers with a sense of pride. He added that these were refilled thrice a day to quench the thirst of his family members. I was amazed to take note of the mutual co-existence of the ultra-modern Home Theatre and the ancient pitcher.
20. While I begin scribbling these lines for posterity in a safe, airy corner of the park under the soothing shadow of a Ficus Infectoria, two crows approach a pool of clean water.Both have a piece of bread stuck to their beaks. Rather innocently, they soak the bread pieces into water and quickly gulp the same. Having done this, they fly to the near by bunch of trees.
21. When I almost make up my mind to depart, the crows make a comeback, this time with a bang. They wet themselves and begin taking bath to beat the temperature of 38 degree celcius. They appear innocent and stress-free while performing the cleaning ritual in the lap of nature unlike the hypocrite creatures that invariably avail of route number 11.I curse myself of having not carried my camera today. But such rare moments need to be felt and enjoyed also, rather than being ‘shot’. I suppose, I should end now. As such, I am surrounded by five to six pairs, ready to take a ‘plunge’ in this safe and lover-friendly zone of the park.
22. By the time, I finally leave, the foot suspension bridge and the mango grove at the another end give a quiet, desolate look. Except for the noise emanating from a miniature grass cutter, the area has the necessary cross ventilation to cool my rising ‘thinking’ temperature. The carefree pairs of yesterdays are not there anymore. Yet it is rejuvenating.
23. My further thought process comes to a distinct halt once being reminded of the scores of heating processes of Macroni & Pasta breakfast, my ‘furious’ prima Dona has been struggling with. While she aspired to serve a decent and changed menu for ‘breaking’ the fast on a
Sunday morning, I once again prove beyond doubt that I am, at times, incorrigible as far as punctuality was concerned. While she gave an impression of being misled for a moment by the innocuous designs of Mipin, she continues to express full confidence about my non-slippery approach when it comes to dealing with individuals from the fair sex.
24. Having thought so, I resume brisk-walking. Soon, I graduate to jogging. Going past the well laid out green trees of Amaltas, Dalbergia Sissod, Tecoma Argentina and Ficus Religiosa, one after another, I gather the requisite courage to face the inevitable, friendly and justified bitterness of my better-half. .
25. To sum up, I propose to pose a question- “Who is not scared of his wife?” An ‘experienced’ person showing a sign of disagreement is certainly lying. He is, perhaps not reflecting the reality in the manner Mipin seems to have mastered over the years, given any situation.
POSTSCRIPT-Readers having sufficient patience, tolerance and perseverance are free to choose any of the following suggested titles for this ‘honest’ piece of prose. If not, they are at a liberty to suggest new ones.
· Happy Go Lucky
· A Breath of Fresh Air
· Sunday, A Fun Day
· A Fantasy Called Mipin OR
· B.S.D.W.(Biwi Se Darne Wala)
May God Bless You