11th of October was like any other Sunday. A feeling of relief and relaxation replaced his, otherwise ruffled feathers. Having disposed off a large chunk of relevant and nonsensical files and papers late last night in his plush office at Nehru Place, he took the liberty of leaving his princely bed, later than expected. Soon, he had a casual thinking session in his outlandish 1oo. A close look into the large mirror revealed his prominent pouch, despite his sincere work-outs almost every day. He vowed to control it for the inth time. He also promised to do something fruitful and consequential and decided to live up to some mundane promises.
On getting ready, he was reminded of his glorious past subsequent to the formation of ‘the’ Markhand state and the crucial role played by him as a close confidant of its Head of state. While going down the memory lane, he, at the same time, did not wish to forget his formative years as a young and dashing Federal Police Officer in West Hengol, followed by his crucial sub-divisional, District and Corporation level postings in the tough yet challenging state of ‘the’ Barihar.
With an inkling of the past, he was all set to undertake a brisk walk in the closeby Deer Park. An emotional call from a dear old colleague soon came as a soothing surprise. Before he could begin conversation over his latest Blackberry, Lugnu was drawn towards an unscheduled interaction with a female relative over her Nokia 6070. Talking and listening, in their flashy Nike shoes and designers casuals, they venture into the cool and secure confines of the adjacent eco-friendly park. It was gradually being filled with the joggers, slow walkers, genuine health conscious lots as also those having a fetish for occasionally responding to the demand of changing body contours.
Subsequent to a bout of long conversation, it appeared business as usual. While Kabindra desired to take a sharp right turn near the historic Hauz Khas, Lugnu, true to her love for birds and animals, was adamant in having a close look at the lovely ducks from an opposite direction. With an agreement being a distant possibility and more so, in view of variance in their respective abilities to stroll, both mutually decided to ‘break’ away, to meet again at an agreed point, close to the exit, say, after fifteen to twenty minutes. Apart from giving an opportunity to admire nature rather more intimately, such a break up provided them also a chance to indulge in gossips of their liking with some regular health conscious acquaintances.
The pleasant or a bit of cool October morning appeared warming up with their rising body temperature. The autocratic and all pervading Monarch of the day, too, was changing colours in addition to increasing slowly his generous heat content.
Half an hour instead of the agreed time of twenty minutes frittered away but worried Lugnu noticed no trace of ‘her’ Kabindra. There was no response, either over his cell despite her fervent attempts. She was compelled to jog, in the process, instead of a brisk walk. Though many more familiar faces passed by, she preferred concentrating on relocating her prized life partner of twenty five years standing.
At last, he was found in one non-descript corner. He won’t even acknowledge her presence. For, he was deeply engrossed in speaking to Mals over cell after a gap of good five to six years. He was not aware that latter had returned to Delhi earlier than him and was thus eager to have an interface in the evening. An interruption to indicate the convenient time of 19.15 hours with the express approval of the better half, takes place. Remainder of the time is spent in describing the guest for the evening hailing from the far eastern corner of India who, invariably preferred to swim against the tide.
A leisurely lunch follows in honour of Prachand, the elder child of the family. When they are half way through, the call bell rings, followed by an unusual banging on the door. While the mother is busy in giving some useful tips to her darling son to readjust in the Indian situation to play his changed role of an engineer of an M.N.C. to perfection, the father is greeted with a pleasant surprise in seeing Apeksha. She looked bubbly, childish and vibrant. She also possessed the power to draw everyone’s attention on her return after three months, on completion of her second year M.B.B.S. examination. While she had the option and the means to give an advance intimation, she had made up her mind to spring a surprise.
Whatever extra was available in the kitchen, was dutifully brought to the dining table by Kabindra in honour of his ‘little princess’. Same was supplemented by heating up and boiling some stuff from the family’s gigantic freeze. While he was a novice, as far as cooking and serving food were concerned, Lugnu would draw thrills of adventure, whenever Apeksha’s Daddy attempted to try his hand in their large modular kitchen. He would, however, muster full support of Dhania, the trusted and active maid from his cadre state. The overall soothing feeling of a family reunion proved a harbinger for a good nap in the afternoon.
Mals with Maulshree in toe in an attractive Kanjeevaram arrived eight minutes behind schedule in the evening. Delay was pardonable as it was attributed to the traffic restrictions owing to the hectic visit by the members of the Commonwealth Games Committee. The couple looked fresh and frank. The two families were meeting in a ‘family’ situation, almost after a decade. There was, therefore, plenty to talk and share. The only notable absentee was Tankoor, the only child of M&M, pursuing his final year of B.A. Hons. in Political Science at the rapidly improving Senky College.
Lots of notes about the bygone era were exchanged over the next one hour. The R.O. water, Sprite, Pakoras, Sweets and good leaf tea were graciously served by Lugnu. Her due care and attention brought back sweet memories of her being an excellent hostess. While the male members indulged in career related and office oriented talks, the non-stop conversation between the females was clearly dominated by the rising prices of vegetables and dals, latest bargains & discounts, some common friends and Emporio, the latest Mall to open at the upmarket Vasant Kunj.
The icing of the cake, however, came in the form of the unusual blog of Mals. While he took immense pleasure in logging on to the site with the help of Prachand, it was time for everyone to draw a chair to get closer to the Dell Lap top, kept prominently at a place, earlier earmarked for a desk top. One by one, lovely photos and the text of the mesmerising state from the Far East captivated the audience. Whenever needed, a short verbal commentary would fill the void. While the eager hostess and the attentive and disciplined children were glued to the screen, the less talkative host spoke fondly of his only visit to the place, more than two decades ago. Things had not merely changed, a certain degree of transformation appeared to have been recorded, according to him in the demographic, living and the overall infrastructural patterns.
No one noticed that two hours had passed off peacefully, duly providing not only a link between the past and the present but in also renewing the contacts and laying a road map for future interactions. The bond of two families was perhaps rewoven with a positive tinge.
It was twenty past twenty one hours, when the ultimate send-off materialised. Bidding good bye for an extremely rewarding evening, M&M drove swiftly in their Swift car to their abode in Kautilyapuri. K&L, on the other hand, had no option but to pack up bags for the former’s early morning flight to Chennai, a news not welcomed by Apeksha. “The life had to come to full circle, whether guests came or the Daddy proceeded on tour”, counselled the brilliant hostess of the memorable evening to the bright sleeping ‘kid’ of AB6/18, Hafdarjung Enclave.