And now with Soapcase’s marriage, the count of married wing-mates from IIT stands at two. Soapcase got married last Thursday in Udaipur. Just as Tota had married one of his class-mates, Soapcase married his. And just as hard as I had danced in Tota’s wedding earlier this year, I danced in Soapcase’s wedding. Except that this time, Tota was dancing with me and not seated atop some decorated ghodi the way it was in his own wedding.
Thanks to Soapcase’s marriage, I finally met Tota after so many months. And Maina. And it felt nice. It felt nice to see them for the first time after they had tied knots. They looked happy together. They were happy together. And for a change, I wasn’t annoyed to see them together and happy and smiling. For a change, it felt alright. I finally seemed to have found a space amidst the two of them. The best thing about true friendship is that, it never ends. It may hide under the clouds of confusions and emotions at times but eventually the clouds burst. The clouds burst and then it rains and everything gets washed down. Everything but the sparks between hearts that start and sustain any friendship. When Tota, Maina and I sat together, and talked and laughed, we felt those sparks.
If you get a chance to go to Udaipur, do visit the City Palace. Not because it is the most stunning palace in the entire world but because the audio-guide that they give you there kicks all asses. For those of you who don’t know what an audio-guide is, it is a gadget that looks like a cross between a cordless phone and a Walkman. Placards with a headphone sign printed on them are placed at various locations inside the palace. Each placard has a different number written over it. Whenever you run into a placard, you are supposed to punch the displayed number on your gadget. When you do that, you hear a brief narration with background music and all that through the headphone. It almost feels like watching NatGeo or Discovery in 3D.
As I was entering the gates of the palace after having paid for the audio-guide (250 bucks including entrance fee), a regular guide asked me if I needed a regular guide.
‘No. Sorry. I have picked up an audio-guide instead’. I moved on. But the guide didn’t give up.
‘Audio guide? But that is so costly. You can still get it refunded. Why do you need to pay so much’?
I paused for a second, looked straight into his eyes and announced in an Amitabh Bachchanish andaaz – ‘Mai ek ameer baap ki bigdi hui aulaad hoon’ – I am a spoiled son of a rich father. Mr. Guide laughed out loud and so did Mr. Bachchan. And as Mr. Bachchan walked in, he sang to himself:
Zindagi to bewafa hai, ek din thukarayegi
maut mehaboobaa hai, apane saath lekar jayegi
mar ke jeene ki adaa jo duniyaan ko sikhlayega
wo Mukaddar ka Sikandar, jaaneman kehlayega