Just 2 minutes more….
It had already been half an hour since we had been trying to find a particular kulfi stand next to the Hanuman Mandir (Temple), or was it next to the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib!! This was not new, everytime my friend K and I went to Connaught Place in Delhi, we always ended up going round and round in CP, our heads have never been able to wrap around the inner and outer circles of CP. If ever you spot two girls with a dazed and dizzy look on their faces in CP, I can assure you its us!!
As much as Connaught Place is an important landmark of Delhi, ironically enough it is also a relic from the colonial times. But like so many things, we have embraced this relic and turned it into our own. And for the newbies, it is known as CP 😛 nobody ever calls it by its full name. Too much of a mouthful I would say. So back to the dizziness inducing walk. It always starts with one of us realising we are vella (bored with quite a lot of time in hand), and by default messaging each other that, ‘Keventer ka doodh peena hai?’ (want to drink Keventer’s milk?). Keventers is a teeny weeny shop tucked in a corner of CP famous for selling flavoured milk. If ever you want to tempt your child into drinking their milk, bring them to Keventers and all your problems will be sorted 😛
Coffee flavoured milk is my favourite, and for those who know me, know that enticing food and drinks are my Achilles heel 😛 So with such milky thoughts in my mind, I took the metro to CP. On exiting the metro station I was a bit taken aback by the more than usual crowd!! But I surmised it was a result of a weekend and Eid celebrations. As I waited for my friend, I observed the honking cars, the people milling about, the vendors, the hawkers and the stray dogs. A year ago all this would have been a cause of a headache, and innumerable complains and whining, yet now they were oddly comforting. I remember one Sunday morning waking up in the Netherlands and venturing out in search of milk. It was 9 am, and yet all the streets were empty, shops closed and not a single soul in sight. This sight hit me in ways I would have never expected, the emptiness gnawed at me. No jostling people and screeching cars made me feel oddly discomforted and a wave of loneliness washed over me. Its little wonder that on my return to Delhi I find myself more patient and tolerant of the chaotic environment around me. If I get up at 9 am on a Sunday morning, rest assured if I venture out to buy milk, the sight of open shops and people milling about is a delight for my eyes!!
Amidst watching a bunch of stray dogs fighting, I get a call from my friend that she is unable to find an auto, courtesy the heavy rains earlier and is running late. So typically K!! I don’t remember a single time when she has arrived on time, and I have inevitably always arrived on time, or better still before time. In a country where 5 minutes means 15 minutes, I do not know how I was hardwired to actually take 5 minutes as 5 minutes and arrive on time. But its something which comes in handy in the orange land, since they take their appointment timings seriously! Finally Madam K arrived, accompanied with profuse apologies, not that I hadn’t heard them before, but courtesy demands apologies 😛
At first glance, one would take K and I as chalk and cheese, but like they say marriages are made in heaven, our friendship too was made in heaven 😛 We started off fighting for a seat in school,
‘No I took this seat first!’
‘Did you not see I had kept my bag, it is MY seat.’
Yes, we started off fighting for a seat, but you know, love stories begin with such fights and eventually one irrevocably falls in love with the person they fight the most. The same happened with us. Over the years we fought, grew old together, supported each other, so much so now I do not hesitate to call her saali or bitch 😛 Janu and baby are old school 😛 (Sorry K, it was too tempting not to describe in such details 😀 ) Now you do anything for the one you love, so my friendly love complied in the face of K’s demands and we started off in search for the kulfiwallah (Indian icecream) next to Gurudwara Bangla Sahib.
Like I had mentioned in the outset, my sense of direction goes for a toss, or rather goes in circles when I find myself in CP. My friend K is no better, so we kept walking and walking, stopping and asking people in between for directions to the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib. But wait, suddenly the Gurudwara became Hanuman Mandir, and I asked my friend are you SURE you know where that place is. Very confidently K responds, that yeah! its right opposite Hanuman Mandir. The 2 minutes had turned into almost an hour now!! Walking, chattering and dodging the crowds of people, I wondered if I ever brought my Dutch friend A here!! I was not sure if she could have been able to traverse 😛 I must admit, crossing the road without traffic rules and not bumping into people while walking is quite an art in itself. Much like how Edward Cullen in Twilight is able to dodge all the trees when running (OK, bad example :P). But similar to the Dutch people’s superhuman skills in cycling, the art of walking in CP and Indian streets requires superhuman skills too 😛 Needless to say even after my 10 months in Netherlands, my skills had survived and I could only be thankful for that!!
Moving on to our quest for the Kulfiwallah, it appeared we were closer to our destination. But to me it seemed more like a mirage, the more we asked around, it seemed it was nearby, but always out of sight. I was beginning to doubt K, and wondered if it had been a figment of her imagination! Finally someone pointed to a traffic red light, close to which our destination was to be found. So much like the three kings following the Star of Bethlehem, the two of us followed the red light and voila the kulfiwallah was there! And like the three kings were rewarded with the sight of baby Jesus, lo and behold we were rewarded by a bunch of smart, cute looking guys sitting there 😛 Ah! the walk and the travails had been worth it! We felt blessed indeed. And with that K and I parted our ways….in the hopes of future Keventer dates 😛 😉
Image courtesy: Google images