So Shoe is now a beast of burden. Or a married man, if you will. Anklet is, as predicted, fair, pretty, smiles docilely. And constantly, even after 3 hours of standing on the dais, displayed to hundreds of people she doesn't know. Hundreds of people who smile broadly back, and then speculate on the notun bou's appearance and the cost and quantity of her jewellery. But Anklet seems great - she'll never be an Ank, but she'll make a fabulous Anklet Boudi whose pulao mangsho and payesh are to die for and who will always giggle with you. I like her!
As a prelude to the reception, we met up at Deb's for a celebratory drink-n-dope. Chez Deb is the best party pad ever ever. It's a spacious, tastefully furnished empty apartment - all marble, lots of rooms, just the correct soft lighting for a party. And woohoo, she's promised to come back for the New Year's party, which by the way, is always a riot - anywhere between 30-50 people, all sorts of dope, Kneo's "ley taal"[lethal] cocktails which always taste like daab er jol[nariyal pani], and which always always get you high in fifteen minutes [no, I haven't a clue about what goes in there. None of us do, he shuts himself in the kitchen and emerges juggling cocktail shakers, lime and glasses], lots of music and manic dancing, russian salad and cold cuts. But that's another post altogether. Incidentally, should Deb get leave from work in Delhi and land up to let us have our party, it'll be a boon, considering our only other alternative was to loiter around Park Street and Sudder Street until we were picked up by cops and could have our party at the station. [erm... it can be done, believe it or not. Some of the gang tried it a couple of weeks back.]
Anyhoo, the drink-n-dope yesterday. While the girls changed and tripped over each other's saris in their pencil heels, the boys trudged drunkenly around, pretending to be Bollywood villains of the '70s and leering at the girls. Well ok, only Kneo, true to form, did that. J looked exquisite as did Squee, although she broke the sari-wearing pact. Of course, I was the clumsiest and happened to be able to drape my sari solely in a manner that made my arse look like the dome of the Birla Planetarium. So, much sari-fixing followed in terms of 1) Slapping my bot furiously to tame the creases that had gone haywire, 2) Boxing my bot and chanting,"Die! Die!", while Joyus, Deb's fiance yelled, "Perverse! Perverse!" and also,"Bondage!" 3) Scowling, and then Deb tut-tutting,"Oh darling, it's not the sari, it's just you!"
I broke my no-zoint record. Ended up having too many and feeling a trifle tipsy. Although I insist that wasn't the booze or the zay, it was the stilletoes.
Then everybody got philosophical and began advising Jay, Squee and me[yea yea, not "me" but "I". go ta hell] about the future. Joyus strummed the guitar and said stuff about leaving Kolkata because it was a bad place to begin one's career, Alcohol Al waved his drink at me in assent, and the Sundance Kid told me I should leave Kolkata to learn that if I don't wash my undies today, tomorrow they will remain unwashed. Profound.
When we finally decided to leave for Shoe's reception, it was already 15 minutes after we had promised to reach. And Salt Lake is quite a distance to travel from Jodhpur Park.
So taxis were hailed and oh look, mo zoints being rolled! Kneo was superbly high and kept gibbering the entire time. At one point he sang a song called "Cauliflower Kim" or something to that effect, when the cabbie couldn't take it any more and indulged in some serious motor madness. He was only pacified when Squee wielded a cigarette under his nose, which was when he slowed down and prepared to goggle his eyes at her.
The reception itself was understated and dignified and attended by bureaucrats and real estate magnates. Shoe's father is an important person and his mother looks like Helen - not in her cabaret dancer days, but in the now. Shoe was playing the perfect host - scampering all over the shamiana which had been done up in a cheerful Rajasthani theme and asking people to "Eat well". It was amusing watching him be a quintessential groom - polite smile in place, engaging in small talk and playing with the children. He confessed later to having downed a few stiff drinks and a couple of joints, which basically explains it all. The food was again, simple but fantastic- especially the chutney, which had kaju, kismis, khejur and aamshotto. Joyus played the photographer, roaming all over the place with his digital camera, overhearing conversations and rushing back to report same, convulsing in laughter thereafter. At one point he claimed to have seen a voyeur in the loo. Kneo kept tripping over the carpet, Alcy Al and Sundance constantly disappeared,holding hands [they're not gay, drink makes them ... convivial .. with each other], and Andy kept looking for bins while The Furies [J, Squee and "I"] spotted an Uncle Fester in drag.
Much fun was had, that's what I'm trying to tell you.
Not a taxi to be found when the guests had mostly all left, and we had contributed magnanimously to drinking all the milky sweet coffee, leaving none for others. So we walked awkwardly for a while, till our ankles and every part of our being screamed for liberation. The boys finally had mercy and left us to have masala pepsi at a road-side stall [god knows why it was open at that unearthly hour] and nurse our aching limbs while they took an auto to Karunamoyee to hail cabs. Somebody's cheery suggestion that we take a bus was vetoed with a lot of us reaching for the sharp end of our shoes to poke him with.
All in all, good stuff. But Middlemarch must be read forthwith.