It was really sweet of Shanu to have been waiting for me to cut his birthday cake. He has always been like that...a little partial towards me and that is to be expected, too. Despite being a cousin, I guess I am more of a brother to him than anyone could have been and he is the same to me. Ever since he started identifying people, he has seen me around and has spent quite a major chunk of his childhood playing, fighting, going to school, having fun with me. Having stayed with my maternal grand parents for my school education, I have always had the same amount of affection for Shanu as he took away from me, the mantle of being the youngest in the household.
I am glad that the weekend and the fact that I am doing my training in Kolkata (which is so close to Patna) gave me a chance to go to Patna and be a part of Shanu's birthday celebrations...or as much of celebrations as the cake-cutting was. The ceremony part was actually left for the morrow...the Saturday, when all the bachcha party went to the movies. Patna, incidentally, has some good cinema halls and given the low entertainment tax or some such reason, the rates are pretty cheap, too. I don't think that it is possible to watch a movie in Dolby DTS in an air conditioned theatre for as low a price as twenty bucks...that is Patna cinema for you.
Well, we did not get the tickets of Kaal for twenty and that is another aspect of it altogether. The poor me was given the charge of arranging for the tickets while Shanu had the responsibility of getting hold of all my cousins (five of them, actually) from different places in Patna and bringing them along to the theatre. The queue at the counter, despite all my good intentions, was impossible and with the free swing that the policewallahs were giving to their sticks, I thought it prudent to stay a little distant from the proceedings. Staying away from the proceedings, the only option was the dus-ka-bees...which actually was bees-ka-sau in my case...that is, for people who still did not understand (duh!!!), the tickets worth 20 bucks cost me a hundred bucks a-piece when bought from the typical Rangeela black marketeer.
I had hoped that Sunday would be a chilled out day at home with nothing to do except catch on to loads of gossip and apart from a few instances of going out, once to get Shanu's bike repaired and another time to stuff something in at one of the new eat-outs, I was at home. The rains on Saturday had made the weather amazingly pleasant and with no sun and sweat to bother me after a long time (3 weekends in Kolkata do seem to be a long time if you consider the amount of sweat that you can generate in all these days), I was having fun.
Even the eat-out venture was good, despite my stomach playing tricks with me. I did not have the speciality Golgappaes at the place but did have a good Baskin Robbins scoop to cool my stomach down, or so Shanu convinced me of doing. The Bollywood Treats, as the place calls itself, is located right down the Maurya Clarke Hotel (Patna's only five-star), and has a huge area, given its location. With a mini amusement park for kids in the lawns outside and some video games inside the restaurant, the place with its theme of Bollywood has come up quite well. The right side of the menu does give a few shakes to the left side of the chest but then, that is to be expected now...what with Patna's middle class competing with the rest as far as purchasing power goes.
Luckily, my wait-listed ticket in the Sunday night Amritsar Howrah mail was confirmed and I had a comfortable journey back. The journey to Patna, earlier in the weekend, was not too bad, either and was my first experience in the Jana-Shatabdi or the poor man's Shatabdi, as some call it. The train reached Howrah a little late today morning and the queue at the pre-paid taxi booth was quite long, too. It was only at 11 that I was able to reach office but Sunita, my sub-guide, was pretty cool about it. It seems that today's meetings are scheduled for the second half of the day. The second half of the day has just arrived and the work is beckoning. This week should be busy work wise, with the presentation to the PwC UK person also due in the middle of the week...I just hope that I am able to stand up to it.
Posted at 03:29 pm by Nitai