9th May 2011
It is 2.30pm on a sweltering Monday afternoon. I’m half way between Pune and Mumbai in the latest Volvo brought to you by Mercedes Benz [fancy eh?] – trying to sleep [unsuccesfully at best!!]. To add to my misery, I have an oblivious mother who has happily slept in the discomfort offered within the confines of the seat. A terrible neck-ache, a bad movie [FYI – “Apne” starring the Deols, Sculpted Shetty now Mrs. Kundra and Miss Lack o’ Acting Kaif] and random boredom totally flood the mind.
And then the phone rings – loud enough to wake up everyone in the bus [including the drowsy driver and excluding my semi-sedated mother].
Nemo’s name flashes on the screen [First thought – damn u Nemo, mera 3000 bucks kab dega, Second thought – atleast someone to talk to and kill time, Third thought – no time for that, I had answered the phone by then]
Nemo: Hi, there’s something very crazy that I’m gonna ask you. Ready for it?
Rish [perplexed, immediate unrelated ideas come to my mind – Is he going to ask me out? (noooooooooo), Is he getting married? (whhaaaaaaaaaattt), Is he sitting in the same bus as me? (a quick glance around the bus confirms he isn’t)] :Yeah shoot
Nemo: Do you have your passport in place?
Rish [passport? HUH?] : Yeah why?
Nemo: Interested in going to Venice?
Rish: Yeah when? [I notice I’ve been speaking in two-worded sentences]
Nemo: Day after tomorrow [i.e. Wednesday]
Rish: Arre wait till Friday na, it is my last day at work
Wait a minute – Realisation strikes – Dude, Venice not Versova. VENICE? DAY AFTER TOMORROW? ME? WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING?
Rish [collecting her thoughts post realization – pretending to be composed] : Ok now, details please
Nemo : Niki is helping in organizing an almost- Royal wedding of some big shot Indian in Venice. Tatas, Ambanis, Birlas and the likes expected to attend. The wedding walas need a newsletter published for the wedding. So Niki is looking for writers…
Visions of gondolas, hot Italian men, romantic music and beautiful architecture begin haunting me. Just when I’m arguing in my mind whether to have the bolognaise with fettuccine or cannelloni –
Nemo : Dude you still there?
Rish [absent mindedly – chuck the bolognaise, how about pizza?]: Yeah go on
Nemo : So you in?
Rish [now realistic] : Obviously I totally like [read: LOVE] the idea, but isn’t it too short a notice?
Nemo : Yeah it is. But think about it – All expense paid trip to VENICE. 14-15th May is the wedding. You write the newsletter and then you get to sightsee the next 5-6 days.
Rish : So what’s the catch, why aren’t you going?
Nemo: My passport has expired [hahaha sucker! Almost give small hi-five to imaginary friend]. I’m trying to arrange one within a day. Fingers crossed.
Rish : Oh. It is a very tempting offer but I would have to let you know by evening.
Nemo : Ok. Hurry.
Next 2 hours in the damn bus are a joyride. The happy state of mind flirts with thoughts ranging from sitting in a small Venetian café writing my next travelogue to Italian men [well let’s not tread there]
Household discussions on reaching home state the obvious – No honey, you aren’t going anywhere [Ok, maybe not that directly – but the underlying meaning remains the same]
So here I am, 28.5 hours after receiving the phone call, still wondering if I will be able to get on the Venice bound flight tomorrow.
Slap of reality – No honey, you aren’t going anywhere. Bullshit I say!