India has always been to me the country of last-minute plans (like my departure for Calcutta barely two days after having met Aleika) and cancellations.
On the menu last Thursday, two cancellations — one which upset me, and the other which pleased me tremendously.
First of all, Madhav sent me a message cancelling dinner and our evening stroll in the university campus. I love Madhav dearly, but he does have a tendancy to try my patience (just as I try his, in other ways) by changing plans on short notice and and cancelling meetings I look forward to. I called Nisha and luckily, it wasn’t too late for her to include me in her dinner plans. She cooked a really nice dinner, by the way — puris and home-made gulab jamun — had she guessed that my spirits might need lifting a little?
I was woken up during the dark hours of the night by the sound os somebody coming into the flat. I was supposed to be alone with Nisha that night, as Sagar works night shifts and Shinde had run off to some festival with his fellow disciples from Markal. In my half-sleep I assumed it must be Sagar coming home early. A few minutes later I had gathered together enough of myself to check the time — it was only midnight!
I got up, and to my surprise found myself face-to-face with Shinde. His festival had been postponed by a day, which meant he would have missed my last evening here — so after some internal debate, he cancelled. We stayed up a good two hours chatting before I finally went back to sleep again.
In the middle of all that, or rather before, the chay.
I had been sitting for quite some time in front of my Internet Café during a notable power failure which seems to have wiped out all trace of electrical activity from M.G. Rd to Aundh, waiting for the message which would cancel my plans for the evening (though at that time I didn’t suspect it) or for Bijli Devi (the Goddess of Electricity) to give up her strike and resume normal activity. Sitting and waiting can become boring, even if you have stuff to write up and brightly-clad female construction workers to film on the other side of the road. As he was ordering another round of chay, the Internet Café owner kindly asked me if I would like one.
Sweet, hot indian tea in a small glass. It was nice.