Tuesday, April 15, 2014


my vjti classmate-friends and i were at a rented flat. it was the morning after a random sleepover. i remember siddharth, prasad, sachin, gaurang, shweta, komal, niti, reshma. we were supposed to be going to work, me before the rest, because I had to reach office at 830 am. I was getting ready while everyone else was just lazing around and recounting stories of the previous night. chit-chatting with them, I realized it was already 830, and i was going to be late. anyway, I figured that it was fine as long as I reached by 930, as we had a team dinner the previous night, and everyone else would probably be late as well (strangely, i didn't realize the contradiction, considering I also thought I had a sleepover last night!) when i was on my bike, on these unfamiliar roads, it was quite obvious that my dream wasn't set in bbay, but possibly in pune.

i picked up my teammate pratik on the way, and we had to then ride through a slightly wooded area. the weather was pleasant, but the air was moist, as if it might rain any time. as we passed through this area, i saw a clearing, with low walls but no gate. inside, the ground was grassy, and there was an asbestos shed with benches, as well as some concrete benches outside. pratik and i decided we'll take a break here for a bit, so i parked on the road and we sat on one of the benches a distance from the shed. we made random conversation for a few minutes, until we suddenly heard music. a group of three (a guy with a guitar, and another guy and girl) were walking towards us, singing the Herman's Hermits song "no milk today". i started talking to pratik about how I loved this song and grew up listening to it.

the group of three walked past us, and continued towards the shed. we picked our bags and followed them there. when we reached the shed, they were playing another familiar song from the '60s. i discreetly tried to record a video of them, and later tried to just record the audio. by now, a small group had gathered around, maybe around 10 or 12 people, mostly sitting around on the benches in the shed. the band had a full ensemble now, with a drum set and the works. they played another favorite song, and we both decided we would like a cigarette. i figured there might be a shop nearby on the road, so i left the shed and walked towards there.

there was no shop at all, and in fact nothing but forest on both sides of the plot we were at. disappointed, i turned to walk back, when a piglet, dirty and squealing, rubbed itself against my leg, depositing a lot of muck and possibly shit on it. the piglet was filthy and i didn't want to touch it, so i called for help, hoping someone would get a stick or something to shoo it off. instead, a passerby guy grabbed the piglet and nudged it away. I told him the piglet was filthy, and he then noticed that his hands were quite mucked too.

turns out the shed had a very rudimentary toilet, and there was a bucket of water in it. we washed up, and i got back to where the band was playing, and was surprised to see that nickolai had just arrived too. she was wearing the same white dress that i remember she wore last Friday. we sat listening to the band for a while, till I decided it was time to go. we left (i'm not sure how, since there were 3 of us now, but i remember nickolai was on the bike with me).

suddenly, it turned extremely overcast and started to drizzle. we hurriedly parked and took shelter in a roadside shed, which was already quite full of people taking refuge under it. it was actually a tea stall and as the drizzle turned into a heavy downpour, we got ourselves a cutting chai each.

that's when i realized it was nearing sunset. somehow, the entire day had passed. i would have to somehow explain missing the entire day of work.

and that's when my alarm went off. 6:30am. time to get to work.

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