“Hey Guys”, she welcomed us into his beautiful house. The house was lit with 6 antique lanterns hanging in the balcony attached to the living room. Meenakshi had worked a lot on the ambience.
She hopped from one room to another to light the candles she had arranged before we stepped into Yadnesh’s house. I admired the uncountable paintings hanging on the walls. The biggest one was painted by the host of the night.
P.S. A big thanks to the residents of the society who bared with all noise we made until dawn. They were indeed sweet.
Meenakshi ran hither and thither, probably winding up the dinner preparations. I still sat there admiring the balcony. What a pretty place to relax and write my daily journal, I thought.
At last, we had Meenakshi sitting on a couch opposite to us. She was a surprise element of the nightout. Grey-haired, just braided with those bright-coloured threads from the latest travel to Goa.
Travellers are the best storytellers and their travel stories are so real and adventurous. Meenakshi was a solo-traveller. She met Yadnesh – the host of the night, in Varanasi on their respective solo trip.
She’s been travelling solo for 4 years. And she’s 46 years old. The reason behind mentioning Meenakshi’s age is obvious, isn’t it?
We all looked double her age when we sat listening to her travel stories and not the grandma stories, resting the chin in our hands.
As the environment transformed from serene to swagger, there were many more people joining the party. Obviously all unknown.
The nightout party had an impressive base. You were allowed to get your friends also. Samruddhi, my childhood best friend had taken me to this party organised by her colleague Yadnesh. And here I was, a complete alien to the others(with the majority of Architects) in the house.
But the positive vibes hooked me up to the madness, and in no time I was one of them, though not an architect. There was a formal introductory session when it was a full house.
Indrajit, with his aviator glasses and braces in his teeth, was the youngest amongst us. Indrajit also had met Yadnesh and Meenakshi on his solo travel to Varanasi. He is in his first year of Philosophy and is an Assistant director and writer at a famous Youtube channel – BhaTuPa. His bio was longer than his height, and I was all ears when he spoke about himself. “A wee tot”, I thought with awe.
Hampreet was Meenakshi’s friend who was a sort of green activist. He volunteered in environmental activities.
Then there was this sweet couple, knowing each other from their birth and dating for a decade now were to be married next year in January. Aarti and Bosco made a cute pair. I wished I could ask them how did they break the news at home. But that would be too early for a first meet, I thought reluctantly.
Even though a girl and a boy are childhood friends, Indian parents can lose their calm at any unpredictable moment. They can be weird at times, isn’t it?
Dishank, the chain smoker of the night, gave an honest introduction. He shared his master’s degree experience with everyone. Though he was high, I felt all that he said was from his heart.
It was definitely not necessary for an architect to know the literature well. At the end of the day, he has to sell himself as an architect and not a writer.
For the very first time ever I did not mind the smell of a cigarette. If only I could keep a count of his smokes! But the cigarettes lit were way beyond counting.
The rest of the night was crazy.
1.The Vegan Debate
Until yesterday, little did I know that a ‘Vegans‘ did not drink cow’s milk. Meenakshi and Hampreet were Vegans. All the facts and circumstances that they had to share were insane and unbelievable.
A human body is not designed the feed on flesh.
When Aarti told about her mother’s dog love and that she fed them chicken dishes every day, Meenakshi politely countered her, “Ask your mother, what’s the difference between a dog and a hen?”
And there was pin drop silence for the next 5 seconds.
Hampreet had gone vegan the night he had chicken for dinner. He isn’t an animal lover, but he cares for the environment.
Oh! I forgot to introduce the most significant personality – Sonu. She sat right in the middle of the living room and loved being cuddled. This substantial white cat was also a part of the nightout.
As the vegan discussion was about to turn into a debate, Yadnesh suggested playing something collectively.
Yadnesh tried his best to explain to us the rules of ‘Mafia’. But it seemed a complex one and we all gave up in the middle of it.
Immediately we switched the game. Some of us played Uno and the others carrom as the cards wouldn’t be enough for 13 of us. We also played ‘Headsup’. It’s an advance version of dumb charades. You can install the game on your cellphone and play it on get-together or trips.
Despite all the fun, Samruddhi kept asking me, “Comfy, right?” She’s such a sweetheart.
Meenakshi, the same solo-traveller, had already cooked dinner for so many of us. We all served ourselves with the variety of delicacies she had arranged systematically on the kitchen sink.
Chole, aloo sabzi, roti, dal, rice, papad, chatnis, ladoos and salad were savoured in eco-friendly plates and spoons. She’s a fantastic cook also. Incredible personality she is.
OMG! the menu wasn’t done yet. Meenakshi had set a vegan banana ice cream in the refrigerator. Ice cream in its purest form it was. And last but not least, modaks also.
While we relished the ice-cream, Aarti was busy whipping cream for a dessert called – Serradura, a Portuguese sweet. She asked us to crush the Marie biscuits in powder form.
Akshay, who was a Kannada and the most handsome guy was keen on crushing the biscuits with his hands. His hard work was all worth it. Serradura was aesthetic.
Serradura means ‘sawdust’ in Portuguese as the end product resembled sawdust because of the crushed Marie.
The night was filled with several talks. At times, I would sigh, as I missed someone telling something interesting. I hadn’t been a part of such a diverse crowd before. I treasured each moment spent at the night-out.
It was all crazy and subtle at the same time. A rare combination, you see.
Amidst all the chaos and enjoyment, I made peace with my quietude. I preferred talking less and listening more. Like me, there was this guy, Daraz, who was a part of the party, yet aloof.
There was something profound about him that had my prominent attention.
Daraz is a Shayar from the heart, but he confines his poems to himself. There are two types of writers, one who write for themselves and two who write for others. I was lucky enough to listen to one of his Shayaris.
It marked as a beautiful end to the night.
P.S. The biggest credit goes to the residents of Yadnesh’s society in making our nightout enjoyable. They with bared our noise until dawn.