The fact that I am unable to hide the excitement of going home in December on a month long vacation is no news to my neighbors or the housemaid. I discussed this over and over again whenever they innocently asked me ‘What’s up?’ that now they want to get rid of me and wishes that I never came back. But who cares? I am celebrating New Year at home..yoohoo!
I remember the days at my college hostel when I used to be slightly superstitious. Slightly. I mean not so bad enough to believe what they say about the black cat. For one, it was something about vacation planning and getting excited. My best friend always told me never to plan a vacation or a function way ahead and get too excited about it. If I did, it was most likely to end in disappointment. Initially I thought it was a joke, but she threatened me with it by her soft voice and big eyes that I believed it instantly.
Atleast when she was around ;-)
Atleast when she was around ;-)
Almost a year after graduation, I remember her verbal marriage invitation as soon as the dates were known to her. During the same call, she also banned any further discussions about it. Because the last thing she wanted was to miss me on her big day. Many times I started conversations with…’hey that hopeless tailor may mess up my blouse for your wedding…’ or sometimes ‘ my damn sandals broke…what will I wear on…”and she stopped me at that point and told me to shut the hell up. In anger, she also added that she dint care what I wore. Well I was pretty sure about that, you know.
I was a fresher who landed my first job and was at least eight months into it when her marriage was announced. A week after she announced her wedding dates, my boss called me and certain others to his cabin and discussed about an onsite assignment, which was to be at the client office in Mumbai. He said he will let us know the dates later. I went back to my seat only to churn out intelligent excuses to get out of this project. Then a brilliant idea struck me, one which most male bosses are known to comply. I made mental notes, prepared further believable lies and scripted an entire drama to perform at the boss’s cabin the next time he calls me to discuss the project.
Two days later, he called four of us again. In these two days, I was so thorough and confident about the excuse I was about to say, that I almost started believing my own lie. So we marched into the cabin, got seated and listened through the blue print and other technical stuff. Well to be honest I wasn’t listening because I am not going, no? I smirked at the three other excuse-retarded poor fellows who were going to Mumbai and toil at the client site. Then the boss stood up and gave us a verbal itinerary which had the earth shattering dates- we were to fly on the 16th of May at 6:00 am, and it was the day of my best friend’s wedding.
Well my excuse could not be expressed when the other three project mates were present because of reasons pertaining to my ego and self-respect. I waited for them to leave the cabin. When the door closed behind me, the boss looked up and asked, ‘Yes?’
I continued. “Sir.. I have few problems back home due to which I am afraid I won’t be able to travel on the specified project dates”
The boss who was expected to be surprised and taken aback (according to my imaginary script), leaned back on his plush chair and asked, ‘May I know if it is not personal?’
I continued my robotic well-tailored speech. “Sir, actually my parents are growing old and they are searching a suitable alliance for me. In fact a guy is coming from Pune to meet me on the same day”
Boss was amused at this. He asked, "oh so is he coming on the 16th?"
"No Sir, on the 18th"
It was the time for me to use all my grey cells. I had prepared only so much, because as per the script, the boss then chose another candidate and excused me from the project and wished me a blissful wedded life.
The boss continued in a deeper voice, “Okay may be I can convince your parents to call that guy and tell him to come 4 weeks later. What is your landline number?” and picked up the receiver.
I sweated down my shirt. My hands shivered like that of a chronic alcoholic. I stammered a lot to finally come up with, “Sir, my parents are at work now, I will ask them this, Thank you very much sir”
I got the hell out of the cabin before he asked their work numbers. When I closed the door behind me, I couldn’t feel my legs anymore and almost heard the boss banging his head in laughter.
However that was when the actual problem began to unravel itself. I couldn’t possibly show up at the wedding which mattered more than anything else. The blouse was also being stitched for no apparent reason. I did not dare to call my bestie and break this news. I spent the next few days in a pensive mood. I am now guessing that could be when my parents actually realized that they should start the groom hunting for me, because I appeared heartbroken most of the time. Well little did they know that I had second thoughts about the design of the blouse I gave the tailor.
Days passed and the wedding came closer. I had still not broken the news to her that I will not be there. It was just a week to go and I had my project documents and other stuff in place. I dint call her, even though she called me several times in the day and disclosed some stuff her fiancée said and we giggled.
The countdown came closer and there were just three days to go. I was at office, attending meetings back to back. I couldn’t bring myself to reality. Suddenly the boss walked in, and announced:
“Guys, slight change of plans. You will be travelling on the 20th and not on 16th. Tickets will be issued shortly”
I was numb by happiness for some time. However I stayed nonchalant, as expressing happiness will give the boss a different picture considering the excuse I said.
Finally I attended THE marriage, and we had the time of our lives. I flew to Mumbai three days later. The colleagues on the adjacent seats briefed me about the project during the flight, since I wasn’t mentally present over the week.
Coming to think of it, everything was co incidental. What difference would it have made if I , as opposed to the superstition, got too excited and made plans about the wedding? I may have called her every single day to discuss that. Oh and a disastrous phone bill. May be that’s what she meant by disappointment.