Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mother's Blossoms 2008

26th January dawns sunny crisp and cold over Delhi. The slighly droopy somewhat fading Mother's Blossoms wake up groggily to a vague sense of something pending - almost impending - although it should ideally be a lazy jobless saturday which is ALSO a national holiday....

No... I definitely did NOT have to watch the parade on TV, the blossoms are thinking in their respective flower pots. No, I did not plan to start my gymming this weekend, and even if I did, well... those are hazardous decisions best left unrealised....

Ah, 4 cups of tea / coffee later, the slow realisation sinks in.... I am a Mother's Blossom and today is the day I foolishly committed to a bunch of pals on the email that I will wend my way schoolwards and be a part of the MIS annual reunion.

By this time its past 11a.m. Riya calls Pavita. Pavita sounds somewhat muffled, through layers of think quilt and thicker sleep. Pavita would like Riya to figure it all out and inform her sleepiness. In the meanwhile, 2 old seniors Oroon and Shounak surface. Hey they are headed to the reunion too. Super charged by caffeine and phone calls Riya says this is seeming worth it. Lets head towards Sarvodaya, ahoy!

Riya calls Pavita. Fails to inject similar enthusiasm. Pavita hos and hums and yawns and mumbles something that sounds like 'mebbe lezzee'.

Miffled (thats a combo of miffed and stifled) Riya smses Sudi. To a much better response. Sudi is waiting for Soggy who's waiting for Debu who's waiting for a car and then they are all headed to the blossoming moment. Things appear to be perking up.

Pavita is still not sure.

Double salvos of Oroon and Shounak are liberally launched in her direction. She capitulates. Riya calls Shounak back. Hey how are we going to find each other in that 'area-wise the largest school in Delhi'? Shon replies "Don't worry, we are Mother's Blossoms. We'll smell each other out".

Yuck. Gross.

Ok its 12 noon now. Everybody is attempting to get dressed and rush for this largely unnecessary rendezvous. Riya calls Sudi. Yes, that ship has sailed. Let us now meet at the haloed portals. We all arrive crisp and fresh, in varying degrees of unpunctuality to the 'sarvodaya' side gate. (Oroon and Shon enter from the main road gate and therefore reach the football field before us).

As we are about to run in slow-mo towards above mentioned field and fall into each other's arms at the 'Sunlit Path', an imposing shadow falls upon us. "Have you registered yet?". Boy. This alumnus must've been trained by Shekhar sir himself. The Legendary Bull Dog. "Gulp. No. I just wanted to meet my pals first."

Unknown voice + face thunders "NO!! Please register first!!" The years melt away as one sheepishly heads toward the wobby wooden desks with askew white table cloths (bedsheets, one suspects). One is handed a form longer than the US VISA form. I lost track after year of joining MIS, year of leaving MIS, number of years spent in the school (duh, can't you add, you sadistic form-fillerer???), current job, marital status, designation, number of children.... I have a vague feeling I must've also filled in blood group, number of siblings, terrorist affiliations etc, but I can't be sure since my mind was that familiar numb din by then. Ah. How nostalgic.

You pay Rs. 50/- afer filling that form - by this time you're thinking somebody should've been paying you instead. Or, you are told smugly, you can pay Rs. 2500 for a lifetime membership. Sorry you murmur stupidly. I don't have that kind of money. Do you have a credit card set up? The much more involved mother's blossoms frown from the other side of the rumpled white sheets. Credit cards? Certainly not.

Your eyes then fall upon this splendour that each one of them is sporting. Its a sleeveless grey sweatshirt with a Mother's Blossom emblem on the chest, top left corner. Soggy and Debu promptly rechristen it Mother's Bosom. Its so corny you want one for yourself. Well, if you take the lifetime membership you get it for free. Whoopie. Or else you pay Rs. 600. And NO no credit cards sorry.

I want one. I only have a hundred buck note. I forgot the purity of the MIS environs where plastic was ALWAYS frowned upon. Sigh. I beg and plead many to buy me one but nobody does. This is especially after I spy the back of the sweatshirt on someone. Ok, this is the prize winner. This grey unassuming Mother's Blossom sweatshirt says in about 300 font size in the center of the back I AM BLESSED.

Yes. Its true. Today I could've been the proud owner of a sweatshirt that proclaimed my blessed status to the entire world staring enviously at my back if ONLY Shon, or Oroon or Sudi or Soggy or Debu or Tej had coughed up a measly Rs. 600.

Cheep Cheap.

But all was not lost boys and girls. In return for the Rs. 50 we all got a bright purple-pink square of a sticker that we were supposed to slap on our sleeves / pockets / jackets / foreheads or any other prominent body part and in return we could eat for free from all those stalls lined up at the side of the football field.... Golguppas, Aloo Tikki smashed in front of your eyes on a paper plate and bathed in chutney, pao bhajji with an overdose of lemon, poori alu daal and paneer, gaajar ka halwa and something called Daulat ki Chaat which was sensed more than tasted because it looked and felt like shaving foam on paper plates.

Old teachers looked older. Bhalla, who's now vice principal, was asked by Oroon 'hey heard you are now the vice president?' Ass. Mrs. Pillay looked positively alzheimered. But she was sweet, pretending to remember everybody. All of them said the same predictable things. Spouse, children updates clearly won the day over career updates. What you had achieved clearly played second fiddle to what you had married and what you had produced.

And as you walked away, towards the 'Sunlit Path' and beyond, gaping at Sri Aurobindo in grey, still peeing benevolently over all things big and small, you heard a voice in your head ruefully saying 'nostalgia isn't what it used to be....'