After getting some retail therapy over big tall glasses of Sugarcane juice, we went over to Pankaj’s place for lunch. It was a good Gujarati spread. My stomach was acting up thanks to beer & pickle overdose in the village plus the humidity of Bombay caught up big time.
I decided to sleep for a bit while Bhim,Pankaj and his friend Jogen were watching election updates. Pankaj was suggesting we have some wine around 4 pm but my stomach was screwed and Bhim only drank beer. In a way I was thankful it was a no liquor day, I needed a break from the over indulgence, well atleast for a day 😊
As I was relaxing Bhim came in and told me the latest update about his date. She had booked dinner in one of those fancy upscale French sounding restaurants that served Mediterranean food.
Now she had suggested to go for a walk on the beach and spend some time before heading for dinner, what could be more romantic than that? The gal had made all the plans for the night 😊
After sometime I got up and joined the others. Pankaj was playing some beautiful music in the background and we were all relaxing sipping Chai. Bhim had to iron his newly bought Shirt and Pant(3,500 Rs people) and he took the iron box not before Pankaj warned him it was an old one and to place some newspapers and iron it gently.
Just when you think everything is gonna be alright… Bhim peeped in and said I screwed up! So our man put a newspaper and ironed it but what it did was it left a yellow imprint on his beautiful white linen shirt! Another one down!
We didn’t know how to react specially myself, on one hand I was feeling really bad and on the other hand it was a hilarious situation that could be in a movie! First of all our man forgets his original shirt and pant in Hyderabad then he buys a new one and now that’s screwed! We saw the shirt in different angles and in no way could the yellow get hidden. Mmmmm maybe in the night it won’t be noticed? But who would take a chance?!
I remember Pankaj saying maybe it’s a sign that you should just go casually.. Gosh there were so many signs that this might not be as expected but we all chose to see the brightest side. Bhim was like am back to my T shirts, no way am I gonna buy more!
We reached YMCA and Bhim got ready and was off to meet his date and I got ready to meet my trekmate Darshan. A little bit about him.
We met during Sandakphu trek in January this year and he was one of the few solo Trekkers like me. So Darshan,myself,Priyanka,Kinshuk and Saikat all solo trekkers formed a strong bond on the trek.
Darshan was a man of few words but when he spoke it was simple, straightforward and honest. He was one of the few I really liked on the trek and it would be wonderful to meet up with him again.
He was coming from work and he suggested we meet up at Maffy’s, a casual Arabian restaurant overlooking the sea. It was a walkable distance from where I stayed and as I reached the restaurant there he was, tired from a long day’s work and a big smile. I was so happy to see him.
Now for all those who knew him on the trek, let tell me you what an amazing sense of humor he has. A big funny bone and witty, very witty! As he recounted his childhood, his job, I was laughing my guts out. And can I tell you how wonderfully he mimics people and accents?? It was hilarious as we kept chatting and laughing out loud.
He was into VFX- special effects and he was planning on doing a specialised course. His choice of restaurant was awesome too. A lovely casual Arabian restaurant with delicious finger licking food.
We spoke about our lives, dreams and challenges. This is what every trek does to you, it truly connects you to people because we encounter the best and worst of times during the trek and our true nature is revealed to others. If one gets through that, we become friends for life.
And that’s what happened on all my treks. There have been atleast a few in every trek I know I will be connected to for the rest of my life and Darshan was definitely one of them.
We were well into our meal enjoying every moment when my phone rang, it was 10.30 pm and it was Bhim! Instantly I knew something went wrong. He just said my date is done where are you guys? I was in a state of shock and I mumbled Hey what the hell happened??! Out came a sigh with ‘I will tell you when am there.’
I told him to join us and he was not very far off. I had already told Darshan about the shirt fiasco of my buddy and he said, Yeah I guess it didn’t work out huh?
I remember Bhim walking in grinning and me trying to stop laughing as he sat down. We continued our chat as Darshan regaled us with Palanpuri Gujarati Jains who were these super rich diamond merchants reigning over South Bombay. He was imitating their accents and their way of functioning, we were laughing like crazy!
We got out and started walking on the drive by the sea. I said we should have dessert and Darshan being the sweet chap he is, started checking for places to get some.I was like it’s ok it’s almost midnight but NO, he said you should have that experience so off we went asking and exploring places for dessert. It was such fun because we discovered an awesome cool place called GARAGE that was a pub.
Imagine us three asking for dessert in a pub, it was a dry day but I made a mental note of visiting this joint next time!
Finally Darshan took us to this quaint small place called Cafe Churchill yup that’s right with a big mug shot of Sir Winston Churchill! It was run by a Parsi family and it was Darshan’s hangout once a while. Then I remembered I had come here way back in 2010 and had a hearty English Breakfast.
Darshan asked in Gujarati for the dessert menu. The firm Parsi man suggested some stuff. Darshan then ordered Peach Iced Tea for him and Bhim which was really good while I opted for a chilled Caramel Custard.
I still relive that moment when past midnight we three sat in that cafe and continued our conversations. Next to us were 3 young boys enjoying their hamburgers and the Parsi owner’s family finishing their dinner. Such moments get forever etched in my heart.
Darshan lived in Breach Candy while YMCA was walking distance away, we said our goodbyes with a big hug.
It was so heartfelt to spend time with Darshan. He knew who he was, had clarity, keen observational skills and took life as it comes. I knew he was another person on my list I would meet at any cost whenever I am in Bombay.
Once Darshan got into his cab, I immediately asked Bhim So What happened? And then..
To be continued.. 😁