I know, I know I’m being a Late Latif but I was too lazy to write it all in one day and was too caught up in the moment to let go of it… But it’s finally done and I owe this to my seniors and My Friends… Kokil for asking me to write this, Harshal, Mayank Raina, Hakim and all the Mechanchis for making sure I didn’t go off to sleep on the road that night and last but definitely not the least, Maansi and Yajnika for staying in my brain and keeping me sane...
Here is the itinerary of the events that took place on the night of the 29th of March 2007.
8pm – Arrival at Silvers Noodle Bar
930 pm – Formal Intro
10pm – Party Finally Starts
1030pm – Booze Starts
1130 pm – Halfway between the Gutter and the Stars
Midnight – Snoring in the room of my hostel
Now I give you all that in a few more words…
Walking on the road to my hostel, my colleagues buzzed about like females discussing gossip. There was a nerve of excitement in every person as I passed them by, the same anxious and nervous look in their faces. It all made sense, it was ‘Fresher’ Season and we were the ones who were going to get our asses on fire on that fateful night. Well actually, we all had had a taste of things to come, being called at wee hours in the night to the seniors’ hostel for a ‘formal introduction’ made us quite familiar with our seniors and we were able to test ourselves to the limit, not realizing of all the hidden skills and feelings we had stored within ourselves for so many years… That being another story to tell, I come back to the present. I started asking myself, “What was so special in this fresher party?” I found answering myself “This is a MECHANICAL fresher, there are not going to be any girls around, instead there will be booze and loads of it”… The dams will break and the testosterone will flow like a river, and I shall be swept away with everything else…Before I had realized it, I was talking to myself again and now everyone was staring at me, wondering whether I had started drinking a little too early or not. I stopped talking thereon, and quietly crept into my room and fell into the comfort of my steel bed, the fresher was far away, in a distant land where elves rode on horses and little leprechauns danced along to “My Heart Will Go On”… Suddenly I was woken by a message on my primitive phone, it read, “Cn i brw ur tie fr d frshr?”. Making out the word ‘tie’ I got the idea, somehow the word had spread that I was the sole owner of a wardrobe of ties in our hostel.
I guess it was time for me to get ready. A quick shave, a borrowed coat and a spray of perfume, I was ready for a night out. Before this night, I had never been exposed to alcohol without the supervision of my parents. Tonight I had the liberty to drink what I want, when I want and with whom I want, I was in college… Life was good. But I chose to stick to the sober side tonight, I wanted this night to last as long as possible. Till today, I had gulped beer like a lost gambler in a bar, I had tasted wine like the rich and snobbish aristocrats of today and I had sipped on a Breezer like a 40 year old aunty who wanted to get ‘high’. Everyone had told me that I would love Vodka and that’s what my motive was tonight, to get a taste of that white, tasteless liquid. In my red and black color combination, I climbed into the ever so contrasting blue auto and told the driver, “ To our destiny !”, or in other words, “Silvers – Noodle Bar”.
We all had been given homework which had to be submitted tonight. The seniors had assigned each ‘fachcha’ a senior and we had to dig forgotten graves and storm dusty cupboards to find out as much as we can about them (Scandalous information was preferable). My senior was Saurabh Chopra and I had taken the help of my oh-so-loving full moon – Hakim, to get the formal details. I took the responsibility of adding the sugar and spice to the rest. Throughout my entire journey I went over my lines over and over again, making sure that I don’t mess up. Little did I know how much ‘messing up’ I was about to do.
As we arrived there, I was greeted by the seniors with handshakes and Welcomes, but rather than looking at the seniors and reciprocating with a smile which neither showed happiness nor sadness, I was gazing at the bouncer at the main door… He/It looked to be a mixed breed of some sort. If a question was ever asked, “What do you get if you cross a Gorilla with Simon Cowell’s wardrobe ?” This monstrosity standing in front of me would be the answer.
More greetings were followed inside the dimly lit basement where I noticed with utter surprise the attire of the people around me. Although we ‘first-years’ were dressed for the occasion, I was conspicuous about our seniors. I saw some of them in casuals but others followed and they were in bermudas, others in shorts and people even came in Kurtas and Pyjamas! But in the end I realized, what were we all dressed for? There aren’t going to be aunties pulling our cheeks, telling us how cute we looked or uncles commenting on how smart we look. Most importantly, there were no girls who will get a starry-eyed look on their faces seeing us in suit-boot. I felt like an ass.
The processions began finally after making everyone sit down like little children in kindergarten. First came the senior intros and we were made to sit in one dark corner while our seniors roared with laughter listening to the weird info that we all had come up with. The minutes passed by as each junior was called up and boredom was creeping on to me. My yawns were starting and I really wasn’t expecting this from such a hyped-about party. I must have really let out a loud one because the next name up was mine. Suddenly, the weariness and sleepiness disappeared into thin air, all eyes were on me now. I broke a sweat and my legs were shaking with the adrenalin. It was prep school all over again. I had been asked to stand up in front of the entire class and recite the alphabet. The same feelings ran through me back then as they were now. After I was finally done with …X,Y,Z, the teacher has asked me, “Oh dear, you did very well but what happened to P ?” I replied to her query by saying, “Its running down my pants ma’am”…
I was back in the basement, checking if I hadn’t wet myself yet… As I took the microphone from Mayank Raina, my mind was blank, I tried remembering my lines but to no avail… I started with what I had heard from Hakim, the usual member of _____ club, rides a _____, owns a ______. Soon and inevitably enough, the boos and hisses began. This was going nowhere. I thought to my self and decided that there was only one way out of this, switch over to the other side. My homo personality always got me out of a sticky situation and it was able to do so. Comments on his ‘assets’ and comparing them to mine turned out to be a riot. I decided to finally end it and so I topped it off with a song. I sang out “Hero” by Enrique Eglesias out to him from the bottom of my heart and turned clay into stone.
A sigh of relief and a monkey off my back, I could now enjoy the party peacefully. Once the intros were finally over, the atmosphere livened up, the dust rose from the walls and the lights were flashing everywhere, the music had had turned on and it was time to dance! I wasted no time in lazing around and I jumped on to the dance floor. Frankly speaking, I didn’t know squat about dancing, my way of dancing was to keep shaking and shaking, making weird movements till people start admiring it instead of ignoring it. I chose to do the same here. After all, we were mechanchis, we had no grace, we had no style, we had every reason to smile.
All that dancing had made me thirsty, I needed a drink. There was water, there was coke but I chose what I had come here for, Vodka. When it came to terms regarding alcohol, I was worse than an illiterate. I went up to the bartender and told him, “One glass vodka”. The bartender was confused, in two minds he wondered whether he should entertain my request or correct me. To save the day came my friend who told the bartender what to do. I ended up with a peg of vodka mixed with coke. Being cautious at first, I started taking sips from the glass. I looked like a 90 year old learning how to drink soup. I was here with my first glass and there were those who had lost count by now. One of them was Hakim who was flat by the time I had finished my glass. He was lead out by his mates and I never heard from him for the rest of the night. On finishing the glass, I still didn’t feel much, I could hear everything, talk sense and walk straight… I guess one glass wasn’t enough. I went up to the bartender to ask for the same but came through a friend who had had way too much for one night, he told me to have a drink with him. Looking at my nonplussed look he gave me the glass which contained only vodka without any coke. He shouted out “Bottoms Up !” and gulped down the liquid as if it were water. He was still looking at my glass, looked like he wanted mine as well. He told me to go on, and with my fingers crossed and eyes closed, I swallowed it. What followed was no less than a torture. The liquid inflamed my throat and I felt like I had just swallowed a bottle of Vicks Vapo Rub. It took me time to recover from the shock but I was surprised to know that I could still count the fingers on my hand. There was still more work to be done…
The trips to the bar increased and now I was even trying my hand at whiskey. I was still able to talk straight and walk a little straight. I was just waiting for the point when I would start talking gibberish and start cackling like a chicken. It didn’t take so long during the movies There was an instance when I went over to the bar, took a peg of vodka, asked the bartender to put some coke. I had no idea how much alcohol he had taken because he ended up filling my entire glass with vodka! But I wasn’t troubled, I drank it all down, draining it to the last drop. … The music went on and so did the dancing, holding a glass in one hand and a camera in the other, I went on a photo-shooting spree, clicking everyone and anyone that I could get in between my lens. The ruddy DJ couldn’t stop playing the Punjabi numbers which I was pretty sick by now and so decided to stop dancing and look for a person to accompany me to the bar. Harshal had finally noticed my state and decided it was high time I stopped for the night. He took me to one corner of the basement and forced me not to have anymore for the night. I on the other hand still felt that I wasn’t drunk and wanted to have more. On hearing this, his face turned stern and his eyes grew narrower “ I am going to call up Yajnika Ma’am and let her know what you have been up to.” Those words had done the magic. Hearing her name had suddenly brought me back to my senses, I couldn’t let her see me in such a state, she would give me such firing… I wanted to get all this alcohol out of me, I think my night was over. As Harshal dragged me into the toilet, he put my head next to the wall and kept on telling me, “Let it all out” and that’s exactly what I did. I let it all out…
Maybe it was an hour, may be it was 2, I had no idea. I was situated halfway between the gutter and the stars and I wanted to go home. I felt awfully horrible for whatever I had done, I kept apologizing to whomsoever I ran into, asking them for their forgiveness. They thought I was drunk, You thought I was drunk, I knew I wasn’t drunk. Mayank and Harshal took me to the parking lot and I waited for a car to take me home. Mayank handed me a lemon to suck on and while keeping that fruit between my teeth I just realized something. Food! I had forgotten all about the food, there was food waiting for me and I was out here eating lemons! But the thought soon flew away as I started to let it all out again. I needed to get to bed fast…
Sitting in Sarabha’s car with Saurabh Chopra here to save the day as my driver, I was al set to get back to my hostel. I was having trouble getting into the car as I couldn’t locate my left foot. Raina, who was helping me into the car, felt relieved I had been taken car of. Little did he know that I had one last hurl to make. Since I couldn’t dirty Sarabha’s car, I decided to face outside, not realizing that it wasn’t the ground that I was facing but Raina’s shirt instead. Before I or Raina could realize what had happened, the car sped off into the night. Vinayak had left the building…
At the gates of the hostel stood my well-wishers all ready to drag me to my room and put me off to sleep. As they carried me, they told me that I was the 2nd person to come back. The first one being my very own neighbor. The moment I entered my room, I dropped into the warmth of my steel bed and was asleep even before anyone could bid me goodnight.
In a matter of 4 hours, I had undergone a roller-coaster that would be remembered for the rest of my life. One would say that I had turned from a boy into a man in these 4 hours. Others would say that I have committed a sin in these 4 hours.
I feel that I just lived out 4 hours of life.