The otherwise boring routine of office are made fun with the presence of friends in office. The tea time discussions, the long lunch debates, the evening snacks live comedy sessions have become a part of life. Slowly and steadily we had become friends from colleagues. Birthday parties, Bowling outings, lunch treats have become the spice of our lives.
Five people from completely varied background are now best of friends. Friends which you can call FRIENDS FOREVER!!
So among us is Preeja, who was going to get married on 6th May 2013 in Coimbatore. I would have never in my randomest thought planned a overnight trip to Coimbatore leaving my two kids home, if it was not for our 6 yr old friendship where we were day in and day out together in office. And if it was not for my other awesome friends Aparna and Pawan who literally sailed me to Coimbatore. I didnt know when the cab was booked, I didnt know when the accomodation was arranged, I didnt know when they packed snacks for the journey, when they negotiated with the vendors etc, the only thing I did was packing two pair of clothes for myself!
So we had decided that we will go to Coimbatore on Sunday morning and attend the wedding on Monday morning and reach Bangalore back the same day. This short trip was planned keeping in mind my restrictions on leaving kids alone for more than a day. After crossing the World war 3 and World war 4 I finally boarded the cab with them.
I still wasnt able to fathom we have actually started for Coimbatore, but it wasnt a dream!! I was sure, we would not get bored even for a moment when we have our all-time entertainer Pawan with us, but I didnt know that there was much more in store for me. A casual one day trip to attend a wedding would become one hell of a time with friends. It would be like reliving those crazy college days when all you wanted was to have fun, laugh aloud and do crazy things!
We were booked in a hotel nearby the Kalyan mandapam where the wedding was going to be conducted. After the intial checkin formalities, we relaxed for an hour in the rooms and then planned for some sight seeing. We contacted some local friends and the hotel helpdesk to get an idea of the city.
We were told the most happening area in Coimbatore is the Gandhipuram area. They had malls, theaters and restaurants out there and at 8 in the night, that is the only place we would find buzzing. So with great enthusiasm we drove to Gandhipuram.
Gandhipuram was like the Commercial street of Bangalore. You can find everything on earth on that street, but we were looking for window shopping and in that hot climate getting down to a busy street was the last thing we wanted to do. The girls in the team were not interested in shopping!! Unbelievable but TRUE!! So we just drove past the street and headed to another street. In the middle of the place we saw huge Jailalitha's picture,,sorry,, huge pictures of JaiLalitha and we were curious to know what's there. To our surprise there was a "MELA", local carnival or temporary amusement parks in full glory inviting us. The last time I had visited that kind of "MELA" was in my hometown some 15 yrs back with my parents. So we decided to try our luck and see if we can enjoy some rides at that hour.
We felt born lucky when the MELA seemed nowhere near the closure and we hopped into the MERRY GO ROUND. We spoke about the safety, the hygeine, the crowd blah blah but at the end the fun element won over our inhibitions and we enjoyed the full ride like kids. We shouted our hearts out and teased Pawan. He was the one who was most scared of the group and pretending to be the braver one :P. After that we went to Colombus the best of all. Everytime the ship drifted to our end, we were in the air and could feel the miracles of gravity in every bit of our body. The carefree moments we spent shouting, screaming and enjoying those rides would never be bought for a million bucks. The child in us was not ready to accept that we are grown ups and we are not allowed to shout and scream like this. We did zig zag round rides, then crazy cups etc and finally thought we are done of the rides for now. Then the mother in me wanted to get some gifts for the kids which would make them happy. So I bought some gifts for both the kids.
The magic of incredible Bharat shone once again in its full glory. A rajisthani girl from Maharashtra, who has travelled to Gujrat and staying in Karnataka was buying a Chaniya Choli (Ghagra) from Tamil Nadu's small local MELA. Its amazing how our diversities of states are adapted so beautifully in every corner of the country.
Then after shopping a little bit we headed to THE RESIDENCY
for dinner. It is supposed to be the best 4 star hotel in town and known for its food. They had one Indian and one chinese restaurants and both of them looked quite classy. We decided to go for the Chinese version.
The Chin Chin Chinese restaurant was very well designed. The ambience and the upholstery was brilliant. The dim lights in the hall and the china clay pots gave it a very authentic look. The Chilli Paneer and Crispy baby corn was brilliant. We had shots of Tequila with lime and salt. This was my first experience of Tequila shots, I must say they really shoot you for couple of seconds. The funniest part of the Tequila experience was none of us knew the exact procedure of having a Tequila so we asked the steward to give us the steps. He would have thought we are crazy, but that's what we were at that time.
We had some Fried Rice and assorted veggies in manchurian sauce and had a great FRIENDS time together. After the food we clicked some pictures in the cozy lobby of the hotel and made sure all the staff there remember us after we go. (Basically harrassed them to click pictures all over the place).
We never thought coming to an alien city, having 2 hrs in our hand we will have such a good time. The MELA was an out of the world experience and then dinner at The Residency made up our whole experience memorable forever.
We returned to the hotel, relaxed for sometime and then enjoyed chatting and dancing till 4 am in the morning. We were short of time, not short of topics for blabbering. Other friends, our irritating driver, our friends wedding, our lives, our past, our present, our future etc etc we had discussed everything in those 4-5 hours. The quality time we spent with each other would be cherrished forever. Our persistent Aparna did not join us while shaking the legs, but enjoyed the funny steps we showed her. Finally we thought we need to rest and look good for Preeja's wedding the next day.
We put up our best traditional outfits and went to attend Preeja's wedding at 10 am in the morning. The wedding was nothing similar to the North Indian weddings I have attended in the past. This was my first experience of a South Indian wedding, Mallu to be specific!
Preeja carried a plate full of goodies (saree, fruits, flowers etc) and took 3 rounds around the fire and gave that plate to the Pandit. Then the Bride and groom exchanged garlands and boquets. After that he put sindoor in her forehead and tied a necklace. They took blessings of Pandit and by 10.40 am the marriage was over. They started clicking pictures with the relatives and friends in next 5 minutes and by 11 am people started having lunch. I was amazed to see the efficiency of south indian weddings and the simplicity in which they carry out every ritual.