close to 11, i clear out of a meeting (my head hurts) and i head to a friend's farewell. the bash is over and a man in a bowtie is clearing up the leftover curry and the plates.
beer says my friend. i disagree and we go back up to the 8th floor to get my bag (for no apparent reason) and walk back downstairs becuase i'm afraid of the lift.
downstairs, past a fence, a man is frying eggs on his cart and three men are standing by. a rickshaw is parked in the foreground. drunk, my friend starts crying out to the cold suburban wind demanding a negotiation. one of the men at the cart responds and quotes forty. in a frenzy of post mortem jubilation, my friend agrees and we board the rickshaw.
five minutes past, at wondering why the fuck we aren't moving and where the rickshawpuller is, we turn around and see the man being pummeled by one of the other men at the cart. the other has brutally kicked him at his knee and has taken him down. now he is is kicking at his throat. a man is watching eating bread with devilled eggs. another is frying another egg.
in a whisper, my friend is in the situation. he pushes the man aside and slaps the other in an effort to discipline him. he slaps him again.
i sit back and enjoy my friend's efforts in the direction. when, in what is clearly an unexpected turn, the man gathers forth all the simmering hatred of native gurgaon at the intrusive metropolis and shoves my friend back. i'm quick to be on my feet.
after a furter altercation, more verbal than physical, the man grabs my friend by the muffler. the rickshaw puller disappears to go beckon a security guard. the other man, his snack over, is saying placatory things in a language we don't understand. the vendor is standing idly by his frying pan.
i intervene. i believe i have a gift for sorting such matters. maybe i am an angel in human guise sent down from the heavens to dispatch dispute.
the rickshawman is back. he has a security guard with him. the security guard clay like stands still with an air of no authority at all. the aggressor, meanwhile is attempting to manually elevate a large boulder of no insignificant tonnage with the express intention of putting it on my accomplice with violent force.
quick, i say, let's escape back to the building.
no, says my friend, let's sit on the rickshaw instead.
we immediately sit on the rickshaw and the driver boards as well, pushing the rickshaw forward in a frenzied but slow manner.
meanwhile, the man with the rock is moving as fast as he can with the boulder behind us, this being a 3.25 or so mph speed on account of the additional weight. he is also letting out some bloodthirsty screams in the process.
we don't look back.
his screams follow the chi curve of getting louder and then receding into quietness. onward ho, we stop at a cigarette shop and my friend acquires four classic milds at the price of three.
everyone in gurgaon is drunk after 11, he says.
we stop before a mall. no one has change. i give the rickshaw puller a fifty note expecting him to demand change from his brethren. in response, he boards a fat well to do looking family and departs at mach speed.
we sit at buzz where they play bollywood loud on imported bose speakers. my friend orders red bull for me and rum for himself. i am infatuated by a girl who has large hoop like earrings, a black top with a pink and a red flower and looks like the bastard love child of carmen electra, bruce lee and robert downey jr.
on our way back, we find an auto who quotes hundred. drunk, my friend agrees. he drops us back at our office.
as he leaves, suddenly, we see the enemy leap out of the darkness and throw his boulder and the auto, instantly smashing and upturning it. we see him pull the bloodied mess that is the autowallah and start pulping him with a fierce intensity.
we hurry into our building, thinking it prudent not to intervene.
the next morning i dream of my school. i'm back there and meeting all my juniors. we're preparing for a party in the sunlit auditorium that was spence hall.