Decency has a new address
The Lunch Box Journal : Chapter V
“I am telling you because you look decent”
As usual, Aryan was checking out the online shopping websites (also called as window shopping) The idea was to buy something , but he had second thoughts on buying once he saw the price. And suddenly, the whole office bay was filled with the mighty Sherlock theme song. He was so engrossed in checking out the new products which he couldn’t possible afford that he was wary of the surroundings, even though he was at office occupying the center cubicle. He jumped right up in his hair as if a full voltage electric current ran through him. The phone rang just once and it stopped. It was enough to wake anyone who was sleeping, like himself. He knew what that meant. Like a lunch bell that was generally rung at Schools, it had the similar purpose based on the time of the day. Since his colleagues were in another room, it was sort of how they communicated either it was to call for lunch or any other breaks.
It was a quiet afternoon and the crowd at the canteen was less but considerable given that it was the usual time for an early evening coffee break for some of the people. Aryan and his bandwagon made their way into the playground to enjoy some small-scale cricket while they enjoyed their coffee and tea. In the midst of the discussions, when there was a brief silence, the silence before the start of another conversation, Manohar pulled his card, the once in a lifetime card, otherwise as some say his only ticket to end his freedom, in much more simpler terms also called as the Wedding news. After the formal congratulatory exchange, the group decided to go for a trip around the marriage dates so that they could make the full advantage by enjoying the trip as well as attend the wedding. It was a plan, much like the Goa plan, and instead of Goa it was Pondicherry. Each one suggested a better way of executing the plan which would meet everyone’s interests and time frames. Many a plan were made and while some were thrown down the trash bin, and as mentioned much like the annual Goa plans, this also came to an absolute halt. Eventually the day finally came and out of a group of seven, which could have made for a great trip, it trickled down to three people. Probably, if argued the reason for these three people to be willing to go could be related to they being the only bachelors in the group. Since, no one else was coming the three of them carved out a plan for the marriage trip.
The destination was a town quite far away, which involved changing three buses, or if they had taken a car it would be just one. The another hurdle was getting to the destination, which was very tricky, mostly because no one in the group spoke the language where they were going. Luckily, Manohar’s childhood friend was travelling from the same city as the three of them and he said he would help them navigate. Their initial plan was to take a car, which would have been easy, considering the bus changes and the language barrier. Google Maps would come in handy in instances such as these. But like all great plans, it was discarded as it involved long hours of driving. Eventually, the triple treat option was selected.
The following day, around the time they were supposed to meet, it started drizzling. Thankfully, it didn’t rain so much that it would have made it difficult for them to even start their journey. It was a quiet afternoon, with the Bangalore traffic taking over much of the attention. The drops of water still embraced many a people, but it didn’t stop anyone. Akhil, Neil and Aryan decided to meet at a location and board their bus, the first bus of the journey. Aryan arrived first at the stop and was waiting for the others to join. Akhil followed, with his huge truck which had almost everything from clothes to accessories, from toothpaste to body wash, sufficient for the whole country; which was also termed as a backpack, while the trip was for exactly one day. God knew what else he had in his backpack. Technically, Neil was the first to arrive, since he came well before time considering he stays very far, which meant he had to start a bit early but luckily there was less traffic. So, he decided to drown himself in a cup of coffee and some food at the nearest Starbucks. While Aryan and Akhil were just waiting for the time to move on and for the bus to be on time, Neil was enjoying his last sip of coffee. The bus took its own sweet time to reach the boarding point meanwhile Neil had already reached and met with the other two while discussing about office and the truck, err backpack.
The bus finally arrived and the three of them boarded. Akhil went on a selfie spree to mark the beginning of the journey. While he was busy holding the phone in the air and capturing the victory symbols that the other two along with him made, his phone screen changed from camera to someone calling. After explaining how comfortably he reached the bus stop and got a good seat and how well he was and how he was going to have his lunch at the next bus stop, and listening to how he should take care of himself, he went back to taking selfies. No, this someone wasn’t his mom, apparently. They reached their first stop in an hour or so where they had their lunch, conscious of what to eat, keeping in mind that they had a long journey ahead. Soon after, they resumed their journey while someone called for the tenth time who probably might really be worried sick about how Akhil was doing in his not-even-two-hour journey. They decided to get some shut-eye as they had a long journey ahead of them. Akhil and Aryan went into deep slumber sleep while Neil was on the lookout. After a few hours, which passed like a whip, they reached their first pit stop.
Manohar’s school friend, who volunteered to help them to reach the wedding venue, was already waiting at the bus stop for them. He had taken another bus before them. he was a bit worried that he might not be able to make it in time for their party that would happen later that night. Eventually as soon the three of them got down, they boarded their second bus for their second destination. This second place was a pronunciation was so difficult that if any of the three of them were ever to get lost, they couldn’t even tell the destination’s name to catch up. So they just wished that it would never happen.
They boarded a bus and the three of them settled in a three seater, Akhil by the window, Neil by the aisle and Aryan in the middle. Manohar’s buddies were just a seat behind them. The bus started and the estimated time of journey were close to a little over two hours. And none of them were feeling sleepy by this time as they had their share of sleep in the first bus itself. Akhil was one of the enthusiastic guys who couldn’t stay without talking. On the contrary, Aryan was the silent guy, so silent that they might completely forget about him if he were to sit somewhere else other than between them. Akhil kept the journey entertaining with his share of stories, Aryan and Neil listened diligently. At one point of the journey, more people boarded the bus. That was when it became a little interesting.
As Akhil was narrating his stories, they realized that there were some ladies standing beside their seat. But he still continued with his part, while Neil sensed that the ladies were talking about these guys. Then Neil looked up over the seat to find something written in the native language, Manohar’s native language, which Neil didn’t know, only that he could understand a bit of it. There indeed was something written over their seat, which he assumed was “Ladies” seat. According to these ladies, the guy at the window seat was the most talkative one, then came the guy at the aisle who interacted once in a while, while the guy in the middle didn’t even speak a single word. These ladies had their share of fun talking about these three guys. Once they got down at the next stop, Neil turned to the Manohar’s friends to know what the letters over their seat meant. They reciprocated what Neil has earlier assumed that they were sitting in the Ladies seat.
Finally, it was the time for the third bus which was a short journey. After they got down, they were completely famished. So, they were looking for places to eat nearby, meanwhile Manohar’s friends have gone to check for accommodation. While they were searching for a place to eat, the stopped in front of a shop which seemed to have serve something that interested them. But they were contemplating. While they were discussing whether to go there or somewhere else, one of the local guys approached them and advised them that this place doesn’t serve that good of a food. He advised that there is good place down the street where they could get better food. He added to say that, “I am telling you this because you look decent”.
As advised, the three of them reached the shop. Even though it was close to midnight, the shop was almost operational and had quite a lot of items on the menu. All three ordered Dosa. It was a pretty decent Dosa and all three of them were enjoying, perhaps it had something to do with the hunger as well and then Akhil decided that he needed sambaar, which when he asked for was served to him by pouring all over the Dosa. Generally, sambaar is served in a separate cup and people could either use a spoon or dip the main dish(dosa or otherwise) in it. But since it was watery, Akhil had a hard time coming back to his senses as to how to eat the masala infused watery dosa.
The following day saw the three of them waking up at 4 AM since it was an early marriage as they were head strong to attend it, even though the groom advised them to attend the reception which would be followed by the marriage and it will be not as early as the marriage. Even though Akhil’s bag had almost everything, like that huge compartmentalized truck, he still forgot to bring one important thing : Toothpaste. They got ready pretty fast, Neil and Aryan. Akhil took his sweet time and since he was the first, other’s didn’t notice since they were still sleeping at that time. A bus took them to a temple. The marriage went great, followed by breakfast, then the reception. But the one great highlight of the marriage was the customary rememberance gift by the bride and the groom. All the guests were given a sapling. Since, the three fellows had a long journey ahead, he couldn’t take one. Slowly afterwards, they started back to their routine life of office.
( To be continued… )
If it interests you, you could find the other parts here :