We are in Chennai. A bustling metropolis. Four women, who have travelled to this city to attend the dance debut of one of our mutual friends’ daughters.
All of us arrive the night before, from different places. The excitement of meeting like this – without husbands, children, work and everyday mundanities is potent.
We are staying with another dear friend. We wake up lazily, indulge in hot cups of aromatic filter coffee, gossip and sip more coffee. We laze about, finding this strange abundance of time so refreshing; where work, chores and children seem unreal. We catch up and discuss our lives.
When the sun hangs directly above our heads, we decide that we are famished. We are food-sisters, if you could call it that. We love food and enjoy eating out. So, the ubiquitous South Indian Thali gets our vote.
The four of us wait to hail autorickshaws for the short ride. We think we may need two autos to accommodate our frames. All the autos seem to be busy. Finally, one stops for us. The auto-driver bravely agrees to take the four of us. We squeeze in, with one of us spilling onto the side bar. Amidst a lot of giggling, we get dropped off at the restaurant.
The server asks us if we want the ‘limited’ or ‘unlimited’ Thali? The vote is unanimous for the Unlimited Thali, meaning you get more of any item you like.
The delectable Vegetarian Thali with its tantalizing aroma, and vibrant colours, is placed before each of us. We tuck into the delicious food, mixing the gravies with rice, crushing the papads, tasting the tangy pickle. The eating process is made more enjoyable as we tease each other, and continue to be amazed at our appetites. We finish all the courses and wait for the dessert of hot gulab jamuns with icecream. Pure bliss!
We walk out into the afternoon, content with ourselves, and living in the moment, our busy lives temporarily erased.
We amble back, to burn off some of those calories. We then laze about discussing our wardrobes and what each is going to wear to the dance debut. We catch a few winks.
After another hot cup of coffee to revive ourselves, we start getting ready. We leave for the function, enjoy it and head back to change into our everyday clothes. Back to airports, train stations and bus stations. Back to the routine.
It is so wonderful to be back home with the children and husband. The trip feels like a dream now.