Farewell to Miss Pushpa!
I remember in school (before they revised the syllabus) there used to be this poem called Farewell to Miss Pushpa – it was about a lady leaving and how several people wish her well and say bye, but each of em would say something funny. Last night was like that – a potentially sad farewell turned hilarious!
(This is absolutely true. Cross my heart!)
The last of my school buddies left last night to Iowa. We were (naturally) going to spend the night in her house until it was time to go to the airport. B and I got there by 730, and then got a call from S saying she was done with work, so we went to IIT to pick her up.
We agreed to meet at Gajendra circle. Got there at the agreed time, and sure enough, there was S standing with the others from her office. One of her companions was a firang. Mind you, he looked ordinary enough – a mild chap, with glasses gleaming intelligently. In fact as soon as I saw him I was reminded of Rupert Baxter – he gave the impression of being the sort around whom you don’t kid too much or make small talk before.
We drove out of IIT and asked where we could drop the firang off. The man said he would take a rick and get to his hotel. B, being the nice dope he is, insisted on dropping him. So we asked for the name of the hotel….. Believe it or not, the guy didn’t know!
I turned around in my seat and stared at him. “How were you planning to get to the hotel by yourself? dyou know the name of the area?”. Our man (Rupert Baxter the second) looks at me sheepishly and says, “well you know, I know the directions to the place, so I was planning on telling the rick how to get there?” B nodded understandingly and smiled in the rear mirror and said, “so where do I go?”
RB II said. “you know, now that were actually outside the Eye-Eye-Tee, im finding it kinda hard.. im not quite sure…”. I blinked in disbelief. Not only does the man not know what his hotel’s called or where it is, he doesn’t even remember the route he came by! This seemed very promising…
And sure enough, from there started the most bizarre evening ive had in a long time. Every wild idea I got that I thought would help us locate his hotel, I would spin around and ask him questions for. “Dyou remember if it was an Indian name or a western name?” “What was the colour of the name board?” “ Did you get a look at the logo? Are you carrying a tissue or a matchbox from there?” The CBI tactics revealed that
- He had paid 80 bucks to get from his hotel to iit. (which was saying nothing cos the auto guy may have well made a sucker of him)
- The auto driver told him it was a distance of 5 kms (ditto)
- There was a ramp leading to the main road –“kinda steep, you know?” (!!)
We racked our brains. Where the hell could this be! Then ti-ding! The picture of Ramada Inn popped into my head - “A steep ramp? Was there a fountain as well?” And he says yes. We zipped excitedly to Ramada Inn. Five minutes away from there, he added that the accommodation wasn’t very expensive, only around 600 bucks a night. Ahem. For that much, Ramada Inn probably would not let you sleep even in the lobby!… but what better bet did we have? We went there anyway, and he took one look at the place and rejected it. So much for the bright spark. We drove back again, discussing possibilities and tossing ideas.
By this time, I was sort of losing my temper… what sort of a dingbat goes about dumping his stuff in a hotel he doesn’t bother finding out the name, location or address of?! Sheesh. B and S were remarkably calm, with B insisting that we’d find the hotel before going on with our plans. Me, I was torn between irritation and a desire to burst out laughing.
As uncharitable thoughts flitted in my head, we reached Thiruvika bridge. RB II took a look at the Adyar flyover, pointed and exclaimed with great excitement that this was the kind of really steep ramp that hed come by. I looked at B speechlessly “ramp? This dudes from a first world country and he doesn’t know a flyover from a ramp?” B carefully refrained from comment, probably knowing that I was mighty close to voicing my acid thoughts. Teetering on the brink of losing my temper I decided, what the hell, I might as well enjoy myself. I turned around and sweetly told RB II that maybe he should start chain smoking or something, so at least the next time he’d have a matchbox on him. S, sitting behind me gave a small choke as she hastily fudged a laugh into a cough.
Further investigations revealed that the night guards at IIT had recommended the place, and that the mutt had left his passport at the hotel, so he simply had to find the hotel since couldn’t even check into another place for the night without it. B suggested that we just go back and ask the IIT guards. Helpful mood that I was in by then, I flippantly suggested that the shift may have changed (:d)
We sped to IIT. Now, of the four of us, I was the only one who could speak fluent tamil. So I went for a general pow-wow with the guards at the entrance. I don’t blame em one bit – they listened to my story and looked at me like I was an escaped lunatic. I was also starting to giggle during my narration, but I hastily killed all signs of amusement when the security peered at me suspiciously to see if I was drunk or something. When he decided I was in earnest, he started being properly Official. He asked about each of the occupants of the car, our ancestry, our life plans, the greatest mystery of the universe and so on. I finally tore myself away from him to return to a car sprouting 3 hopeful faces asking the same question “Pah you took so long! Did you find out?”
So finally RB II insisted that we carry on and that he’d find his way. We dropped our hero at the exit gate, put him in an auto and burst into conversation. After I had given them my roaring estimate of his intelligence, S meekly said that he was from this really big college (this used to be Feynman land if you please..) – had been working there for the last 5 years. Good grief! The man was infinitely better educated than I was…so much for schooling. (and so much for the deceptive Rupert Baxterish image!)
Anyway. We went to our friends house, chatted, sped to the airport, had a long and hilarious farewell session. And as we passed IIT, each time we’d stop all conversation and peep out of the window looking to spot RB II hunting for his mysterious hotel! He still hasn’t called S today…
Im so sure even after he is gone I shall generally expect to see a black shirted blue jeans-ed figure swooping among the trees looking for the lost hotel! Who knows…. this could become a tourist attraction (pun unintended)! :d
Exasperating as he was last night, I now feel rather grateful to RB II – he provided an absolutely memorable and amusing angle to an evening which could have otherwise been rather depressing!
Ps: were still guessing which hotel it could have been…Our last bet was Woodlands. So what’s your brainwave eh? :)
Labels: my life