About an hour ago, at seven this evening, I had a dream. Yes, i do sleep randomly, sometimes.
I am driving into Jaipur, it seems I had a business trip in Delhi and having had some free hours to kill I decided to go to Jaipur. I am driving past St.Xavier School and as I approach Lajpat Marg corner I see there is a bustling market there. In the melee of vegetable and fruit vendors who are parked in front of some shops I spot Baliram, unkempt like he always is, picking the odd vegetable or fruit, chatting with the vendors, walking through, slipping some in his mouth. I motion the driver to stop at the corner and having spotted Baliram and wanting to ask his well-being, I follow him up to a Kirana store.
He seems to be in an argument with the Kirana store owner (at this point I am wondering when did Golcha House turn into a vegetable market and Kirana store). I walk up and ask Baliram how he is doing? he smiles at me and complains that the store owner is not listening to him.
I introduce myself to the owner and tell him that let Baliram pick what he wants and I will pay. In fact I offer to give some extra so that if he needs anything in the future, they should give it to him.
While I am chatting, I turn to spot Puneet behind me. We are happy to see each other and I am surprised to see him in Jaipur. We start chatting and the owner orders some tea. We stroll out onto the terrace. It overlooks a lake ( in the dream, where St.Kabir High School used to be was now a huge lake starting from the St.Xavier's school grounds). There were jagged black rocks and people were swimming in the big waves. Some kids were playing as well. As Puneet and I chatted, I see Baliram just walking around talking to people downstairs. I see a woman running in the rocks. She slips in a puddle and stubs her toe. Puneet and me grimace. We feel her pain.
This time when I turn I see a pregnant Renu, Richa and Appu walking towards us. I am completely overwhelmed at this point, how the heck is everybody in Jaipur at the same time and that too on the terrace next to a kirana store. But we are all happy to see each other. It truly is a very happy moment. The kirana store owner and his brother are happy to see Appu, they seem to know him. I think to myself that all these changes might have happened after I had left Jaipur. The kirana store owners are talking about starting their own detergent brand and are very excited about it. We all smile and share their enthusiasm. They start telling Appu about the old house and how it is now a tall building and painted yellow. Their families come out. They seem to know Richa and Renu.
The kirana store brothers invite us inside into their house. We all move in into a nicely done up, warmly light, living room. It has a hint of modernity and a lot of old furniture pieces. It seems the kirana store guys have been doing well for themselves.
We are all chatting and creating 'khap' and I see Ritu Mami and my mother walking in. Both are dressed like as if they are going for a wedding. Ritu Mami has a pale blue Saree on and some kind of small bead pearl tops set in gold. Mom is dressed in a maroon and dark blue Banarsi Saree with some gold jewelery on. Mom looks at least twenty years younger. I am completely overwhelmed and excited. All of us have smiles on our faces.
I had to wake myself up. It was getting to be a bit too real.