The next day there was more heavy lifting to do as we had to bring back all the furniture and clear up the house. Pri and I had planned a foray to Shopper’s Stop in the morning but we managed to leave only by noon. I tried to be as quick as possible but there was a ton of stuff I needed to get, and despite it all being in the same store, I realised I couldn’t get it all because we had to race back to hand over a package to a cousin who was leaving.

Alas, make-up will have to be bought in Hong Kong. But I did replenish my supply of bras and bought two lovely pairs of shoes in black which I dearly needed. And I got shirts for Benji and a farewell gift for colleague. And we got awesome t-shirts for the hubbies from Loose Ends, including one that says “Rajni – Indian Superhero” for V which he loved.

If that wasn’t enough, after dropping off the package, Pri and I headed back to Hill Road at her request where we proceeded to further shop. Well she bought kid stuff she had held out on, and I bought tops from this very nice fair trade shop called Creative Handicrafts. Then we tried to hit what used to be Globus for the make-up but turns out it’s now Marks and Spenser and the Reliance Trends next door doesn’t have make-up!

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We stopped off for chaat at Elco’s on the way back, and as usual our eyes were bigger than our stomachs because we followed up the plate of sev puri we were supposed to share with a gigantic chole butara.

I had told the cousins we would hang out with them for dinner, but then a gaggle of aunts and uncles came over the dinner and the mother was too tired, so Pri and I promised to take care of everything and once we did we were too knackered and ended up bailing. Instead we stayed up chatting with my mum, who unearthed tonnes of old stories and scandals until Pri left at 2 am.

In the midst of all this my dad arrived from a work trip he had not been able to avoid. I had pledged to spend time with him on Sunday which I did. This was the nicest and most peaceful catch-up I’ve had with my dad in a while. There were people in and out of our house all day but I stayed put and chatted with my dad in the intervals.

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On Sunday evening, I had planned a party night out with the girls and decided to ask the cousins to come too. Curly who has been a star at picking exactly the right places suggested The Big Nasty, so we went there. Everyone brought someone along so it was a big mixed bag. Curly brought her husband who doesn’t always come, MinCat asked two friends, I had the cousins and my other friend asked two of her buddies. I started off with whiskey but quickly switched to these yummilicious fishbowls that Curly ordered. The music was spot on – 80s and 90s with a spot of contemporary – and I haven’t danced like that in ages.

I had asked MinCat to spend the night because I realised that otherwise Holi would prevent us from spending any time together the next day, and we just lazed about the house chatting and having the odd political discussion with my dad.

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When MinCat headed off for her train, dad and I went to the market to buy the supplies I wanted to take back with me. I saw the higgledy piggledy streets with fresh eyes, finding the gentle (because it was Holi and half the shops were closed) chaos extremely quaint. I stocked up what I wanted and headed back home to organise my suitcases. En route I dropped off something at Curly’s house and marvelled at the beautiful bungalows still there on Turner Road, glad that the old Bandra had not entirely disappeared amid the new and yuppie.

Dinner was had at my dad’s brother’s place. They ordered yummy Chinese for me, and we had a lovely chat while my uncle poured me the stiffest peg of whiskey I had had the entire trip. From there to airport, which I reached in all of 15 minutes, thanks to the new-fangled highway.

I was totally knackered by the time my flight took off, but I had had a wonderful time. When I landed in Hong Kong, I felt flat with a hankering for Bombay that I had not had in a long time. This faded fairly quickly as my kids piled onto me (Benji’s first words when he saw me: “Where’s my Toto the Auto?”). A couple of hours later, I was in bed with a high fever which raged for the next day as well requiring me to call in sick. But it as Pri, who had also come down with the flu on her return, said: “It was worth it!”

 

 

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