Marigold & Marriott
As the driver got half way, he eneded his French call and he texted Bally and asked " Where is the event?'"
"Congrats Man" popped in
He stared at it expressionlessly for a minute and looked out the window...
After 20 or so minutes a text appeared with an address of some "Ram Nagar" area with a wink emoticon "if you want to ride a drone" Bally said
"??" R&B texted
"From Paris" Bally said
OH? So II had not only lied to her parents and Shravu she had also lied to Bally about him being in Paris
He turned his phone face down and stared out the window as if looking at the text would make him ignite it on fire or something
She was worse than Manny and him put together... rebellious and wild... Manny never lied...ermm.. neither did he...
Brat! he thought...
Around 2 ish, (breaking a few speed limits along the way) the driver took a left on Heerawala...
He had called Jaipur Marriott not too far from the address Bally gave and had a reservation...
he didnt care for historical properties, they smelled old and musty to him
The neighbor hood looked old and stately... the homes looked like "havelis" of sort... the driver and him frequently asked for directions after he entered the area
They finally found the house, a corner lot of a dead end street, more like a gali... there were more than one Ram Nagar Main Rod much to his irritation
There wasa giant shamiana outside a property and many Tata Sumos were parked... lights strung every where, men sat around in chairs at this hour chatting and dozing... it was a COLD night
He pulled his J Crew hoodie out from the back and wore it over his navy striped full sleeve tee
The fibre caught on his stubble and rasped... he had shaved in the morning... he needed another one, in... 4 days..
The driver offered to bring Baldev, he smiled and declined...
He got off and walked towards the group of men sitting by twin open rusty gates "Baldev Gupta?" he asked
They acted like they had no idea causing him to get more irate, until one man reluctantly got up and went in
Baldev walked out in shock NOT EXPECTING HIM THERE, he was beyond shocked actually
"Arey come in boss"
"Yeh Dilli mein hamare saath kaam karte hain, andar kyon nahi bulaya?' he was irritated too
The men smiled apologetically..., a couple actually saying sorry, and greeting him
BallY: arey tum to Paris they na yaar?'
BallY: tumhe yaar keh sakta hoon na, outside Spectrum
R&B smiled and nodded
"Oh right main bhool gaya YOU are the silent one, dynamite to andar so rahi hai, usko cold hai"
There were people every where... men women children.. sleeping on cots and beds on floors, the house was like a haveli... old and rich... with original art on some ceiling
"Yeh Saurabh ke in laws ka ghar hai" bally said
"Who Saurabh?" R&B asked softly as a woman stirred
"Mera saala... uska sasuraal hai"
UNBELIEVABLE! R&B thought, she had gone of to her boss's wife's brother's in laws?
"Oh" he said instead
Bally took him through two windy corridors
"I am sorry if I woke you"
"Arey Saurabh Iyer ka baap hai baaton mein woh jabse hum aaye hain laga hai India ki cricket history chronicle kar rahe hain main aur USKE saale" Bally laughed
He approached a partially shut room... there were KIDS awake inside jumping on and of on and off a bed, a 70+ year old lay in bed what looked like smaller than a queen
Two younger women had ghunghat/veil on their heads, they dragged it fully down over their heads upon seeing Bally
"Woh dilli ki hamari dost?" he asked looked at the person covered head to toe
"Woh to us teesre kamre mein hain shaayad... "Yeh kaun hai" the older woman asked
"Uske mangetar" Bally said and shook his head " They all want your history now"
R&B was cringing... he had never been inside a home so crowded before it smelled like fried
food and incense and marigold... it was like walking into a Hollywood "Indy film" set
Bally knew where he was going...
He went to the third door ACROSS from where he was told not to the one
along the hall... and it was fully open, a husband and wife sat chatting, wife on the bed the husband in a chair two kids slept on cots by the wall, the woman pulled her veil all the way down
"Woh Dilli se hamare saath aayi na?'
"Woh lambi ladki jiski aankhen badi hain?' the man asked
"Ek hi aayi thi " Bally joked
"Woh wahan" he said
R&B FINALLY got to SEE HER
She was curled up under random blankets... bright colored satin edged, poor quality with huge geometric prints and flowers in the most hideous color combinations
"Yeh unke ermm husband hain"
Immediately the man stood up "Haan haan" the woman did too
"Bache so rahe hain" she said
"Arey nahi.. yeh soyenge ab"
"No Baldev, I have a place" R7B said walking over to her side
"Arey aise kaise chalega boss, aur kambal aa jaata hai"
"Oh no, no worries I have a reservation at Marriott... umm.. can I take her with me?'
"Bilkul nahi" he said sternly
And then slowly smiled and nodded..."uska bag wahin hai" he turned and saw a pink reebok tote with a
scarf tied to the shoulder strap...
her hair was undone and splayed all over the pillow... as if her scarf and hair were having a fight... far far away from each other
"Subah milte hain boss? Chai bhejoon?'
"No no I am good thanks" shy
"Bola karo boss... YEH hai ki chup nahi hoti" Bally shook his head
"Birthday sunday ko hai... kal? yanni aaj koi agenda nahi hai yeh ghoomna chahti thi... saara din.. is cold ko lekar...(shaking head)
subah 6 baje nashta hai Rajasthani style agar nahi aaye to paani mein bhigo bhigoke maaroonga" Bally warned
He bent down by the bed on his toes, crouching...
"she has a really bad cold, doctor isne mana kar diya so Saurabh ne crocin aur kuch aur diya"
"thanks" said R&B
"arey kya baat kar rahe ho, Iyer is a star dude" Bally left
He ogled at his sleeping Iyer for a few minutes, she sneezed and turned.. and opened her eyes startled at the image...
"WHATEVER!!" she muttered...
Going to turn... telling herself "Cold meds or no cold meds YOU SEE HIM EVERY WHERE DI II, GET OVER IT."
She turned the other way, and he gently turned her to her back sitting down on her bed...
She opened her eyes
"TUMMM?' she shrieked, reaching for the box of tissues as she sneezed hard...sitting up in shock... "How many men are you engaged to?" he asked (OFCOURSE ITS "ME" tone) reaching for it before she did... "None" she said agonized... leaning back