And even that is an understatement.
It was an enthralling weekend ... er ... extended enthralling weekend. We didnt even know it would turn out to be such a showpiece.
When Biwi and I came back from swimming on Thursday morning, we were at Meghdoot having an Uttapam and discussing what we would do tomorrow (it was Biwi's birthday). We both had applied for leave but we were unsure as to what we would end up doing. Dinesh had said that he will also be on leave if there is some plan. Prakash had said that he will not get a leave come what may. Somehow, MUMBAI came up ... :)
No more discussion was needed. We were going into flashback mode. Back in 2004, I had just learned how to drive a car and Biwi was working in Mumbai at that time. I had borrowed money from numerous friends (I was not working then) and managed to go to Mumbai to surprise Biwi on her Birthday. We had gone to Marine Drive to cut the Birthday cake. Yes ... we were going to do that again.
The plan was to leave Pune by 9 pm and reach Marine Drive by midnight. Spend time at Marine Drive. Move on to Taj and Cafe Leopold and round it off with a drive on the Worli-Bandra sea link (it was toll free for another 4 days :P). With this discussed, we left for office on Thursday.
Biwi and I reached home at 8 pm and were ready to leave in another 30 minutes. Prakash came home. We left at 8:45 pm and moved to Chandni Chowk. We met Dinesh over there and left for Mumbai. We all were very hungry and had to stop near Indira Institute to have some food. By the time we left, it was 10:30 pm. The drive till Lonavala was hassle free but fog engulfed the road at Khandala. Visibility was sketchy and driving was extremely slow. To make matters worse, the land slides had caused 2 lanes to be shut. When we started descending the Ghat, fog disappeared but only to be replaced by rain. It was breezy rain till Panvel but when we entered New Mumbai, it started pouring down. Fortunately, the time was such that there were hardly any vehicles on the road. It was scary to watch cars parked on the road itself. All the images of News channels came storming back about the dreadful Mumbai rains. By the time we cleared Chembur and Sion, the rain was getting even more heavier. We reached Marine Drive at 1 am. It was just drizzling now and we thought it was quite apt coz we had to cut the Birthday cake. We all got down and Biwi did the needful.
We enjoyed for around an hour. There was a police van just behind our car which prompted us to get moving. We moved on to the Taj and it was a mixed feeling. We were driving through the lanes of Colaba asking for directions. The next thing we knew was that we were in the Taj driveway. An ensemble of security personnel greeted us. We had no intention of going inside the Taj. We asked them for directions for Cafe Leopold. Since there was a divider in place, we had to go towards the end of the Taj and take a U-turn. It was both fascinating and gruelling to watch to Taj from so close. There were still some dark spots around. Sigh. Towards the corner of our eyes, we could see the Gateway of India in all its splendor. It looks even better on a rainy overcast night without a crowd.
We reached Cafe Leopold but I guess it was too late. The shutters were semi closed and we thought we can give it a miss.
Right then. Onto the Worli-Bandra sea link. We kept asking for directions to reach Kemp's Corner in Worli. We even thought of getting down and visiting Haji Ali but the rain was so heavy that walking down the sea for 15 minutes didnt sound very exciting. We finally reached the sea link and wasnt it awesome? Hats off. It looks like a showpiece. In hindsight, it could be said that it should be looked at during the daytime but nevertheless it was a spectacle at night. Clicking pics was difficult due to the rain. The police didnt allow us to get down from the car and stand on the bridge. After spending around 30 minutes, we moved on.
We got down at Bandra and moved towards Pune via Sion, Chembur and Vashi. The rain was incessant and showed no respite at all. We needed some snacks and tea since I was feeling sleepy while driving. We halted at a hotel just before Lonavala. Biwi took over from me in the car and I dozed off a bit. Then we experienced 10 minutes of mayhem.
Towards Khandala, we were driving from the centre lane and the car stopped all of a sudden. There was a truck around 20 meters behind us and we had to make sure the car didnt retrace. The hand break was not pulled up completely so I pulled it hard. I took the driver's seat but the hand break was not ready to come down. Wet hands made it all the more difficult. There was a mini traffic jam coz of us and the truck behind evaded us by a whisker. Finally, we were able to get the hand break off and moved on. Phew ... !!
We reached Pune at 7 am and went to Good Luck. Had some Naashta and dropped Dinesh at Chandni Chowk. Prakash also went home while Biwi and I hit the sack as soon as we reached home.
The Birthday was spent at my in-laws place. My Saala had bought a new Pulsar 180. We all went to Dagdushet Ganpati to perform pooja. Some shopping ensued and at 8 pm, DAPP were back together at Inox. We saw Ice Age 3. Delightful movie. A must watch. I would advise everyone to catch a night show during some weekend coz families get their kids and its a fun atmosphere in the movie hall listening to giggles and crackles of kids. We came to our place after the movie and Dinesh and Prakash had got some crackers.
We were not sure if 11 pm was the right time for crackers but still we went ahead. After some shots, 2 guys came storming out of a society and started yelling at us. We knew it was our fault and apologized immediately but there guys were not ready to cool down. Finally, we asked them to take any action they desire against us before moving on.
I met Pranay and Devyani at Good Luck on Saturday morning (Biwi was working). It was funny. I had gone to Mumbai the same day that they had come down to Pune. :). We walked till IMDR (for old time's sake :P)and chatted for an hour or so. Then I went to Gaurav's place. Initially, only Gaurav and I were supposed to meet. But we were joined by Charan, Amol and Pushkar. We had a great time chatting away till evening. Amol was the show stealer as always. Kudos sire :P.
Dinesh and Prakash had got an aquarium for Biwi as her Birthday gift. The 2 fish are very cute. We have named them Nemo and Peaches. :P
It was a typical DAPP Saturday night.
Sunday was consumed mostly by sleep and rounded off with the marathon Wimbledon final. IT WAS ALL IN THE EYES ... ANDY BLINKED FIRST ... !!
Cheers to a wonderful weekend ... !!