It is said that the bond of friendship formed in the childhood remains strong till the very end. I can vouch this for all my childhood friends. We may not meet often or even speak over phone but in our heart we know that one call from anyone of us and all will come together. The reason could be that there is no give-n-take in that friendship; it is simple fun n frolic among the Langotias. And what could be better if that camaraderie can be relived once again, even if briefly for just one evening.
My friend Indrajit aka Indro aka Panto was due to come to India on Holiday from Baghdad where he works and his transit stop was Delhi, so we decided to have a get together, but he was not certain about his plans with regard to his stay in Delhi. By the time his confirmation came, it was too late to gather all the classmates but we did try to rope in as many as possible. Those who could not make it felt upset and some of them squarely blamed me and another friend, Satyabrat as we are the ones that usually take up the responsibility of such gatherings. Anyways, we decided to have another shot at arranging a G2G (short for get together) when Indro returns to Delhi on way back to Baghdad. The day was Saturday 22 July 2017.
Information of the proposed G2G were decimated to all friends well in advance through WhatsApp broadcast and all were requested to keep that evening free to meet up friends. We mentioned about Indro being our chief guest but kept a surprise for many in the group. Our friend Debabrata aka Jallu, was coming too from Siliguri just meet Indro and the rest of the gang. It was a gesture on his part that has touched our hearts in way that cannot be expressed in words.
Satya and I got into the act of coordinating with all the langotias and received confirmation from almost all who were in Delhi. It was decided to have the G2G at Satya’s basement den that is spacious enough to accommodate 25-30 people easily. I must make a special mention of few who managed their schedules such a way to ensure their presence – Pulak, came from J&K, Alok, came back from Gujarat and Ashish (aka Hathi but he longer resembles like one) postponed his travel to Bhutan. The whole preparation to this G2G was akin to the prep that Bongs do every year for Durga Puja, lot of excitement and discussions at every point to make the program flawless. Formed small teams to take care of certain events or arrangement, complete teamwork to ensure the clock doesn’t stop.
The guys who made it that day are – Ramashish (Roma or Chhoton), Amitava (Babua), Suranjan (SuroKhuro), Pranab (Lasoda), Gautam (Gotte), Pulak (Pulki), Taposh (Topshe), Utpal (UD), Pronob (Ponga), Manojit (Gora), Pralay (Pelu), Ashish (Hati), Alok (Aloo), Indrajit (Panto), Debabrata (Jallu), Satyabrata (Satya) and myself (Aro).
We decided to make it contributory so that it does not pinch any one in particular. So a detailed list of food and drinks were decided and each one was asked to bring something or the other. The menu at the end became quite exhaustive – the snacks included Fish Orly, Mutton Chop, Chicken Cutlet, Chicken Cheese Balls, Egg Devil, Boiled Egg, Mochar Chop (Banana Flower Cutlet); Mutton Biriyani and Chicken Korma for main course with Russian Salad, followed by Mishti Doi and Rosogolla as dessert. There was a surprise sweet from Jallu which was swallowed up the moment it was opened. There were enough to drink from soft beverages to beer to whiskey with no holds bar as long as one can stand on his own leg!!!
It was decided that I will pick up Indro from his hotel and then we both will pick up Jallu from the airport. There was some anxious moment when we received message from Jallu that his flight might be delayed by almost 30 minutes as the flight from Delhi hasn’t taken off on schedule. However, this turned out to be a false alarm as his flight did took off on time for Delhi. On the contrary, Indro’s flight hovered over Delhi due to congestion at IGI and he landed almost 45 minutes behind schedule. Anyways, we had spoken in the morning and fixed 5:30 to 5:45 pm as rendezvous time at IBIS Hotel in Aerocity. I picked him up exactly at 5:45 pm and we proceeded towards Terminal 1 of IGIA where Jallu is expected. We were talking about his holidays and what all he did back home in Ranchi and in the process took a wrong turn that took us 2km further before we could manage a U-turn for T-1. When we were approaching the terminal, Jallu called up to inform that he has just landed and I gave him instructions where to meet us so that we do not waste time in unnecessary parking. As I had predicted, we picked up Jallu at 6:40 pm and proceeded straight to Satya’s home in C R Park. Although, I used inside roads to avoid traffic as much as possible still it took almost an hour to reach C R Park and then another 15-20 minutes to find a parking spot.
Most of the guys had reached by then, so with the arrival of the CHIEF GUESTS – Indro & Jallu, the party started. Jallu met the others (Indro & I have met him in the previous years at Siliguri and Kolkata) after a gap of 37 years & 4 months to be precise. For a good decade or two we had lost touch and only with advent of Facebook, we were able get connected once again. Pralay or Pelu was missing as he got stuck in heavy downpour and reached by 9 pm. He got his audio equipment for karaoke singing and we realized we never knew his talent in this sphere. Indro had to catch his flight at 3:45 am so left with Lasoda around midnight but the rest carried on till around 1 am. The pictures narrate the evening more accurately than any words that I spin here, so let’s explore….
Incidentally, Deepika and I were delighted to host Jallu at our home for his overnight stay. Next morning Deepika gave him options of Masala Dosa, Aloo Parantha or Puri Aloo for breakfast and he decided on Aloo Parantha (which I knew would his choice and had told Deepika well before). After a leisurely breakfast around 11 am we decided to leave for the airport to be on time for his 1:10 pm flight back to Siliguri. As we were nearing the airport, suddenly Jallu started patting his pockets and I instantly knew he had forgotten something at home, may be his wallet or mobile phone. It turned out to be his mobile phone. The time on the car clock said 11:23 am and I started calculating how much time will it take to go back home and make the return to airport and realized it would be cutting to short for him to catch the flight. I called up Deepika and asked her to bring the mobile at IIT campus gate where we will meet her. We picked up the phone from her at 11:45 am and then I used my Delhiwala driving skill to drop Jallu at T1 Departure 12:05 pm a flat 20 minutes. I must tell you here that Jallu had forgotten his reading glass at Siliguri while coming and realized only when he was onboard the aircraft!!
The Sunday evening felt like the day-after the Dashami (of Durga Puja), when all celebration ends and one had to wait for a year to start again. The only difference is we do not know we will organize the next G2G and in what scale?