A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.
[Me on the left, Shro on the right, travel plans on the table... This is a file pic. Not the thumbs-down Mocha.]
Last evening was fun.
There was my dearest Shro at the other end of the line confirming our rendezvous at Mocha, Lavelle Road. We hadn't been there as yet and were eager to scope out the place, sample the products and rate it on a scale of 1 to 10. I had heard on good authority [girlfriends' gossip] that the crowd at Mocha was the expected cringe-inducing young, flaky, rich kids set who lived on and around Lavelle Road, who either carried wadfuls of thousand rupee notes or Daddy's Platinum Credit Card(s). Back when I was in school/college and planned to meet up with friends, we used to behave in a dignified manner and save and scrounge and have one-by-two coffees at the local darshini. Once a month. Maybe. Bah. The world is going to the dogs. French poodles to be precise.
Anyway, that is neither here nor there.
Shro asked what the crowd would be like and I used that very intelligent and informative and all-encompassing Bengali adjective: 'Naekaa'.
She gulped and said bravely, "Let's do it."
I reached first and immediately got the once-over from what collectively looked like the offspring of the top 2% of Bangalore's über -rich industrialists/biz tycoons/CEOs/steel/liquor magnates set. There were also other assorted fauna of the designer/artsy/fashion/Page 3 genre and the essential firang patron. My eyes couldn't take too much of this for very long and I thanked the Lord for giving me the good sense in having brought along a Wodehouse to occupy myself with. [It was Big Money, which is one of the last few of his works I hadn't yet read.]
After a while, I can't say how long, but my aching cheeks tell me I must have been grinning at the pages for at least 15 minutes, Shro arrived. She plonked herself down. We exchanged pleasantries. We did not make small talk. We immediately started discussing travel plans. Ours.
You see, some time last month, Shro and I had decided that we really had to go see Bangkok. It was essential to our existence and emotional well-being. It was imperative. It was the opportune moment etc. We had all but finalised our Thai dreams (conceptually) when a snag manifested itself in the form of our inability to actually procure the air tickets at a suitable date. Meaning, try as we might, tickets were acting fussy and not falling in with our demands and before we knew it, the Bangkok trip was slipping out of our fingers. [This is the backdrop.]
So you see, there was nothing much to discuss except the quiet death of a possibly very exciting exotic escapade which would now never see the light of the day.
Now some time ago, Shro and I had also discussed visiting Bombay for larks. This thought suddenly reemerged from the depths as we tucked into the substandard fare Mocha provided us. [More on this later.] I looked at Shro. Shro looked at me. There was a strange gleam in both our pairs of eyes, hers more noticeable because she has those big-ass Bengali gogglers. On the spur of the moment we decided that Bangkok could happen some other time, Bombay was totally on.
Together: Why the hell not!
And so, in this surreal setting with naekaa spoilt-brats and bad food, it was decided that the two of us are indeed headed Mumbai-wards. We shrieked unbecomingly and giggled and when two young ladies do that, you know the deal is sealed.
I made a few strategic phone calls to friends positioned in various parts of Mumbai to inform them of said impulsive plan and to ascertain whether they would be in town or not. (I am happy to say they will be.) Shro informed her parentals. We were set.
Since coming home from the 'cafe', I have been scouring the internet and have confirmed my going-to ticket. Return is open-ended. Shro is off to Goa and she'll join me in Mumbai over the weekend. I want to bus/train some part of the journey because I haven't done that in a long time and I like road travel. Especially when I'm alone. With my notebook.
Beware fellow passengers.
I can't wait to meet my mad Shobs after whose departure from Bangalore, the humour content in my life has gone down by 53%. Here she is in one of her memorable moments:
We plan to do many silly things, not the least of which is laugh our guts out. Shobs doll has kindly offered her digs for me to crash in. Yay, what fun. Or, as Rosesh from Sarabhai vs Sarabhai says, "Yay, whoopeee!" [That, by the way, is the funniest show ever.]
There are many other insane creatures I will be meeting after a very long time. Bones and Sowmya. The mad Mits Dee. I am so kicked about this.
Postscript: Based on last evening, Mocha's ratings are 1.5 out of 10. Bad coffee for me [Mocha-Java blend], insipid cold coffee for Shro [can make better at home] and terrible cheese sauce with French fries in an affected dish called Poutaine [but pronounced Foo-Tayn]. The cheese sauce tasted like powdery maida in milk with added salt and a hint of cheesy something. Oh, wait, that's exactly what it was. Blech. The fries on their ownsome were good but even my baby niece can make good French fries. I give them a 1.5 for variety on the menu and okay pricing.
This is obviously a very bad first impression. I suppose I'll have to go again and give Mocha another try. It comes with the heavy baggage of a good rep and where do you get that unless you earn it?