Well, Id saw me back in Delhi, after a long and extremely dusty train-ride through the desert. Beq came to pick me up at the Delhi Cantt. station which turned out to be nowhere close to C.R. Park as I'd been hoping. But it was great to see his silly face after so very long, even though he chose to hide it behind his old Lotto/Reebok jacket from vanity and the cold. (It says Lotto on one side, and if you turn it inside out, you get the Reebok logo. Two-timing designerwear, if you like.) The flat he and Rudder are 'living' in (as opposed to a proper, involved occupation) is rather nice, with a huge verandah and west-facing afternoon windows which capture the welcome warmth of the setting sun. Not that I saw much of it, for after a bath and a change, the two of us popped down to Debo's place, down the road, where we joined her, Sujoy and a friend of Sujoy's for an Id dinner of kebabs and tandoori rotis at Nizamuddin. I hope I'm getting the place names down right. Food was scrumptious, as I'd expected. That was the Friday.
Saturday I spent with Neel'da (Sonali's elder brother) and his family. More specifically, I spent it with his son Ghocha, who was my other reason for visiting Delhi (the primary reason being of course Beq (",) ). We shopped at Nalli, where G and I played games of swing-Ghocha-till-what-passes-for-his-brains-are-thoroughly-addled; we had lunch in Defence Colony, where G and I had fun with the liquid soap in the washroom; and we finally went to their place, also in C. R. Park, where G and I crashed all his toy cars into smithereens playing at Accidents. For dinner Neel'da honoured his son's promise (made just before Sonali and I left in the bus westwards) inviting me to a paratha dinner.
Sunday began with a sumptuous breakfast at the Connaught Place Nirula's, where Debo and I packed away enough food to stun the three males accompanying us (Sujoy, Beq and Rudder). I remember having seconds of everything on the buffet except for the idli and chutney, which I refused to have in North India, and the coffee, of which I had only one cup. There were delicious salamis, cheeses, bacon, hash brown, eggs and other stuff which I don't remember now. She and I rounded it off downstairs with a choco fudge sundae each, which was basically a coupla of scoops of vanilla ice cream with a rich, choco fudge sauce, topped with lots of chopped nuts. Yummy! We walked around C.P. a bit more and then went home. Misha had reached Delhi by then, so I spent the rest of the day catching up with her. It had been ages since I saw her too. In the evening us ladies wandered around the 'M' block market in GK II, dining off Subs and finishing with a Kaluah mousse in the cafe Mocha.
The next day Mish, Beq and I met up with Tua at the 'N' Block market in the same place, which is where the Fab Indias happen to be. I spent a blissful afternoon shopping for Vicky and Dada and rewarded myself with a blue silk top for being such a good girl. The table napkins and coasters are of course utilitarian and therefore not to be thought of as my indulgences (even if they do come in such lovely colours.) B went off to work, the NDTV office being nearby, and us girls bitched over (very bad) tea in a nearby cafe. It being nearly dark by then, Tua was packed off back to JNU and Mish and I did a little household shopping before heading home laden down by a million bags. Later that night I saw M off on her train to Indore. The cabbie was nice, but why are the taxis so frightfully expensive?
Tuesday's highlights included buying Beq a lampshade from Fab India and dining with Neel'da, his wife Monua and meeting Maitra. He's changed some, looks more assertive in a way, and I must say it suits him. I thoroughly recommend the Lakshmi parathas at the C.P. Nizam's, incidentally.
Treated Tua (and Beq) to lunch at Kake da Hotel on Wednesday, even calling up Baba to ask what to order. Food was worth the wait. Spent the afternoon looking for mufflers (the demands of mothers!) all over C.P. Thankfully, we went to Khan Market after a while, where Beq bought himself a dandy new watch.
My last full day in Delhi was spent fruitfully, sightseeing with Beq. We went to Humayun's tomb, which I vaguely remembered from my earlier visit 18 years ago. My favourite place remains Isa Khan's tomb and mosque which are to one's left before one enters the main tomb itself. The gardens were so beautiful, it wasn't hard to feel regal. I might have been a Mughal princess once after all. I could see myself gorgeously attired, spending my days in luxury, playing with my friends in the shrubbery. After spending most of the day there we went to the Lodhi Gardens, picking up sandwiches from Khan Market to picnic there with. Saw more basset hounds in the Gardens than I'd ever seen in my life before. After losing our way for while we finally managed to make it to Debo's office which happens to be right next to the Gardens themselves. Met an extremely cute girl there, but in the way of cute girls, she already has a boyfriend. Too bad for B. Met Debo and Sujoy once more that evening, for a Chinese dinner at Country Oven (?) which makes pretty good chocolate pastry.
Saturday morning found me packing like crazy (and tidying Beq's room knowing that this would be the only cleaning done for goodness knows how long) prior to dashing down to CP yet again, this time for a few last minute purchases. I bought some stamps for Baba, Wenger's chocolates for Vicky and the ideal muffler (at last). Rushing home in a panic I had time for a quick lunch after all, before Beq returned from work and we went to catch my train.
This was my time in Delhi and a great time was had by me. It was followed by a week in Calcutta whose description shall follow when I've got over the exertion of writing this post.