Apparently, the annual alumni meet is supposed to shake the world. Yes, such are the delusions prevalent in my alma matter to date. At least, knowing it as I do, the alma matter could care a rat's ass but the well-placed alumni feel this is an occasion to pontificate at length and have panel discussions and other such jazz, and, at the end, breathe a collective sigh of contentment and exclaim on how effective and wonderful and wondrous and so on the whole thing was. 3000 people attended! Nine parallel tracks of discussions! Unbelievable number of ideas were generated! Such like. ludwig of course has it absolutely right when he calls it the wtf of the century.
I strolled in, monster in hand, and found this bloody ten foot board of small print indicating the various activities one could indulge in. The only relevant one was conveniently kept off the board of course (i.e. could not proclaim to the world that among our other important traits, as a unit, we are alcoholics). My eyes promptly glazed over. The monster took this opportunity to start scratching in the mud. Really. I mean you could have knocked me down with a feather. Never known her to do such things. Mind you, I had books in my back-pack, which I of course was not going to release as yet. She scratched in various colours of mud, and since thankfully her father was away some where, I just let her, only having palpitations when she got too close to the main road as she was playing.
Several frantic messages later I was joined by our girl gang and their paraphernalia. I vetoed all suggestions of attending sessions, made all of them hang out in the coffee area, encouraged the children to follow my daughter as she jumped up and down some yellow bean bags in the exhibition area, and happily drank some juice that one of the kindly husbands bought for all of us. Then was lunch. Which was a nasty combination of unpalatable things. I sat next to a three year old budding IPS officer from Kadapa, and marvelled at his adventurousness in sampling all the shady things that were included in our box of food. We then loped slowly over to our hostel to hang out. It was really beautiful. We all felt really nostalgic, but in a happy sort of way. We talked schools and kids, and of course, all the vague things that we remembered from those long ago days when we queued up there to brush our teeth.
The kids were awesome. I could not play much with them because really, Chennai was too hot for human consumption (even for a semi-Mumbaiite). It was a pleasant surprise to find the husbands so cool and accomodating of our madness. Of course I also met a lot of my husband's friends many of whose names I promptly forgot. Plus I had a long-ish run (the idea was to run 20 k but I chickened out after 8 k thanks to foot); an excellent game of basketball (which improved my foot's condition somehow :-)), both on campus, and another short but fast run of about 6 k outside the campus. Met with our Californian friends (who have returned home to roost in Chennai), visited the most beautiful campus of The School (just too awesome), had an official meeting (where I got immensely pained because, get this, some one slimed into the office as I was having my meeting and refused to leave, plus he kept talking, idiot, I wish sometimes that I was blunter than I am), drank some poison called Kalyani Black Label (and regretted it immensely; give me my Kingfisher any day), showed off my hostel room (from the outside) to the monster, and of course, mom-daughter used the hostel loos (and lived to tell the tale).
One afternoon, while everyone was busy networking and whatever the shit they were doing, a bunch of us sat our asses down on some chairs in our usual coffee shop place. Nothing has changed there. He was even using the same nasty paper plates - the super flimsy ones that make Maggi Noodles spill out ignominously. People came and went. We just could not get up. Several suggestions were made. Lets do this. That. Or the other. But inertia ruled. The monster, thankfully, found full occupation in an emaciated kitten and its mother (who seemed to be playing hide and seek with each other). I gossiped a bit with my girl friend. Mainly things like who we are fatter than and who we are not fatter than. You know, the usual. Another of the girls came over. She tried to compare her beer belly with one of the guys. Yeah, while being dressed very primly in a major salwar suit. Totally crazy.
Finally since we were staying with friends and they had to go back to get their child, we forced ourselves to leave. But slowly. And having planned to meet a few more people over dinner that night. I got a lot of rest the next day, and although I did not even attend anything at all the entire time, it was all very awesome and completely jam packed. It was really nice to see all the familiar faces and compare notes about children. And the children themselves were all so absolutely darling. Unlike this whiny boy who was on the flight with me just now and who kept going 'DADDY DADDY' in the world's most irritating voice. Grr.
Back at the helm, as it were, damn tired and eyes bugging out though. Its too damn hot ya. Meanwhile the husband has come up with three important points to consider regarding Chennai:
1. Booze is not to be had by ringing up at Two-Five-Seven-Zero-One-One-One-Nine. No sir.
2. The weather. Seriously. Should borrow some Bangalore into the city (minus the LPG fumes).
3. Gas Cylinders (As if the man cares about this, really, but he objects. They offend his sensitive eye).
And has dismissed my points such as (a) Salwar Kameezes (help!) (b) People waking up and talking loudly at 5 am (c) Unnecessary traffic and fly-over type situations.