Morning in the park, sun enters one cheek and shade protects the other, allowed for the view of two giant magpie-likes. A breather before lunch at Hitesh's place. Four days ago it seemed like a barely inhabitable construction site. Yes, sawing, drilling, hammering, grinding of metal. Last night it was a new residence with new sofas, tables and fittings. On the outside, balconies had appeared, a net of stringed lights draping. Inside, new rooms of whiskeys and soups, roti, chicken-drumstick shaped pieces of fish. Everyone is including me, bar the 4 minute in-Hindi chats. Rahul, a work colleague with Hitesh at Crosslinkz and architect Zarren are my chums, I follow both like a puppy dog.
This one came and sat beside me 'til a fly startled my ear, jotter and his/her company.
Two schoolgirls, ages 7 or so, are dancing around me, moments of talk and shyness.
Anyway, oh they're hiding behind a tree wondering whether to approach me.
Hitesh treats the kids at dinner like my favourite uncles. He's ready. As we finish one course and move from that room, the renovators would fill it with throw rugs, glass tables and well it was all a bit Transformers really. Or M.A.S.K. If that's your reference, I don't suppose it is.
My belly is full again. My bum is so firey today I could light cigarettes with it. Which might happen. Smoking is done away from the parents and I become “the holder”, “the dealer” everytime the club wants one. Ciggies are about £1.25 for 20 here. Anyhow, time to find out if all this stuff will type itself.
It seems not. The internet cafe at 'Backside Entry' is refusing me access because I've no passport or ID with me. Another hang-over from the Bush-Shit Regime were making trouble for your neighbour represented prestige.
I'm not feeling so great
I put on lots of weight
-Ookla The Mok, Number One
My name is Sheila
Sheila Tikka Porty
I'm too sexy for yourselves'
Potato heart 'n' tum-my
-Current indian pop tune, perhaps misheard
(i heard this around fifty times during my stay which is more damaging than any form of jet lag you can think of, and some crashes. My mum would probably like it )
Afternoon of 7th
Chikti Chinky in the garden with big sunglasses. Varun is her husband an irritating genie, particularly for his dick habit of referring to me as an Irish military terrorist. Slightly more endearing is his penchant for songs of beastiality in front of elderly woman and his ability as a storyteller which might take two men having a cup of chi and transform it into a Die Hard movie, or vice versa. I've gotten into the habit of getting introductions from others. Everyone is a cop or fed via Varun. Nitin is running around in some spectacular gear. He's Hitesh cousin and owing to a rip in time-space from tequila pounders and whiskey storm hailing from evening, much information is lost. Others are in my head. One was dressed approaching tweed scarved. I call him Biggles. Varun also; he was Sherlock. Nitin dressed alike cleric's frock. Rachit is instantly recognisable from all angles. The younger brother at twice the size, politically not dominating the areas he flits through: to populist response. Or rather, he's great craic. Friendly, helpful – hiding the weight of “responsibility”. Whether it be wrestling the kids, phoning everyone in or popping the head by.
Hitesh is wearing pink. I have a video to prove it.
So I'm meeting 101 Hindi relatives. Anuj is a second cousin with his family from New York. We discuss changes to Chandigarh: it's busier and the economy certainly seems healthier. “Everybody in India works”, Hitesh says. Many of the gathered are those of the new careers (data managers, project analysts), or hold posts as managers or architects. When asked I claim to be “a teacher who does a bit of writing” and sometimes “and drawing”. Which is true. But the reason I'm staying out of the sun is so I'm not asked any questions when I sign on for unemployment benefit. I share a strong work ethic – desire to contribute work for work's sake and to earn – but I should also be claiming salary-level disability benefits (i.e. The law says you are entitled to) If I had such a salary and didn't have to pay £20 for a haircut then I too would have an Indian-style wedding. Friends and family-friends from all points in our lifetimes together, anybody who would get a smile at “I married”, whether met 10, 20 yrs ago, that idea realised. Those informed our environment, grew us by feeding well wishes. As that loveable Tory (or Labour?) dick David Tennant would say, “People are great”
The last episode reunion special party at the end of the universe might just be a mythology. Or an indian wedding.