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Another weekend goes by and what a weekend it was. I reckon I have enough alcohol in me to open a distillery. The arrival of monsoon has put everybody in a party mood. That coupled with the fact that three of my friends had their birthdays on June 28 meant three straight drinking sessions. Of course, everyone knew everyone so the common sensical thing to do would have been to combine the three occasions, right. Except it never occurred to anyone. Or if it did, it was quickly snuffed out.

So it began on Friday evening. And went on till six in the morning. At which time we all decided we had to drive down to Khandala. At which point I stepped in and said, how stupid is that? If we’re going to drive, we should going to Chiplun. Or Goa. Khandala over the weekend, especially when the monsoon had just arrived, is full of Bombayites.

But then everybody remembered they had to go to a brunch party later on. So it was time to stumble back home, catch a nap, shower and totter off to the other party. At the other party, since everybody had been partying the night before, people were feeling a little sluggish. Then some bright spark, I’m not sure who and I think it may have been me, suggested doing shots to perk everyone up. So in the middle of the afternoon, falsely lulled into complacency by the near-black skies outside, out came the tequila. After all, it’s not the time of day that matters, right? It’s the quality of light outside.

I don’t remember what happened afterwards but I think at six in the evening I somehow managed to crawl out of the pub and into an auto. I don’t remember coming back home and I think I may have figured out that there was no point in going home for just a half hour and then crawling out again. So I may have directed the auto rickshaw to go on straight to the other venue.  

The last party was on Sunday afternoon and that should have been it. Except, I figured, it was stupid to start nursing a hangover from as early as Sunday evening so I came home and drank some more. After all, lohe ko loha kaatta hai.

As of today, I am officially off alcohol. Like forever. But, wait a minute, what’s that? My phone’s ringing. My sister’s in-laws are here and another party beckons. Ah well, what’s another day in the larger scheme of things?

On the subject of hangover, I also managed to squeeze out the film, The Hangover. It’s about a bunch of guys who wake after a night of hard partying with no memory of what happened the night before. It’s hilarious. Go watch it.

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Day before yesterday, I had a group of friends over for dinner. It was small gathering comprising friends from media and finance. Over drinks, the conversation veered off towards politics, economics and the general condition of the Indian state. And the party, which began on a cheery note, soon turned solemn.

It was alarming to hear such depression in their voices when just eight months ago we were clinking our glasses in good cheer with celebratory cries of, “Here’s to us being a trillion dollar economy.”

One in particular (let’s call him A), a banker, had had depressing meetings with his clients. The fortunate ones among them were revising their targets downwards and the unfortunate ones were being forced to take more drastic measures. Like temporarily shutting down their plants. “I think we should all prepare to lose our jobs,” he said, gulping is drink in one straight draught and gazing longingly out of my sixth floor window. I hastened to shut the window. He had imbibed half a bottle of my finest single malt.

Soon others of his ilk joined him by the window and indulge in the gloom talk. “And we’re not even talking about the BPO sector. Just imagine what happens when they lose their jobs.” “Real Estate is the worst hit. I think some developers are going to hang themselves next year – not the big guys, the smaller ones.” How comforting. “And retail, the marquee name for the India story, most supermarkets and malls have huge outstandings. Their vendors have stopped supplying them.”

The party was starting to resemble a wake. Soon everyone was singing drunken dirges of commodities, equities, inflation, currency and interest rates. The window had been reopened (it had gotten awfully hot with everybody there) and they all joined A in looking speculatively out of the window.

“Media!” I chipped in, desperate for some good cheer. “Media is fine, isn’t it, F? Everyone knows media is depression proof. Karan Johar said so in the papers today.”

The traitorous F, a TV producer, shakes her head. “No man. Most TV channels are in bad shape. They’ve all cut down on hours of original programming and filling in the rest of the slots with repeats and reruns.”

“Oh?” I said, momentarily forgetting my Santa Claus duty. After all this affected me directly.

“Most big ticket movies have stalled or have drastically scaled down their budgets,” P chipped in cheerfully.

Great. And we hadn’t even touched upon politics yet.

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What an absolutely fantastic film. Although, I was a little upset because I missed about fifteen minutes of the beginning – five by reaching late and another ten, grousing about reaching five minutes late.

You see I have this entire ritual of easing into a movie – walk into the theatre, gaze at the posters of upcoming films, buy popcorn, settle into the seat, catch the trailers etc. Any slight deviation and I get terribly out of sorts. I can’t enjoy the movie. I don’t know but I’m thinking it may be an OCD of sorts.

And then the experience was marred somewhat by bawling kids who, for some strange reason seem to have an affinity with me. Take cars, trains, aeroplanes, if there’s a kid on board, it’ll be near me. And if it’s a cranky kid, it’ll be right next to me. You can count on it. I do.

Things got a little better at lunch. For one, we got place at (gasp!) Urban Tadka. I mean we have to have made some kind of a record for maximum number of rejections from Urban Tadka in the last couple of years.

So we felt some kind of a celebration was in order.

And as the spirit levels in the bottles dropped, our spirits soared higher.

And we got talking about Federer’s dismal run recently.

 “I’m not surprised. You should have seen the way he was playing at Wimbledon. He was playing in Fear. After the French Open, Nadal had got him here,” Sanjay, one of my friends said sagely, tapping his temple.

So coming back to movie, I felt the ending was somewhat tame. I mean Tai Lung is this fearsome creature who, after an absolutely incredible display of martial arts prowess succumbs kinda tamely to the dragon warrior.

But as another one of my friends, Rohit, commented, “It’s all in the mind. In my opinion, Tai Lung lost the fight at the French Open.”

Of course, we thought it was hugely funny and promptly dissolved into raucous laughter.

Then the subject of height came up. And Sanjay as very surprised when I told him Nadal is 1.85 cms tall. He’s as tall as Federer.”

By now, Siddharth the third one, was feeling kinds left out so he quickly quipped, “In Federer’s mind he’s taller.”

And we promptly dissolved into another fit of laugher.

Later in the day, I did my 10k run, which, in hindsight, wasn’t such a good plan. Running while hung over? Not a good idea. Take my word for it. And I’m not talking just about the constant thud-thud in the brain. I’m also talking about fellow runners holding their noses every time I passed by. On the other hand, I perspired away all the toxins out of my system.

Later still, I caught Fiddler on the Roof on DVD. Nice film.

All in all, a good day. Or given my record lately, a great idle day.

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