In this year of the 007, the new year party had just the right kind of adventure. The predominant flavour this year at the new years eve seemed to be clearly – foggy (oxymoron unintended). I had plans to meet up with college friends in Vasant Kunj. We almost gave up after seeing the fog but then somehow persevered. Delhi had been completely engulfed in a thick fog blanket in the past some days especially in the later hours of the night. I had a fair idea that it wasn’t going to be an easy drive but I have driven in swirling fog earlier too. Clutching the seat, staring out at the looming white walls of vapour, backseat driving, that is. I couldn’t have indulged in driving in such conditions with the old Maruti 800 but now that the “gentleman” is here, I was sure I could take on such self indulgences from time to time. I had the pleasure of driving in thick swirling fluffs earlier some weeks back when I came back from Elevate one of these weekends. The fog on 31st eve was all that and more. A trifle bit more.
The way till Vasant Kunj was foggy but still vehicles could move. The moment I reached Vasant Kunj, I almost felt as if I was walking head on into a white wall. But then braving such adversity had kind of rubbed in with the earlier misty meetings with the fog. It was practically zero visibility. One couldnt see the road, or a vehicle in front. One could only make out blurry outlines of car blinkers, that too at about 5 feet of a distance. A lot of vehicles were just parked on the road. Perhaps waiting for the fog to subside is what they had decided on. The fools didnt realise that it never subsides till the sun comes out or till there’s some heat in the environment. After reaching that block in Vasant Kunj which was a place I was just not familiar with, it became practically impossible to drive as I didn’t even know where to expect a turn or a bend in the road. Driving close to the pavement was impossible because of the vehicle line up. Driving close to the divider was what I had to do. Unfortunately that almost resulted in getting onto a flyover that I had to actually skip. Thankfully I managed to skip it without bumping into any of the vehicles which were parked over the flyover with their blinkers on! Some directions on phone later, I managed to reach the gate of the block I had to reach and then had to ask my friend to come physically to guide through the inner bylanes as dearth of landmarks within the block would have left me spending my new years watching the white ghosts swirling by.
After much ‘walking-into-white-walls-not-knowing-what-is-beyond’, I finally managed to park my car and get inside a warm house. I had so far restrained from consuming some of the refreshments I was carrying and celebrating my own solitary new year somewhere with spectres (car blinkers providing me the necessary ghoulish new year lighting). But getting to the venue did the final trick and soon the host and I (all others were still battling white daemons) indulged ourselves. With the arrival of our drink carrying knights, the party kicked off finally a little before 12 (“We are men and army men at that, we dont need directions“, they said). Everyone had the poison they wanted. We all clinked a lot of wine glasses to begin with and eventually at the stroke of the midnight hour, popped some bubbly. The guys (the other females turned out to be not so adventurous given the weather and never turned up) got high on harmless champagne. Juicy secrets from college times (who had a ridiculous fancy for whom and did what) were let out very much like the champagne flowing into the glasses. The “boys” eventually ended up trying to straighten a victimised fridge, whose only fault was standing alone in a corner. Luckily for us, the fridge obeyed their commands and straightened up – more than the boys themselves. That battle won, we all dug into some veg tikka and some chicken tikka. Lots of laughter, some dance, more champagne (read chum-pug-nee), some more dance, some rounds on the phone with some other college friends outside the country, laughter all along with frequent assessments of visibility from the balcony. I was ever grateful to the fog gods for having descended upon us. It gave me a chance to not hurry up with a deadline. Eventually we decided to set out at 3am. The visibility was barely a tad bit better. I had to get to my place alone, so two of my friends decided to tail my car in their car (that was just an excuse for them sissies what with a perfect fog assist like me).
White phantoms, coming straight onto you while driving and dying on your car’s bonnet was neat. Soulful music at the hour was even neater. At some point since the visibility was absolutely zero and I was driving according to a map in my memory, I overshot a turn and landed on NH-8 at a point where a flyover was being constructed. The moment I realised I had taken a wrong turn and was about to turn around it dawned on me (literally) that a whole bevy of cars had been using me as their support in the thick white fog and had landed right behind me – all of us like sardines in a tin. Ever faced an expectant audience at the end of a performance? Well I have. I quickly courtesied to denote the end of it (pointed out the right direction for all to see) and sped away. I eventually reached home at 4am feeling all nice and accomplished for having done some bondgiri at the very onset of the year. Here’s for some bondgiri in your lives too! Wish you all a very funfilled, charming, spellbinding new year.