A string of shops – all kinds.
A DVD rental. A hair saloon. A smattering of a few others – an automobile spares shop, a medical hall, the only big grocery “supermarket” in the area, 2/3 punjabi dhabas, a nice south Indian eatery, and more of the same on a crowded stretch of what the junta called the main road.
A detour off that, into one of the streets, a left at the dead end, a stretch of about 150 meters, which is christened the “Digestion Road”, and you would reach The Mansion.
Please do not get misled by the name. The current inhabitants are not the ones you would normally associate with the Royalty. In fact, the closest they came to that was the Royal Enfield, which was quite conspicuous by its presence. It used to park itself a few yards away from the Mansion. It was the local carpenter’s.
The Mansion keepers : The “Homies” – they are called. Nope, do not look for a dictionary.
I say current inhabitants, because I was also once a part of the royal ensemble; during a period, which thankfully, did not have too many ups and downs. Primarily because this was on the ground floor. But it did have a lot of lefts, lot of rights, a hell lot of wrongs, and a lot of fun!
The Mansion is a 2 BHK – 2 Bedroom, Hall and Kitchen. Although, this recent video may convince you to argue with me that there is nothing left of what you normally call a Kitchen.
There was a time, when this very place has seen the likes of Khichdi with papad and beer, wonderful french toasts for breakfast, and pure South Indian lunches (Rasam, Sambhar, curd, the works). It has also turned into a war zone, when one of the erstwhile Homies, a certain spectacle-clad dude, from Gult-Land, decided to give a shot at cooking. And when he was in there….we prayed. For our safety. And sometimes, for his. And more often than not, when he emerged out of the smoke, the victorious smile used to say it all. Sunday lunches were action-packed, you see.
However, of late, I have learnt that,now it can be called a Kitchen – thanks to the concerted efforts of the Homies to give it a semblance of respectability. They do not stack ’em up there along with the pressure cooker and the pickle bottle. And the basin has regained its earlier position. Brushing and shaving.
Enter the 2 bedrooms – one of which housed 3 custom made folding beds. And the other, the dude from Gult-Land. When we shifted into the Mansion, we did not want to sleep on the floor. It was an insult to our royal blood. We bought 4 very expensive folding beds, brought our engineering minds together with an IISc friend of ours’ (who spent more time here than in his lab) and rented the services of a particularly efficient carpenter who also believed in the concept of re-engineering. Our 4 years of torture(read:Engineering) bore fruit when we saw the final product – wooden planks fixed under the beds – they dont bend, they dont buckle. Brilliant.
So they stayed on. Apart from the occasional creaks, they never complained. Never cringed. They’ve seen every bit of us (literally and figuratively). And a lot of violence as well. They say (who??) that a pen is mightier than a sword. In this case, one of the more calmer Homies used a broomstick and a brush(??) to prove this saying to us. In his case, the broomstick was indeed mightier than…a pillow. Inspiring.
And no. The Royal Enfield was not this carpenter’s. He came on a Hero Cycle.
The Hall – it would actually be one, if not for the commanding presence of a very “large” person, who tends to think that by sleeping only in his low-waist jeans (definition of “low” is something you would want to avoid here), which saw a washing machine eons ago, he can scare away the landlord who, strangely, comes on Saturday mornings to take the rent. Now, the landlord is this old man, lovingly called “Taatha”. For his age, he should have known, that the only thing which can totter more than him on a Saturday morning, at 7’o’clock, is a young bachelor with a hangover, brought upon by the blessings of the UB group and other such charitable companies.
It also contains some comfortable couches, which were (and I guess, still are) used effectively to lend our hospitality services to the really blessed ones – high and drunk, and who would knock on the cupboard to enter The Mansion. Recent news have reported that a key, some coins, wax matches, and a 5-star were found in the deep crevices between the cushions of the couch. True to tradition, The Mansion holds lot of secrets.
I have seen a lot of exciting days in The Mansion:
Monday highs (Because there was a power cut from 9 pm onwards),
Tuesday highs (Because the weather was beautiful),
Wednesday highs (Because my IISc friend had finished his test and was happy it was over),
Thursday highs (Because one of our college juniors was in town and needed a night’s stay),
Friday highs (Because it is a Friday)
Saturday highs (Need i say)
Sunday Highs (-ditto)
Well, it would take almost an year again to describe the experience that The Mansion is. And needless to say, the credit goes to the Homies. A band of egoless, fun-loving, wonderful human beings who loved everything from keeping the Mansion like a pig sty to working for 5 hours at a stretch washing and scrubbing it clean.
Here they are, in no particular order: (The original inhabitants and the ones that graced the Mansion occasionally – 6 days a week, i.e):
Ozz/Ozzy – a.k.a adarsh
Sam/Sammy/Samba – a.k.a samyam
Chaddi – a.k.a vadhi
Goti – a.k.a Gautham
Tushy – a.k.a Tushar
Tommy/Tomba – a.k.a Thomas
Raj – a.k.a Raj
Sand/Sandy – a.k.a Sandeep
Suze/Suzy – a.k.a Sushant
Nitin – a.k.a Nitin sir
This post was to just tell them – You guys rock!!
P.S : I may have missed a few others. I apologise for the loss of memory.