Late Friday evening was when the news arrived, well, the news called, to be correct. It was a busy weekend evening for me as I was shopping for most of the stuff needed for a party next day. Nothing exotic, nor that the guests were somebody I had to mandatorily  impress to get my next hike or promotion; instead, they were my three best friends, whom I get to meet less often these days, all thanks to our busy city lives. Tomorrow, I called them for a small treat. I know them since the start of our Hyderabad stint, just more than 3 years or so; I reckon we( that’s me and my wife),   have met two of them in DD’s party, that’s the third guy. Those days he worked with me, so more of a colleague, but that birthday party of his was where we had met two of his room partners, Comrade and Tree. Strange names one might wonder, but those were coined by me on general consensus of course – DD, is a short stature dude, so we decided to shorten and lighten up his archaic and longish first name; The second dude had a very sharp mind and most of his thoughts were quite revolutionary and sometimes very provoking, hence Comrade. Tree worked in crop genetics and had this nature of agreeing to almost every ideas and adventures of ours, hence the ‘Shade of life’ Tree. So socializing with these nice blokes for sometime now, and we are the best of buds, ‘the wolf pack’ now! And on Saturday was when the wolves would party after a hiatus, and just 24 hours of before this fun time begins, Mr.News arrives.

USDINR, ( that one of my colleague, because of past experiences in foreign exchange and his ‘sudden unannounced untimely  leave shocks’, he had been named so ), called, and no surprises, as expected, he had ‘very important family thing’ come up tomorrow hence I need to take care of a day-long initiative at office, and he ensured enough diligence to make a special mention that it would over way before evening. The initiative being interviews for graduates fresh of college, I was sure they would arrive en-masse and there isn’t a remotest chance that I would be home before 20.30, that’s exactly when I had planned to start off my party. My wife received this news with a demure smile, as I was supposed to be the chef for tomorrow. I was ticking off a mental check list, menu was, fish fry (marinated fish coated with breadcrumbs – this could happily be taken care by her), chicken and pork canapé ( preparation can be tackled by her, I can take care of the grilling on-the-go) and finally the big ones, Pork items – Pork Chilly fry and pork curry with burnt spices, those were of big concern. It turns out that I’m the one who have been historically cooking them, so these items would either be deleted off the menu or if I can manage to come over early somehow..There is a saying ‘nothing succeeds like success’, and there is also an axiom to this one, ‘nothing succeeds like bad luck’ – There was no pork in the nearest store, the shop owner hinted that tomorrow late afternoon he plans to get a ‘good’ stock – Awesome, first the office next the pork, I could see my plans being cancelled. Nevertheless, my optimistic wife told me to hold my fort and wait until tomorrow.

The next day went bizarre for me – parked my car at 08.30 in the morning and the next thing I reckon was having my hushed up lunch. I managed to text my wife that the day was going wild and very busy, I would need a miracle to reach on time and prepare for the party – I just got back a smiling emoticon as a reply, which can either suggest she is disgusted or on a highly optimistic scale, she had crafted some alternate to our plan. It was 20.30, I packed off and was sprinting towards my car whilst the mobile flashed ‘Come straight home, no detours’. It was my wife. I was fixating to the idea that the party had indeed been cancelled and we are probably heading to some restaurant, just to save the rest of my weekend – but our ‘trio’, what’s up with them, they did not even text or call the entire day, did anybody fall sick, had the dropped the plan altogether, or are they turning up late – Clouds of thoughts with approvals and disapprovals clouded my mind while I drove home. I started climbing the stairs instead of waiting for the elevator to turn up, sweats of anxiety, tiredness and desperation was trickling down my cheeks.

The door was ajar, I realised it while I throttled the door bell – A strong aroma of cooked meat was thick in the air, I was readying myself to face the wrath of my wife, she seemed to have tried things today, and the smell also had faint tinge of burnt stiffness, suggestive of things going probably, may be, oh no, a definitely maybe, of things going..wrong? But where is everybody, an why is the silence..

‘Hollaaaa….’ a chorus..good lord!  DD, Tree and Comrade along with my wife seemed to have deafened me almost with this vociferous welcome. They hugged me hard, shouting on top of their voices ‘Belated Happy Birthday’, oh yes, I missed mentioning, it was my birthday treat. And it turned out that my wife had briefed them of the predicament and they had turned up by late afternoon, taking stock of the situation and Comrade ( he was the one who literally taught me to cook Pork!) had taken care of the runs after they lost my wicket! So the stage was all set and ready – I could feel tears of happiness rolling down my cheeks, and my wife – well, her tiny pearls of happiness was embellishing her beautiful face. Small memories make one’s life, the big ones just happen but the small ones linger!

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