'Phone charger, pillow and rug, Kindle, small cocktail in a carafe, a rolled up paratha...'
Find out what Kishore Singh takes along for a Delhi-Gurgaon car ride, a journey that often takes three hours!
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
There was a stage, in more carefree times, we thought nothing of organising a flask of long island iced tea, or similar, for the long haul from Delhi to Gurgaon, a little something to help us on the long and lonely route that we covered in 45 minutes on a good day, or in an hour on a bad one.
Then, as responsible parents of kids who wondered why they weren't allowed a sip of what was in the thermos that put everyone else in such a good mood, we gave it up altogether.
In any case, the traffic had increased, and additional vigilance on the motorways led to our abstinence from the bottle not just on the road but, also, of one for the road.
Cut to today when the only solace one has on the choked road to Gurgaon is the possibility of a quick nip from the flagon because, of course, the party you're headed for is likely to be ending by the time you get there, thanks to the traffic gridlock.
So, headed to Millennium City, here's our checklist of things to take along for the journey that often takes three hours: Phone charger, pillow and rug, Kindle, small cocktail in a carafe, some petit bites, stressbusting games, an eye mask, another little cocktail, water, a laptop for when you get tired of texting on the phone and need to forward urgent mails (don't try this unless you're being ferried by a driver or are in an Uber), something a little more substantial to eat such as a rolled up paratha, or a kathi roll, a thick pair of socks and a pair of slippers, and for when you're closer to the destination, face wash, hand sanitiser, hair gel, comb, toothbrush and paste, various other unguents for the missus, and for a change from one's crushed clothes, a fresh wardrobe necessitating a disappearance behind the bushes when approaching Gurgaon, or some acrobatics in the car bound to leave the chauffeur with a story to dine out on.
Oh, and various bags to stuff it all into, with, also, a change of night clothes for the road trip home.
My wife, who is a serial socialiser and is better at this sort of thing, likes to coordinate the departure of a group of friends who are headed for the same party, or at least in the same direction -- don't ask me how she finds this out -- so we end up in close proximity when the traffic isn't moving, allowing one to descend on the kerb so smokers can light up, or, as happens more often, car hop.
"Why would you do something like this?" I've often asked my wife. The answer is always the same: "You're so boring," which is possibly true since she goes to sleep if there's no one else in the car. But given any other passenger in the vehicle, you can be sure she'll perk up.
This can sometimes be a problem if traffic eases up and starts moving, causing us to be separated and distanced.
What does one do in such circumstance, given how waiting for stragglers to catch up can cause further delays.
I've fetched up solo at parties for which we'd started out as a couple, while my wife, unmindful of the propriety of such occasions, has wound up at somebody else's where she was never invited in the first place, to mwah and schmooze -- thereby gaining herself a larger circle of friends who never were.