May 6, 2010: A night to remember... and cherish
Back at Lake Forest Hotel, there were conversations galore and really no time for a siesta. Every evening, the hotel arranges shows for families and children and the evening of May 6 was no different. There was a dare-devil fire juggling act and there were flashes all around as cameras clicked furiously and those gathered craned their necks to get a better view. Needless to say, it was quite impressive… and a dangerous act too I thought.
However, most of us, instead of being caught up with the act, were keen to head towards a sort of cul-de-sac on the way to our rooms. Here a couple of tables were laid out and Dinesh, the hotel boy, and his friend whose name I didn’t ask, were busy setting bottles and glasses and ice cubes. All this thanks to Thomas and Atish, Thomas especially who brought along with him a mini crate of select scotch from Dubai duty free, I’m sure. Pity there was no wine though… at least I didn’t spot any. In any case, most of us had our fill, complete with chips and kababs and vegetable fries.
We were reliving the heady days of 1985, and it almost seemed that 25 years had not passed by. Plenty of pictures were taken. The area was not well lit, it suited us fine. There was not a soul who passed by – because we occupied all the rooms towards one end. The setting could not have been more perfect. And as if to indicate they were in unison with our thoughts and mood, the weather gods signalled approval. There was a whistling in the trees and the branches of the firs and oaks stirred and swung from side to side. There was a distant sound of thunder and flashes of lightning. But, surprises of surprises, no rain. Obviously, the weather gods too knew this was a once-in-a-25-year party and they decided to let us be.
There was, of course, the cake cutting ceremony. I still have no clue who arranged it all. But, here’s cheers to Atish and the others who did, and to the hotel guys, too. All of you made it one hell of a party. There were recounts and ramblings… Sanjay with his takes on V.K Sarma and Krishnan had everybody in splits; Saurabh Varma described a “chilling” experience in an ordinary hotel in Madras. In 1985, one of our colleagues had visited the place hoping to meet up with a member of the fair sex, and Saurabh and Atish were with him to give him moral support more than anything else. The adventurer was convinced the hotel offered such endearing services. But lo and behold, when he pressed the hotel manager into admitting such services were indeed available, he got a shock of his life – because there were none and, thankfully, the episode ended without the police being called. Ha!
The first is a group picture of the United India 1985 batch of direct recruits (Rajni and Vivek are absent; and may God bless Ashok and Manivasagam who are no longer with us). In the second, Atish and Saurabh break into song (Vijay and Mohanty relish the moment)… and one can see their vices; Atish leans on the strong shoulders of Dinesh (left) and the other boy in the third. They enjoyed the night too, and if only they knew what 1985 was all about! Sanjay in his elements in the fourth (Soundarya certainly does not wish to miss out). And, yes, the cake that looked up at a heavenly starry night.