We all had been waiting for ages for this day. Finally when the big day arrived, we could barely contain our happiness. After a gap of one and a half years we were going on a vacation. It was definitely a big reason to celebrate.
The bags had been packed. The sun screen lotion had been tucked away. Even the last minute packing had been done much in advance. Goa was calling.
There was a slight problem though. My daughter 's birthday was coming up during the break and she wanted to celebrate in style. After all not everyday a girl turned thirteen! So, after much deliberation, she invited some of her closest friends for lunch. Our train would leave in the evening that day. Surely there would be ample time to celebrate with her friends!
Turning thirteen is a momentous occasion. This was the official entry to the exciting teens. So what would a bunch of thirteen year old do to celebrate? Dress up in style? Watch a movie on DVD? Shop for some exotic jewellery? Dance to the latest hits? If you were my daughter, you would have have ticked all of the above. Life is a party.
So outfits were chosen, CDs were piled up, Pizza Hut number was memorised and the choice of topping for each friend was duly noted. Pepperoni.Mushroom and cheese. Chicken tikka masala; oh! When would the magic hour strike? Well, the clock did strike the magic hour. On October 21, around 10 o'clock, the school called up to say it was closing down. Raj Thakrey had been arrested in the wee hours of the morning and the irate MNS members had decided to go on a rampage. They burnt down public transport, broke window panes of commercial establishments, pelted stones at passersby and forcibly halted the megalopolis to a standstill. Schools and colleges shut down. And so did Galleria- the local hub for exotic jewellery. Planet M- the local music and DVD store and Pizza Hut- the saviour of all the teens celebrating birthdays.
Faces downcast and moods sombre, frantic phone calls were exchanged to salvage the situation. I could only watch with growing horror. We had only a few hours to catch the train. I had closed down my kitchen. I had nothing to offer to these girls and a mother's heart was breaking. The mob had shut down every local shop. Even the local super market had downed its shutters. And my pantry was empty. Even before the party began it had pooped .
I tried to save the day by offering the girls some hot home cooked aloo parathas but could I ever hope to compete with Pizza Hut? The girls decided to stay hungry. I guess aloo parathas did not enjoy a huge fan base. My daughter did try to infuse some cheer to the party by playing some foot tapping numbers on the CD player but no matter what, the fun had clearly gone out of the party.
We left for the station much early fearing road blocks. By then things had calmed down a bit. Markets had opened and the cars, though only few, were back on the roads. We started our much awaited vacation with a heavy heart.
The party did happen though. The five days that we were in Goa, we ate at fifteen different places. From xacuti to oysters we tried everything. My daughter shopped for exotic jewellery to her heart's content. Beads, stones , shells... she bought them all. Though not the latest hits, we did listen to awesome live bands and some groovy music. And the day of her actual birthday,we flew in from Goa to Mumbai and went on to Delhi to continue our vacation. So breakfast in Goa, lunch in Mumbai and dinner in Delhi. Top that MNS members.
So sorry girls, you had to miss out on all that fun. May be we can try this once again when Ishita turns eighteen. We can listen to some music, eat pizza and dance all night long.
Hopefully, a certain Mr. Thakrey would also grow up a bit by then.