A Date


1st June 2013… I was supposed to pick Aaryan from School at 12 noon to bring him back for his week-long summer vacation. After, doing everything at a slow pace in the morning, I still managed to reach the school at 9.30 am. I thought it was better to observe the life at a boarding school than sit in my hotel room and flick the channels on TV which couldn’t hold my interest even for a minute.

As soon as I entered the school gate, I realized that there was a change of plans. I met Aaryan’s dormitory matron and she informed that I could take Aaryan along with me, right away.

With a spring in our step we moved towards our cab, a cursory look at the time (it was 9.45 am, then) a realization hit us. Our bus was scheduled to leave at 4.30 pm. Having checked out of the hotel, how do we spend 6.5 hours with bags and baggage on the road?

The earlier plan was to leave the school by 12.30 pm, a leisurely lunch at a restaurant near the school and then an hour of chatting and catching up with the sonny boy at the ISBT should make the time fly till it was time for the bus to take us home.

I sounded my thoughts and doubts to Aaryan and he quickly gave a solution, “Let’s go to the Mall Road”. (Mall Road is the only happening place in Shimla). Mall Road? I pondered for a minute and realized that this was indeed the best and only option for us to spend 6 plus hours in a nice enjoyable way.

The cab driver had other engagements (he had to leave with another family to Kufri), so he couldn’t wait with our luggage while we entertained ourselves at the Mall Road. We had to leave the taxi along with our bags.

After dragging my strolley bag uphill and Aaryan carrying his heavy rucksack on his shoulders, our first stop was Sagar Ratna for a nice authentic South Indian brunch. We were the first customers to enter the eatery. It seemed that they had started their kitchen preparations only after seeing us! Sitting by the window, it was fun chatting and observing life on that part of the Mall Road. We were neither in a hurry and nor that hungry. For the first time, we really welcomed the delay in serving of food at a restaurant. By 11.30, the last sip of filter coffee made it’s way down my throat and an hour and a half had passed. Next stop should be…? Aaryan read my thoughts and decided once again, “Ma, let’s go for a movie”. A movie??!! He explained, “That is the only place where our time will fly easily and also we would be free from carrying our luggage for a few more hours!” That sure was logical reasoning. Our next stop is the Ritz movie theatre. The booking clerk informed that the show had already started at 11 am. The next show was scheduled at 2 pm. Waiting was not an option, so we decided to go in for the 11 am show, although we would have missed about 45 minutes of the movie.

As we were keeping our luggage at the reception (Yes, they were kind enough to take care of our bags while we enjoyed the movie) Aaryan asked me, “Ma, which movie are we watching?”.

I stuttered and looked here and there for inspiration, as telling him that we are here for Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani seemed a bit embarrassing and awkward for the mother in me.
I told him to read the poster. We entered the cinema hall and saw Ranbir dancing on Balam Pichkari. Very soon, it was intermission and I saw the people around me. And I was the most elderly person in there!! I was surrounded by school and college going kids!!

A 22-24 year old passed my seat to get popcorns etc and soon he returned back too. On his return, he said, “Sorry, Aunty, I am disturbing you!”. I mumbled a ‘No Problem’ and saw Aaryan giving a funny look to that guy. I asked the reason for that look and he said, “He should have called you, Ma’am”! The mother in me was so proud of my son.

The movie was a classic case of all hype and no fizz.

After the movie, our next stop was at Domino’s Pizza. We got some pizzas and tacos packed for the journey.

A cab was hired and off we went to ISBT. Found some chairs to sit and met parents of Aaryan’s friend who were also travelling by the same bus. And an hour passed without we knowing about it as we had so much to share/ask and talk about.

The bus started promptly at 4.30 pm and an hour of the drive on the hills saw both of us vomiting! Driving in the hills does this to me. It was the first time for Aaryan though. No, we didnt dirty the bus or puked on ourselves. The Volvo bus that we were traveling in provided us with vomit bags. A long day, full of excitement and thrills came to an end as sleep finally honoured us with its presence.