Godrej No. 1

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I distinctly remember our Godrej a.k.a. Chacha’s face when we met for breakfast at Aarey Colony, Goregaon. The expression was a mix of emotions: a big, cleverly put up smile, up front with a rather tensed interior. The “he is the team captain,” announcement let the cat out of the bag. “He looks sooo tensed,” I exclaimed to the First Lady whose (reply with a) smile made me scratch my head and ponder, “arey yaar! Is that an affirmative, or is she denying it?” Ah, but that’s First Lady for you. She would never want any Bison to be the subject of a poke, not the ride captain, especially. Not even when there were whispers, “arey, iski toh phat gayi”!

Cut two.

The scene is Anna’s tapri, Panvel, where the Bisons – with their grunting machines – stood ready for a fuel up. The pet puja kind! I looked at Godrej. He looked relaxed. Or was he pretending to? No one seemed to care much, for sire had cleverly marketed the “Jannat” factor to us; encouraging each to blow up dream bubbles and be afloat with it. I remember him saying “arey, udhar tent hain, aur mast barbeque hain, aur aisa pura mast hain”. And dreams always beat reality… particularly when accompanied by booze and barbeque.

Hamesha ki tarah, all the machines vroomed away to glory. Everything seemed perfect till Unni’s machine decided to have a mind of it’s own. After it stalled into the ‘hah, I won’t start mode,’ it refused to relent till it got the attention of a mechanic. As the mechanic honked it to its full potential, we, the last of the lot smiled in relief and said a thank you to the bike devtaa. Our growling stomachs were demanding to be fed, and that too, soon!

After a burp full of khaana, and a lucky few with a good snooze, chug chug as we chugged ahead. And that’s when Bullet Unni decided to poke us again at the Ghats. But to my surprise, neither did I spot a frown, nor did I spot a grumble. “It happens,” was the expression, and soon, we found a truck that could haul the beauty to our destination de Jannat.

Jannat, or paradise as it means, sure had surroundings resembling one. The tents added colour to the picturesque surrounding as the team set to capture their base. All seemed good until the marinated chicken and paneer arrived in their containers, alone. Our expectation was that we would be enjoying the sharab while there will be someone doing for us the kebab. Confusion set in when no one appeared. God bless our foreign mehmaan Thomas who helped us set the barbeque, with clear instructions of how to proceed with the same. 2 x2 and I were of the opinion that oil was needed to grease the grill, and were looking around for options, when Jhansi ki Raani Jyotsna, decided to take matters in her own hands. Soon the aroma of roasted flesh began to perfume the air, attracting with itself a hoard of “samplers” ready to sample the meat (me included, ha!). Godrej fulfilled the demand for olive oil (which he later announced with a sheepish grin was good ol’ Gemini oil) and soon we had an overstock of meat. The music started, the daru began to flow. And soon Paaji and the rest of the gang – who were out at the mechanic’s with Bullet Unni – joined us.

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The kavla maal khichai (for the uninitiated, this means pulling the legs of our new members) was a laugh riot, with Rajiv, now a.k.a. Heeralaal, and Vineet now a.k.a. Koyla. Both brimmed at their induction into the club. Derrick was shining like a star when he earned his colours at the end of the ride. I believe he even tried to do a miss India styled “haww, I can’t believe it” expression as well. Actually, he was not expecting it, for till the last meet, the number of rides to complete for a colour was eight. It was set to five this time, post the nod of approval from the gang.

Godrej, you sure did a good job. Tu mere, tu mera Hero no. 1!

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Trip log by: AJ