I learned early on that I have a bad affliction of not making concrete weekend plans. Usually I’m just lazy, but when I do, it’s mostly a one-on-one with a single individual friend who I can speak to at length about life.
A couple of weekends back, I made exactly such a plan. I reached out to an old friend after nearly 2 years, and to celebrate our union we decided to meet for brunch at quaint little café on a hill on a sunny Saturday afternoon. The location was a mid point between both our houses – symbolic of our mutual excitement to see each another.
It was Jan 2018 when I found myself in the winter section of H&M. It was filled with knitwear and discounts, but for me the joy was in walking between the racks of knitted sweaters and cardigans. I enjoyed caressing my fingers against each and every one of them; I enjoyed feeling their intricate woven looms; I loved how soft the wool felt against my palms.
I had nothing particular in mind that I wanted to buy, but it’s funny how when you go without expecting anything that sometimes you find some of the best things ever. For me it came in the form of a white woolen ribbed sweater.
I love the coffee and club sandwiches served at the Sea Lounge. I love its rustic interiors, I love the quiet ambience it radiates, and I love that beyond 8 it’s nearly empty.
And for precisely that reason, my husband and I were in the Taj that night. We entered by 8 and were ready to leave by 9:40. We took the lift and 2 minutes later it opened into the lobby. My ankle was sprained so I stayed inside till our driver could fetch us. That’s when we heard the first sound of commotion. At the same time, I also heard the sound of gunshots.
It was my 14th wedding anniversary and I was given a complimentary Garden Suite on the 6th floor of the Old Wing of the Taj for a night. That night.
My wife and I checked in at about 3 in the afternoon, and after spending a lazy day we wanted to surprise our friends – the owners of Leopold Café – for dinner. As fate would have it, they weren’t there. Not at their house and not even – by God’s grace – at their restaurant.