Lunch with aunty Anita

If you recall aunty Anita had called me while I was in the middle of telling you about all my lovely friends.

Well, she had called to fix up a lunch date. Basically, a lunch to grill me about every aspect of my life. You know how it is with aunts; they want to know everything about you, your neighbours and their dogs too, if possible.

We chose a restaurant that would be between her work place and mine. I got there 10 minutes before the scheduled time and found us a table in the back. The restaurant was nice — it had a country lodge look on the inside. The only thing I didn’t much like about the décor was that it was too cluttered and dimly lit.

Just as I had ordered myself a lime soda, she walked in. After the hellos and the hugging we settled down to business. The business of asking me about my love life!

For the next fifteen minutes I felt like a suspect being interrogated, something like they show in the movies — tied to a chair, the light from a torch being shone into the eyes, water thrown on the face, gagging, face turning purple and then blue — you get the picture.

That over, she wanted me to sit next to her; patting the seat alongside, she started sliding to the left to make place for me. As I was moving over to her side, I heard a loud thud and saw what appeared to be clouds of smoke appearing from where aunty should have been sitting. Aunty had disappeared!

Just then the waiter appeared from out of nowhere and with a straight face said “Yeh to hota rahta hai!” This is a common occurrence!

A very alarmed me: “What is?”

The waiter motioned for me to follow him as he crawled across the seat and peered down at the dingy corner. Down in the corner was aunty; she looked a little startled and dusty but was otherwise okay.

She had fallen in the gap between the seat and the wall; the cloud of smoke was actually just a cloud of dust.

The waiter remarked again “Yeh to hota rahta hai!” This is a common occurrence!

I gave him a dirty look. If it was a common occurrence why hadn’t they done anything about it? Anyhow, I had to help aunty out of that dingy corner. Once we established she wasn’t hurt, we had a good laugh and ordered our food.

After exchanging notes about the cousins, aunts and uncles I asked her about her trip to Italy.

AA: “It was divine, I put on 5 Kgs. Oh! I loved the food, the art, the fashion …”” Maybe I will go live there when I am old.”

Me: “Yes, it’s a beautiful place.”

AA: “I shopped so much, barely had place in my bags.”

Me: “Nice.”

AA: “All in all it was a lovely trip except for when I lost my passport.”

Me: “What?!!! How did you manage to do that?”

AA: “ Well. I don’t really know how it happened. The airline called me about a change in the time of the flight. So I thought I should place the passport and the ticket on the nightstand before heading out for the day, that way even if I came back tired I wouldn’t have to worry about looking for them at the last minute.

It was when I was looking for them in my purse, and saw the cellophane bag with just the ticket, that I realized it was gone. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

I quickly got the address for the consulate and rushed straight there. Of course, I wanted to get there well in time given the fact I had an early morning flight. I explained the situation to the officials at the consulate and told them that I had an early morning flight, which I couldn’t miss at any cost because of my patients.

Anyhow, after a long wait, numerous conversations and loads of paperwork, they cancelled my passport and arranged for a temporary travel document for me. I put that temporary travel document carefully in the cellophane bag along with the ticket and decided to get my weary self back to the hotel to pack.

The taxi ride was bittersweet, such a lovely trip ending this way. I consoled myself with the thought that at least I could get back home on time.

Packing done. I decided to lie down before dinner and it was when I walked into the bedroom I saw the rogue.”

Me: “Uncle?”

AA: “ No silly, my Passport! It was on the ground by the nightstand”

Me: “Oh! Wow! Umm Okay. So you had it all the time then?”

AA: “Yes and then I quickly got on to the phone and called the consulate.

I have to say they aren’t very helpful. When I told them I found the passport in my things and wouldn’t be needing their temporary travel document after all and all was good with the world, instead of being happy, the man actually sounded annoyed. Imagine!

He said that the old passport had been cancelled and I couldn’t use it. I told him to un-cancel it. How long could it possibly take to un-cancel? What’s the big deal?

He angrily told me I would have to use the temporary document and hung up on me.

Now I have to go through all the paperwork again to get a new passport — how annoying.”

Me: “Hmmmmm. Well, aunty look at the bright side, you had fun and you got back on time.”

Suddenly from the back we heard someone say “Yeh to hota rahta hai!” This is a common occurrence!

We turned and saw it was our waiter!

Well, in aunty Anita’s life such incidents are indeed common and despite all my affection for her I avoid making any travel plans with her.

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.