Reunion jam in the land of blue cows with the wizard from Oz
It has been a while since touched base with Ajaya Jayarao, singularly responsible for keeping our flag flying. In sharp contrast, other Sixteen Sydneysiders have laid low. Ajaya to his credit, has more than made up for their silence with his expansive hospitality and insightful recommendations on where to be in the ideal part of his town: for a bit of piggery, pub crawling, colonial nostalgia and sightseeing in general.
Sydney has never disappointed me with its singular rhythm and flow, and a momentum that makes it such a distinctive city on the coast — with the luxurious highrises, the yacht-filled harbor, the cliffs as a backdrop and the heat, sun and sea. This never fails to make me feel that I am at the most special place in the world, that has always engendered more interest and enthusiasm in the company of Ajaya.
It was in an inspired moment that Jayarao announced that he would show up in Gurgaon . The Delhi suburb that epitomizes the Indian reality, managing to be both a complete mess and an economic powerhouse, a microcosm of Indian dynamism and dysfunction. Before it had malls, a theme park and fancy housing compounds, Gurgaon had blue cows.
I wholeheartedly endorsed this brave move and acted swiftly to lessen the impact of being overwhelmed by a profound feeling that engulfs most mortals, when they first arrive in this city.
I invited him to stay at my home where there would be lots to do with a day centred around booze, music and gluttony in the company of like minded Sixteen folks who offered to trudge down from the capital into the city chaos and show up at The Belaire. The brave band led by Mayar, Vinit and indefatigable Kenny in company of the Gurgaon grand
master Vivek Chandra. Sorely missed were Duggs, Swappy and Vicky who were out of town.
It was the meeting of the minds resonated with each swig of the elixir kept ready in vast quantities . Cold beer, shots of tequila, Vodka and Raki had beckoned. For those with an English disposition Gin and Tonic was the welcome drink, A play list of Tull / Floyd thrown in for good measure including a brand new documentary on Woodstock in Technicolor. A fruitful partnership that commenced at Sydney . The affection, bonhomie and understanding with our man from Down under was clearly evident.
The indelible bonds and partnership that was engendered over a decade ago, were revived over glasses of beer. Mayar having spoken at length on the physics of the trajectories of golf clubs, promptly fell asleep after a few glasses of wine, ostensibly suffering a hangover from the golfing round he had played that morning. Vinit held forth on values of senior leadership teams while Vivek wistfully pontified on hIs days at D School and all the fine women he had met.
It was Kenny who held the assembled gathering together with his fabricated biblical version of Jesus Christ Superstar, role in turning water to wine. It was hard to imagine Kenney known for his prowess on FT Crosswords and a yen for New Yorker cartoons to have morphed into as biblical scholar. Rama Rao our resident walking and talking Time Magazine and a Britannica on WWII would have loved to refute but was ensconced in NJ.
With the strains of Floyd and Cohen the afternoon wore on, and with a little help from the gentleman from Down Under we were walking on water and glasses of Cognac and Raspberry liquor. All in all the proceedings that highlighted the splendid afternoon was epitomised by Pink Floyd’s lyrics :
How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have we found?
The same old fears.
Wish you were here.