It is a hot summer day and I am returning home from my workplace. I reach home in the simmering heat and feel thankful to see that the power’s on. The mobile beeps while I switch on the air conditioner and being a new-age tech-savvy phone addict, I jump to retrieve the messages. My mom-friends (we are a group of six to seven mothers whose children study in the same class at school) are planning to have a girly date minus the kids. Wow! I think to myself. A day with the girls! Minus kids will be the icing on our already yummy cake! So we hurriedly fix a mutually convenient date and time. The unanimous decision is to have this date on a weekend during the summer vacations so that most of the kids will be already bored with us and will readily agree to let us for a few blissful hours. So we sweet talk our husbands and/or other family members into agreeing to mind our attachés on this particular date.
A week before the said date arrives; we all make time from our busy schedules and head off to beautify ourselves in the parlors. Our manicures, pedicures, facials, waxing, and threading must all be in order for the Girls’ Day Out. All through the week we keep calling up each other to fix a dress code – should we wear jeans? Or should we keep in tune with the weather and wear shorts? Or would a really nice feminine skirt make us look younger than our thirty-something selves? Decisions decisions! Finally, on the D minus one day, we all give up and decide to just wear what each of us would be most comfortable in. After all, isn’t the whole point of this date to feel totally at ease and in tune with ourselves?
So on the D-day, I pull out my favorite red dress with floral print. It has the perfect summery look and feel to it and just about touches my knee. I feel comfortable and yet beautiful and gorgeous in it all at once. A quick brush through my stylishly cut summer hair, a dab of red lipstick – for what is a woman on a date without her red lipstick, a pair of my favorite ballet shoes and I dash out the door grabbing my shoulder sling bag. I receive a call from one of the yummy mommies saying the cab they are in will reach my door in ten minutes and I head down to wait for them in the shade of the trees as I am too excited to be sitting at home waiting for them. I jump into the cab as soon as it arrives and off we go. We have decided against going to any of the regular haunts in our city and hop over to the neighboring city of Powai for a change of scene. A friend of mine who stays in Powai has already given me the names of a few places we could hang out in.
It is high noon and our conversation in the cab initially sticks to the safe topic of our children – which are the binding factor of our friendship in the first place. We discuss their summer activities, their hobbies, and so on. The cabbie thinks we are just some dumb females out on a social date to blow off the money hard-earned by our husbands and makes his opinion of us clear in the first few minutes. We ignore him and continue our conversation. As the cab is to turn into Powai, the cabbie manages to ram it into a bus and then starts blaming the bus driver. So we step out of the cool climes of the cab, and walk over to the restaurant after paying the cabbie. Surprisingly, the afternoon heat doesn’t seem as hot or as punishing when one is in entertaining company. We relax the moment our feet are out of the cab and that is when we give way to our inner girls. The subject of children abruptly gives way to talking about our own childhood, our marriages, our dreams, and our careers and so on. With most of us being from the IT industry or having our spouses in that industry, we have moved homes at least thrice in the last five years. And we start exchanging notes about our time spent in places away from home.
By now, we have reached the restaurant and it seems quite kitschy at the first glance. Hoppipola looks like it can make us forget our daily boring and tiring routines for a while and we decide to take a chance and head in. A look at the menu and we are relieved to see that the prices are quite economical. Being our first girly date in many years, we order a drink each to go with some appetizers. By the time our exotic looking cocktails arrive, we have started acting like teenagers who have known each other for a long time. The drinks arrive and we drown them our parched throats in a jiffy. But we have forgotten that we have ordered cocktails and not mocktails and it is not long before all of us start feeling a little extra happy and light headed. This makes us happier still and we start talking about the dreams we had as we grew up, what we studied to be, what we became, our sacrifices, our love for our families and so on. We even talk about the dreams that we could not see to fruition. Our shared travel stories bring us closer, for it is on foreign shores that one’s true spirit comes out of hiding. That is where one is tested to the hilt of one’s limits. We have each been there, done that and come out much the wiser for it. We consciously stay away from the vicious cycle of everyone’s favorite topic – the in laws. We stick to happy thoughts and happy subjects and by the time we look at the time, four hours have passed since we entered this restaurant. About two liters of cocktails have been guzzled amongst six girls and we are praying for early deliverance from the hangover that is sure to come on.
We pay the check and laugh once again when we realize that all of us have carried substantial cash to ensure that we don’t go home in anyone’s debt. Typical women, are we not? As we head out into the now cool early evening breeze, we are suddenly overcome by the desire to window shop. So we walk around for a little while, but the love of home soon starts tugging at our hearts. So we call a cab and pile in to head home. As soon as the cab starts moving, our conversation goes back to our glue – our children. I am the first to get off after paying my share of the cab fare. I am so tired and sleepy as soon as I reach home. It is still evening and the husband has gone to drop our child off to his activity class. My love for the man rides up a notch or two when he comes home carrying a huge bottle of lemon juice for me. “To help you overcome the hangover,” he utters the magic words. I guzzle it down like a person who has never seen lemon juice and then nod off to sleep.
Voices in the room wake me from my drunken stupor and I open my eyes to see my monkey has just returned home and my two boys – the man and the child, are now heading into the kitchen to rustle up some dinner. By now, my man has correctly gauged that I am not going to be able to stand straight enough to cook. I doze off to sleep again seeing that my home and hearth are in good hands. The aroma of freshly toasted sandwiches tickles my nose and I wake up craving it. By now, the hangover has sufficiently subsided and I walk into the kitchen to see that the little one is tidily studying while the man has made the world’s best toast sandwiches – yeah, that is one dish I have never been able to passably manage! A hearty dinner and few more glasses of lemon juice later, I am back to feeling a lot more like my old self and we have a nice time with me regaling them with descriptions of the tumblers the cocktails arrived in.