The People and the Place

Its a cold afternoon in Gurgaon (20°c). I think I might need to buy a jumper after all. I’m alone in the office (Alex is working from home), thoroughly bored of the metal can manufacturing industry (my current project). It’s not so bad, but in India I get restless easily. There are other reasons for feeling offbeat of late. Things are winding down in the Kapoors household as people depart to face the next chapter in their respective parts of the world. On Sunday we were a family of six, and now we are three.

After coming down from the high (2,500 meters) of our time in Nepal, I spent the first half of the week traveling with a colleague visiting companies in Ludhiana, Chandigarh and Derabassi in the state of Punjab. The first time I have traveled on a project, it was good to be out in the field for a change as opposed to sitting in the office googling and telephoning. Actually I wasn’t of much use, suffering from a stomach infection, the fourth one I’ve had in India. And when the conversation necessitated a switch to Hindi there was little I could do but politely sip my chai, nod my head and mutter “thik hai” (OK).

That week also marked the first departure, our dear “cousin Kapoor” Jas, the crazy Singaporean we have spent so much time with partying and traveling of late. I missed her farewell party while I was away, but then I’ve never been that good at goodbyes. The weekend of the 12th, Saf and Alex were traveling, whilst I opted for a quiet one in Gurgaon since I couldn’t afford the time off work. We were also host to Yasmine’s family for a few days, who are traveling in India. On their final night with the Kapoors we arranged the table for a Christmas buffet of smoked salmon and Moroccan chicken. Despite my embarrassing lack of French it was very pleasant to be around people and family; it actually began to feel a little like Christmas (easy to forget such festivities in India). The following week was work focused, culminating with a presentation to our Danish clients on Thursday and celebrated with a team lunch at a steak restaurant (yes, beef steak) that I never knew existed in Gurgaon. Thursday night I ate again, the final “family dinner” together celebrating Mimine’s birthday, as she won’t be with us on the 26th.

The weekend was a bit more manic, hosting a house party on Friday night as a farewell for Yasmina and Safiye. It is the second house party we’ve hosted, flashbacks to the Crazy Sunglasses party on my second night in India. This time we kept it a little more exclusive, a smaller and more intimate crowd. As usual, Mo the Delhi DJ from Iraq hired a sound system and decked out the lounge. After a crazy night on Friday, we didn’t know what to do with ourselves on Saturday. Yasmina’s last night in India, we opted for a night in with friends, ordering takeout and playing games. Sometimes, those are the best nights. Sunday afternoon we ordered lunch from the infamous “Karims,” exactly what Sundays are made for. Then all-too-soon we were dropping Yasmina at the airport for her flight home to Morocco, the end of a year’s journey in India. We chilled the rest of the evening in Mocha, a late night coffee/chocolate bar, and watched films at home. Then on Monday Yasmine left midday on a flight to Kerala where she is traveling with her family before flying home to Paris. At least she’ll be back in late January. Then, freshly back from work yesterday evening, we accompanied Safiye to the airport before her flight home to Kansas.

So now it’s just the three of us; me, Alex and Jacek. I must admit that emotions have been running away with me this weekend. We have become such a close knit community, a second family. I have been living with these girls since I arrived in India, so the house feels dead and empty now they are gone. Good job I am traveling over Christmas, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself otherwise. The girls in Hex Tax are keeping us busy anyway, invites for dinner at Hex Tax C tonight and Hex Tax A tomorrow. Tomorrow and Thursday I finish off work on my project, then a Christmas lunch Thursday afternoon departing for Mumbai in the evening. Me and Alex meet Dasha for a couple of nights in Mumbai and then Mari and Bea join us for a third night along with some Indian acquaintances, and then the four of us train it all the way to Trivandrum, Kerela for new years on the beach with the AIESEC Chennai crowd. Then another long train to Chennai before flying back to Delhi on the 3rd.

I guess it’s not so long ago that we got back from Nepal, but already I am restless and I need to get out of the city. When we return in the new year things will be different, but new Kapoors recruits are in the making and I’m always ready for change. That said, the weekend has left me thinking about the importance of people and friends. After all, its the people that make a place a place, not the place itself. Here’s to the Kapoors family, wherever we are scattered now. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


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