A day from a week in Puri

by shalinijena

‘We will be late!’ called out Neha from behind the junction where the bus was waiting for her three friends or besties or sisters or partners in crime (whatever, rolls her eyes). Suhina and Pooja came scurrying down the lane, each with two bags. They swapped their luggage halfway and resumed running again. Mostly you are not supposed to bother what they do, want or don’t, because none of it ever makes any sense. When these girls were in Bangalore together, the police ticketed them because they betted each other that miniskirts, alcohol, late-night bash and talli, all in a row (!) but this time they won’t pay any fine (And yea the lines were sung on tik tok’s background score) and ran into their patrol jeeps, had to bear to some big time rebukes and ended up home at 3 o clock in the morrow (a total mess :|).

Neha is the Mom of the group. She has to be. Someone has to look after the girls right? Priya was somehow better than the rest except that she can do really crazy things when she gets drunk. Really crazy: No. Not flashes. Neither sex… Harmless to the milieu and mortifying for her friends – she pees in her pants or slaps another drunk with her chubby smile (irresistible!). One good thing about hangovers, what happens in the past, stays there, right? 😉

So, with heavy bags (no trolleys, less clothes and more bottles) and too much food dangling on their shoulders they walked to the bus in their classy outfits with matching aviators and funky flip-flops (a background score to elucidate better 😉 ). Pooja’s father was some high ranking official in the police department (Now you know why they were ‘just’ ticketed) and they were going to live in the police accommodations facing the beach. Super excited and totally glee-some, the foursome set out on their journey to the land of Jagannath. Another thing that they were least interested to visit the Lord, all they wanted was the freaking beach, crazy boozing and an unforgettable week to follow.

Everything was according to the plan – till they reached their destination. No. Till they reached, sat, took breakfast and one of the bhaiya in the guesthouse handed them some paper captioned ‘Rules’ (what are they?) in their destination.

No boozing. No late night strolls. Dinner served at 8 and no loitering after 9 (including the beach :|). In short. No life.

With downed faces and sulky expressions, everyone knew that the party was done. They were so drained that Neha had to pull up and look beyond the rules.

‘We are checking out’, she said.

There were confused looks, wide eyes, What-the-Fuck looks (and words too) but yes, a spark on each one’s visage.

So, at 6 in the evening, they checked out from the register. And the moment they did that and crossed the boundary walls to the beach, they realized how utterly clueless everyone was. A strange land, with strange people (because they don’t speak the language) and a stranger, stranger – the auto-wala who was helping them find a place. It was like this that they were good in the backside of the auto when a man suddenly jumps into the first seat and helps them find a place. They told him that it was not required. He did not listen. They told him they were good on their own. He just said, girls. Ok. So, that was strict and these girls thought may be they were in the land of Jagannath had some really good people to help travellers. Infact, Priya somewhere in the middle of all the chaos, tension (it was 9 already) named him ‘God sent’. They cribbed for every place the auto wala took them. There was no beach! They said. After hours of dejected search, hopelessness started vexing Neha and she wondered if her idea was a chop. It was too late to even return back, not that the police people won’t heed, but they might have to call Priya’s dad to get them convinced.

The hotels that were directly facing the main beach were so dingy and unhygienic that they knew it was impossible to be there for five minutes, let alone an entire night. Screwed, confounded and a little more scared than the rest, Neha proposed a place near to the beach. The man with the auto wala asked him to take a right and they reached a place with only buildings. The buildings were separated by walls, so obviously it was a closeted area. Neha resented it without any thought. Others groaned. Suhina was already heading towards to the entrance when Neha noticed a shack made of bamboo and all, lighted yet dim. A positive cadence hummed within her and she asked the girls to have dinner there. They asked, and then? They go back, Neha said. They groan, thrash and abuse (not the bad one. Just few more fuck words) again.

But they were not the only pain. The auto wala took his money and scooted off. But this unwelcomed-man-who-seemed-so-helpful-but-was-a-drunk-idiot started asking for money. He asked for a hundred bucks and no matter how much money they had, Neha made sure he did not get one penny. And it seemed that the man knew the owner of that hotel, so the idea of checking in made her even more diffident and abashed. She entered the shack alone. The ambience was freaking awesome. Foreigners and sophisticated Indians on one side and a neat bar on the other, they entered with bags and drained out faces. As Neha reached the counter to ask if they had a washroom, a tall man who looked Indian but spoke sexy French plus English asked her if they were in search of a place to live. She said they were. He smiles and asks them how many rooms they wanted. She said two. 400 bucks a person per night, he says. She looks at him for less than a second and then at her friends, who were too busy fooling and says Book them please.

They take their food and Suhina sees some people entering some door after dinner. Neha had not planned to tell them till the end but then Suhina was too curious and got up to check what was inside. So, she said We are sleeping here tonight and waited for their reactions. They said. Sure! We will sleep here! She mentally banged her head for one more time and said, ‘I got you guys two rooms here.’

They lived in the inn for some 3-4 days and went back to the police accommodations for some peace. But what they did and did not do in those few days was not only something they would never forget in their entire lifetime but also something they don’t even get to remember. Only Neha was non boozer there and that too because someone has to keep a  ✔ check. So obviously, she was the one who told me the story of their crazy adventure- boozing, sun bathing, dancing, music, boys and lots and lots and lots of ultimate Fun! No one returns empty-handed from the land of Jagannath, do they? 😉

P.S – Those who have to tell me that this is unethical in such a holy place, I ask them, who told them what is holy and what is not? Happy, smiling faces with no regret is what is holy for me. And you? :p

P.P.S. – Oh and yes, they sang ‘miniskirts, alcohol, late-night bash and talli, all in a row (!) but this time they won’t pay any fineall night! In every possible tuning they had heard, Pooja probably came up with a poetic cadence to differ.

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