Considering I just got married in January, I was surrounded by long lost friends who I had never met before. An old friend of Dad’s who had seen me as a kid or my husband’s school friend who he was meeting after ages. Everybody was so excited about our wedding. And you know the best part, if I meet them again sometime in the future, they expect me to remember their name, their village and how much they enjoyed our wedding! *sigh* Such is life.
However, the most interesting lot was these friends of my husband. He has various lots of friends. Ones he hangs out with everyday. Ones he parties with once in a while. Ones he drinks with at Clubs only or the ones who are too busy to keep working and he meets them only on special occasions. So one of these too busy to meet unless on special occasions was there.
We had met his parents around Christmas. His father taught my husband swimming. So they were swimming buddies. He promised to come for the wedding but unfortunately couldn’t make it. That said and done he was there for the reception in Bombay. That’s the time I met him for the first time.
He was a podgy short fellow, no taller than I am. Spiked hair, fair eyes and an unbelievable large paunch for a swimmer. That to a state champion but then my husband was a state basketball player and a state football champion and look at him now. He looks like a grizzly bear. But ya, back to his friend. He introduced himself when we were on the stage and started chatting with me like I was his long lost friend.
I did know my husband’s back history with this particular friend and had spoken to him a couple of times but this kind of casualness made me sort of uncomfortable. Expecting me to drink and smoke with all my in-laws in around and in my sort of bridal attire was kind of hilarious. He always leaned slightly back and spoke in the Amitabh Bachchan stance from Agneepath.
Cut to the day we met him again for drinks and dinner. His wife and another friend and his wife were there. The other couple were dentists and wife is a fashion designer, I think. The seating was such that I was facing the three boys. Grown up with boys I tend to get along better with the other gender in any case. The conversation jumped from how my husband and I met to what I do to why have we decided to settle in Calcutta leaving Bombay etc.
The night continued with drinks pouring and he being magnanimous with the drinks flowing and pulling all stops to ensure we kept drinking after the bar closed. Was kind of a brag. Everything about him seemed so fake. A put on. As if trying to impress his friend’s wife. We shared a smoke outside and he was kind enough to find a matchbox in an empty club. By the greens we connected on paintings. He is an art collector but he collects art to sell later rather than what appreciates value the longer you look at it. Money-minded. Won’t even leave human expression in its purest form out of it. He talks well, enunciates his words carefully and hence always manages to capture his audience and convince him of his genuineness. The evening went of well with glimpses of true self emerging when drunk. The non-caring eyes, the chauvinist who believes his wife is there to take care of him irrespective. The one who is boisterous and obsessive for no reason at all. However, every time he slipped a quick cover up made by his wife.
When we got back my husband got back to Calcutta, he warned me about doing any business with him and that got me wondering which side of his was true. The one he had put on or the one he let slip.