--- 8:50 PM Jayram Tea Stall (outside IIM, towards AMA) ---

Amdavadi kitlis never fail to throw up the bigger issues of life. Like, how many ‘adadhees’ can you have just before dinner?

Too many can cause a rearranging of spaces and gases in the stomach; and yet, having a solitary  one almost always stands the prospect of insulting the kitli owner. And Jayram, for one, remembers most things in life. To make matters worse, the fact of the chatter is that it’s not you, but the discussion over and across the moodhha that decides the number of steaming glasses that you empty into you.

Anyway, on a comfortably numb Ahmedabad November evening, Sharma, Parth, Maulik, Richu and Jigar are all seated in a very small circle. As usual, Parth finds the moodhha a little small for his gloriously successful seat: “I don’t know when would they learn to design good moodhhas”.

“Abey, yeh tere baap ke factory ka furniture nahin hai”  Jigar takes a dig at the furniture business of Parth’s dad  “yeh Asian paints ka peepa hai. And they never thought they’ll have to paint such a huge (pointing towards Parth’s behind) room”

Everyone bursts out laughing. Richu is the loudest. She’s new to the kitli culture and loves every bit of the world-famous-in-Vastrapur ‘guy mahotsavs’ at the kitli.

“Na hauye Jigar, your sense of humour has improved so much! I’m sure my 4-year-old nephew would really love you”
There goes Richu again, covering her mouth while continuing with her laughter. She has hardly spoken this evening. But even Jayram could tell that she’s quite happy at having found this kind of space in her life. The group treats her like a baby and her happiness always manages to find many ready smiles for company.

So then, what’s the verdict –   should Parthiv be in the team in place of Ganguly?

In place of Ganguly!” – wonders Parth. “And I thought the whole fuss was about Ganguly himself not being in the team”.

“Very intelligent of you Sir to have such refined sarcasm; but then, we don’t blame you. You have time to do overtime at office but don’t have time for the Kitli. Aur agar sarkar aa bhi gaye toh unke dono kaan aur &^$*% mein mobile ghusa rehta hai”  Sharma lets go his old grouse.

“Abey yaar, wapas chalu mat ho ja tu. I am in Sales and I have to sit during month endings.”

“Abey toh hum sab kya lukhkhe hain yahan?”

Yeah, great; things were heating up again between Parth and Sharma. As usual. Adding to the ritual, Maulik takes over the firefighting in his hands one more time. “Alya bund thaao bannei jana. Why don’t you two just talk out the issue?”

“What is the issue here? That I make sure I complete my work at the office? Or that I have three cell phones?”

“No, no. The issue here is that, since you are the only one working here, what method should we be employing to make sure that you do not get disturbed during your world-saving telephonic conversations”

“What the &%$#, what should I tell clients –  boss, I can’t talk to you because I have to entertain Sharma at the kitli?”

“Mere aise din nahin aaye hain ki I look forward to you for entertainment.”

“Hey come on guys, why do we have to do this every second day”. That was Richu.

“Simply because Khalid Sharma Mohammad does not understand that in sales, office hours never end.”

“Aw, come one; give me a break”  Sharma just stands up and leaves to buy a cigarette from Bobby.

“Abey uski problem kya hai?”

“He’s definitely over-reacting”, Maulik reasons, “but the fact of the matter is that you NEVER switch off. Not your mobile; not your work.”

“Well, if you’ve got such a big problem with my talking on phone. I think I’ll stop coming here.”

“But you won’t even try to switch off work after office hours, right?”

“%&$# it, I’m leaving”  Parth has had enough. He gets up from the moodhha, picks up his laptop and moves to his bike. No one tries to stop him, though Richu seems to be a little worked up.

“Don’t worry, aisa bahut baar hua hai”, Maulik tries to make Richu feel lighter. He then turns towards Sharma, “Sharma chal, we’re all leaving”.

“Arey pan, aa dar-roj ni maathakut no solution shu?” – Jigar asks.

“Main batata hoon”, Sharma walks in with a smug smile on his face. “The solution of this one is to award Parth the title of the only working soul of this planet. Saala. If Bill Gates can sit in an Aussie stadium and watch Olympics live, what is this guy’s business – selling bloody (business category)?”

Oops, things are now definitely going for a tailspin.

“Muko ne yaar, chalo let’s go”  Maulik tries to save the group of getting sucked into a bitter one.

Well, to begin with, no one at the kitli ever feels guilty if they spray their thoughts all over the place. Being a McGrath of conversations is not the pursuit of even the purists of kitli conversations.

Yet, the group did mule over the possiblitly of having Parthiv in the team in place of Ganguly. But before anyone could realize, it had all become about whether one should switch off completely from work after office hours.  Maybe the original conversation would happen some day soon. Or maybe when they meet again after dinner!

As for the latter subject, well, the jury is still out. Maybe they would think it over dinner and get back with renewed vigour. Of course, it seems highly unlikely that Parth would turn up again today.

PS: Just in case you share Parth’s surprise, the big one from the group is that Ganguly definitely deserves a place in the team. But since the present administrators and team management would have none of it, the group believes that at least some other “lefty” should be in the team.

Don’t think; just speak and sip tea at an Amdavadi kitli.


Author. Entrepreneur. Filmmaker. Journalist.

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