Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Bounce : Chapter 03

We rushed to the banquet hall to find that the audio systems were already set. The light guy had also arrived sometime back and was shouting orders at his workers.

Even though I didn't think it could get worse, at that precise moment, I knew we were in deep shit. 

Kumar was the one who had screwed things royally. And to add to it, he was now becoming cynical. At some point, I might have thought that he would have a nervous breakdown. Luckily, nothing of that sort happened.

Yetoo beckoned me and Dev outside the hall. We started discussing what should be our next plan be and what we would tell people if they actually did turn up for the show. We all agreed that it was too late to cancel anything now and we would eventually have to cough up the money whether we went ahead with the show now or decided to cancel it.

The sun had already set down and we were barely an hour away from the commencement of the show. We started calling up people from our college and hostels, even acquaintances that we might have met only once. The next half an hour went making short but frantic calls to people and bribing them with free food and beer. We were gonna pay for this party, so might as well let a few people fill up their tummies.  

And shortly afterwards, people did start arriving. Some dressed up properly for a party, some straight out of their beds for free food. We didn't mind. Our minds were too occupied with other thoughts. Almost everybody from our hostel turned up. We ushered them inside and urged them to start feasting. 

I kept checking the hall every 10-15 minutes to make sure that everybody was having a good time. The people inside were dancing and probably having a good time. In a hall meant for at least 500 people, there were barely 40 people dancing. It was a disaster but at least these people were having a good time. Not to mention, they were completely oblivious to our present situation. All this while, Kumar contributed in a big way by keeping his mouth shut and smoking rapidly. The tension did seem to get to his head now. Good for him!

Dev and Yetoo stood at the entrance and explaining people why Nicks couldn't make it to the party tonight and offered them refund and even free food and drinks. A couple had arrived and barely listened to whatever these two were explaining them and didn't really mind if there was no Nick show. They just wanted to hang around and so we let them in. The next time I went back to the hall to check the condition inside, I found the couple snogging in one corner of the room. Of course they didn't mind who was playing tonight. They needed a room to snog up and they got a big kickass room.

Kumar came and told me that he was going off to his place to arrange for some money and get his phone's charger because his battery was dying. I didn't know if I should slap him or kick him. I chose to remain quiet.

Pankaj came down the main lobby and was accompanied by 6 waiters. And these waiters seemed to have more of a bouncer's built than a waiters'. Great! The last thing we needed was being beaten up by 6 feet tall waiters. Did I mention that we were in deep shit?

The music played, people danced and ate and drank and then eventually started to leave. At around 11PM, all those that were left behind were about 10 guys from my hostel, a few of them being my seniors at college. The thinning crowd made the bouncers stand guard at the main entrance and make sure none of the organisers would leave without paying.

So, as midnight neared, this was the status of the Bounce party: 13 guys were held inside the hotel premises until the main organisers paid up the money. 

Also, Kumar still hadn't returned from his house. Think he still hadn't found his charger. Or made sure he didn't find it. 

I know this is getting repetitive, but did I mention that we were in deep shit? And had now possibly sunk in a couple of more inches. 

This night was still far from getting over.

I tried Kumar's mobile number but he didn't respond. Maybe he was driving back to the hotel or chose to not answer my call. Ditto with Dev and Yetoo's attempt to get in touch with him. We huddled together to decide what we should do next when Pankaj walked into the hall. He seemed as nervous as we were.

"I've spoken to my senior and he has agreed to give you time till I get off my duty to pay the outstanding amount."

"Pankaj ji, please listen to us. We have been..", I started.

Pankaj cut in, "Please don't tell me. I'm sure you have very convincing and genuine reasons but please understand that I'm also under pressure. I know you guys aren't responsible for this fiasco but somebody needs to take blame for the damage and it can't be me! I have a pregnant wife back at home to take care of! Please understand my predicament."

This was a dead end. How could you reason with a guy who already had his plate full of things? And to top it, his wife was pregnant! I honestly didn't know if I should feel sorry for him or congratulate him on the good news.

"We are sorry Pankaj ji. Let me see what we can do", concluded Yetoo.

With a renewed assurance, Pankaj left us to our miserable state.

We sat around our hostel friends and told them what we were dealing with. There was no point in hiding things from the people who were sticking around for us in a situation like this.

"Dude, you guys are screwed!", exclaimed Shotgun.

"Totally", pitched in Chingya.

"Royally screwed", contributed Hande.

"But I really loved the Paneer-tikkas!", said Nagashetti.

Everybody turned around to look at him and started laughing. His straight-from-the-tummy comment loosened up the atmosphere a little.

"Can't you ever stop thinking about food, you hairy monster?" said Hande.

"Hey! Do I ever complain about your size-zero figure or Shotgun's gigantic height or Chingya's weird cap?" shot back Nagashetti.

"What's wrong with my cap?" asked Chingya.

"The cap's right. You just make it look bad when you wear it!" replied Nagashetti.

"Cut it out you two! We have a situation here to deal with." said Hande.

"Where is this Kumar anyway?" asked Chingya.

He hadn't showed up till now and we were fearing what would happen if he didn't turn up at all. Who would pay Pankaj the balance amount? What would happen when his duty will be over in another couple of hours? Will we be beaten up by these waiters cum bouncers or will we be made to wash dirty dishes? Or worse, sent to police station! We had no certain answers but what we did know was that this was stretching into a long long night.

I got up, walked to and sat down next to Yetoo. "Happy Birthday", I wished him.

"Is it past midnight already? I completely lost track of time in all this commotion. Thank you yaar. I just hope I can have a normal and uneventful birthday from next time onwards. If there would be another birthday at all" said Yetoo.

"Haha. Don't be so pessimistic. Inshallah you'll have many more decades more to celebrate" I said.

"Inshallah" said Yetoo.

As we started laughing on our grim fates, the door opened and in walked Kumar.

For the first time in the last 24 hours, I was glad to see his face.

(to be continued)

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