A friend's father recently got a Big Deal position and she asked, over drinks at her house whether I'd like to go watch the swearing in. I think she just asked because I was there and I had been asking whether she'd have to move (obviously the most important of all the questions). She was as surprised as I when I accepted.
"But you'll have to wake up early in the morning," she said.
"I do wake up early in the morning!" I said. (Okay, but ten is early by some standards.)
"But it'll be hot and boring."
""How hot can it be at 9 am?" (oh, famous last words.)
So, a hand delivered invitation arrived at my home, all crested with the Government of India gold seal, three lions looking in different directions. The truth shall win. I felt a twinge of something, call it latent patriotism.
My mother, a former journalist, looked at me with amusement and skeptism. "I don't know what you're expecting," she said. "A parade!" I said, "A band!" "These affairs are really boring," she said.
|Early morning bathroom selfies
Going to the venue--also my friend's new digs--took a while. I began imagining future rendezvous' with her where I'd basically have to leave my house an hour earlier and then the sorrow of no longer having a friend close enough to access, but then, you guys, this house. Built originally as a British Secretariat, I believe, it has some ginormous lawns, a drive in lobby and enough rooms for your entire extended family to come and stay without once running into you. I would go into the government service just for a home like that--although, I'd probably have to wait till I was about 60 to get a nice place.
Here's the thing about government functions: they make you sit about 45 minutes before the whole thing begins. I wonder if I had left a little later, made my arrival by say 9.30, if I still would have gotten a seat. There were mist fans and everything, but it was sticky hot and everyone was using their invitations to fan themselves. I also realised Madam wouldn't be making an appearance, as security was not as tight as it could have been. I mean, it was tight, but not like crazy-crazy.
The ceremony itself lasted for about ten minutes. The gorgeously decked out police band played the national anthem, we all stood up. The
That might have been quite a political moment.
Then there was tea on the lawn which was ghastly. The coffee I mean, not the lawns, the lawns were lovely, but all of these government functions, says the person who has been to exactly three, have the worst coffee in the world.
"There should be mimosas," I said to a friend sitting next to me, whose second swearing in this was.
"There TOTALLY should," he said, turning his iPhone backwards and taking a picture of us. "Instead, darling," I said, wearily fanning myself, "There are samosas."
How we chuckled.
I abandoned my coffee for a vada and a paneer pakoda. There were also wilting cheese sandwiches and pastries. The journalists tucked in with gusto, going back for seconds. It's always the journalists. "May as well get a meal out of it," they say. Hey, I'm not judging, I'm the same way with alcohol. As soon as they break out the free drinks, I am by that bar. Still it's okay to feel vaguely superior to people who are super excited about a random pineapple pastry, she says up on her Cheesecake Is The Only Way high horse.
So that was my brush with politics this week. I figure you can't live in this city forever without going to at least one of these events.
"If you like that," says my mother, "I'll get you an invitation to the President's Independence Day tea party."
Um, more pineapple pastries? Count me in.