They were all at the Bombay Presidency Radio Club in Colaba. The club acquired its name from India’s first radio station, which began broadcasting from the club in July 1923.
Harry had invited them for the Navratri celebrations on the pier. Couples dancing to Gujarati folk tunes while sword-fencing with sticks, gave Anu and Sanjib a taste of Navratri, in lieu of the Durga Puja festivities in Calcutta they had foregone to be in Bombay. They were here because Anu had to take custody of Raima’s apartment and take over her fixed deposits with HDFC Bank.
“What are we going to do with the money?” asked Sanjib.
“Why not invest in a start-up? Corporate tax has been reduced,” suggested Harry.
“I have been thinking on those lines. I left my lucrative job in the US to start a business, but Calcutta is not the place,” replied Sanjib.
“Let’s do it in Bombay. We have a beautiful house here, and Raima’s memories to keep us going,” said Anu.
“I would think so. And as Calcutta regains its past glory, you can start a new vertical there too,” added Harry.
“I would love that to happen,” said Sanjib.
Loud music took over as Swapna, Anita and Khush joined the party. Natasha, known to be an entertainer for being on a short fuse, was much missed. Nevertheless, the blast of music stirred them up. Garba had commenced! A wide circle of young men and women in colourful traditional attire were dancing in a form that originated in Gujarati folk dance. An idol of Goddess Durga stood at the centre of the circle. The dance picked tempo as the music changed to ‘Dholi taro dhol baaje’. This was the only time of the year when the club served liquor out in the open.
Although Navratri and Durga Puja are celebrated on the same nine days, the rituals differed from each other. Navratri ended with Dussehra, the final day of Ram Lila, and recalled Lord Ram’s victory over Ravana. Durga Puja began with Mahalaya, the day when the battle between Goddess Durga and the buffalo demon Mahishasura commences. The festivities concluded with the killing of Mahishasura on the tenth day. In other parts of India, the tenth day is also celebrated as Vijaya Dashmi.
Swapna also urged Anu to shift to Bombay. The two got along well.
“With work opportunities having dried up, Calcutta isn’t the city it used to be. Of course, we have our saving to keep us going,” remarked Sanjib.
“Bombay is the right place for you. Besides, I’m close to Worli, where you’ll be staying. That’s where my office is too,” added Swapna.
Anu and Sanjib were pulled in for garba. They were hesitant but Anita got them into the act it and she pulled Harry along. Khush and Swapna joined in. Anita looked slick in a trendy jacket long enough to be a mini skirt, and stilettos. Khush looked quite awkward dancing and never got the steps right. They all had a hearty laugh as ‘Nagada sang dhol’ played out and rushed to the bar on the first floor with an uninterrupted 180o view of the sea.
To be continued…