The ground is shaking under my feet. No, it isn’t a massive earthquake, but the rumblings still portend to something equally epochal. The next ultra-grand High School Reunion is upon us! Indications are that it is to happen on the third Sunday of December this year. Apparently, that is when all our Notable Runaway Indians (NRIs, for short) will be in town for their annual pilgrimage home. Oh, and local batchmates have been invited, too. After all, one needs bodies to fill empty seats and fluff up the background of the inevitable group photo. (In Bollywood, we might be addressed as Junior Artists – the ones who perform acrobatics behind the real dancing stars)
Jokes aside, a high school reunion is some serious shit. Sure, there is that small matter of planning and logistics, but the bigger concern is – Time. For starters, Time has not been kind to us. It has stolen things from us (e.g. hair, some teeth, dimples etc.) while dispensing needless things in return (e.g. pot belly, man-boobs, extra chins etc.). And secondly, there just isn’t enough Time left to have a fair shot at Renovating, Rejuvenating and Resuscitating oneself so as to be Ready for the Reunion. Remember, it is August, which means it is practically December already. I must get cracking with my “Prepare for the Reunion” To-Do List. Here are the items, and how they will play out at the Grand Event.
“I am prepping for the New York City marathon next year”. The PRIME requisite if one wishes to not look like a battle-tank at the party is to join a gym. Remember, gym membership is no magic wand, but if you could lose even 2 inches from your banyan-tree-like girth, you might be able to find a pair of half-decent XXL pants at Zara. And that shirt button might not pop out embarrassingly as you stutter while talking to the ex-hottest girl in school! (Plus, how do you anticipate holding your breath, and belly, in for four hours straight?)
“Looking good is all in my genes, really”. Let’s face it – Gravity is a bitch. Your once bright-as-sunshine face now looks like a water-colour painting left out in the rain. Thankfully, Botox and Hair Weaving are a XX-year-old man (and woman’s) new best friends. If you do visit these chums, make sure it’s a few weeks prior to the grand event, else your displaced eyebrows may make you look perpetually surprised at the party.
“Montek and I were discussing the world economy the other day”. To the uninitiated attendee of his/her High School Reunion, it always appears that everyone else but them is doing spectacularly well in life. It might make you wonder if you should have worked just a bit harder in your 12th standard, or attended at least a few classes in college. Anyway, it is a tall order trying to turn the tide on your so-called “career” in the next 4 months. In any case, I am thinking, people might be too polite (or astounded!) to question me if I just told them that I am the President of World Bank. Really, what is left to be asked after that? I am the fucking President of World Bank! I think I shall just stick to that story.
“Oh you have got to visit Ulan Bator!”. I am afraid Hong Kong and Thailand don’t even count as foreign trips any more – they might as well be Bhatinda and Nasik. By foreign trip, one really means swimming with the dolphins off the coast of Alaska, or climbing the Kilimanjaro etc. Since there is no time (I really mean money) to make those trips, I will just have to rely on Wikipedia and Discovery (to learn all the theory part, you see). Oh, and Photoshop, for the Facebook profile photo of me atop a yak in Mongolia. Go ahead, ask me about that funny incident that happened to me in Antarctica.
“Aaradhya looks really cute”. You are a non-entity unless you names-drop. Unfortunately for me, no invitations to Page-3 parties are coming my way any time soon. I might have to do the next best thing, i.e. go to Mumbai and get myself clicked outside Mannat or Jalsa. I can always pretend that I was just leaving after a personal visit to the residents there when the paparazzi got me.
“Aaja meri bohot badi gaadi mein baith ja”. Is your car an Audi Q5/7 or a BMW 7 series? I am afraid anything less than that is just a moped. I wonder what the housing market is like these days? I think this flat might be worth a small Mercedes.
“I can’t tell you how good it is to see you after 25 years! (I really can’t)”. Work hard to be social. It is a 2-step exercise. First, look up and memorize everyone’s names and faces on Facebook. Then, make sure that you have a full stock of trivial yet seemingly important statements that you will gushingly throw around at everyone you meet – e.g. “You look exactly the same!”, “Where is Vijay (or any common Indian name) these days?”, “You remember Keventers?”, “I was so bad at Hindi!”. Make sure you practice aplenty in front of a mirror. Under no circumstances should it appear that you absolutely don’t remember the person you are talking to.
“Of course! SRK performs at private parties all the time!”. Planning a party of this scale is hard. So, you must do your token bit to help out the organizers. For example, you could offer suggestions on the venue. Do make sure that they are highly exclusive and out-of-everyone’s budget range else you might get saddled with the responsibility of actually doing some leg work yourself. For example, you could say – “Have you tried the exclusive Sky Room Terrace at the Trident? It’s awesome! If someone could just talk to Biki Oberoi, I am sure we can get a deal for under-50,000 per head.”
The list may be long but, by God, it’s solid. However, in case inertia gets the better of you, at least get yourself the latest iPhone (when it launches in September) before you haul your sorry ass to the Biggest Party Of The Year! Maybe that will draw everyone’s attention away from you.