Dear Readers, you may notice the dates of the Blog do not match the Flash Post dates which are in real time. The blog was written in 2009 and saw the light of day 6 months back when my younger daughter discovered it and decided to bring it to you here.
“Kaun Hai”! Flash Post 447

“Kaun Hai”! Flash Post 447

Button, you know Dost and I were in Singapore last week on some business matters and put up where we usually put up when we are in Singapore which is a tiny little hotel on Orchard Road that’s been almost home for many years. First and foremost, it is centrally located which makes it very convenient for the two of us to walk to any destination we want to travel to and return to our hotel without losing our way and also because of the familiarity it brings. The streets and roads are streets and roads we have walked many times and the cafés are cafés we have frequented again and again and again—Paul’s being just one amongst them.

I am aware and I got to know that you had a wonderful time strolling into art galleries, waking up late, going for long and leisurely walks, eating when you felt hungry and basically doing everything you don’t get to do here. How did it feel?


That’s nice.

By the 4th day both Dost and I started missing the children and called or messaged them often asking them to join us even if it meant spending a couple of days with us.

By the way, I was part of the plan.

Oh, really? So you knew that both of them were travelling to Singapore to surprise us! And you, my buddy, my partner, didn’t tell me a thing!

It was meant to be a surprise! Give me the tidbits on how their hush-hush trip unfolded?

It was our sixth day and, exactly like the past five days, Dost and I woke up around 12 noon—Singapore time—had a cup of tea with Marie biscuits I had packed in a Solimo container and carried all the way to Singapore, showered leisurely and left the hotel around 2.30 in the afternoon.

Does that mean you skipped breakfast?

In the hotel, yes. We had earlier decided that we didn’t want to be a slave to their breakfast timings which is between 6.30 and 10.30. The idea of this break was to be rid of any kind of bondage. And deadlines. And do only what we desired.

So the two of you left the hotel around 2.30 in the afternoon and went straight for lunch?

That’s right. On our previous trip to Singapore, we had discovered a tiny bakery very close to the hotel that sells croissants baked fresh every couple of hours. We went there and shared a plain butter croissant as well as one stuffed with grilled mushrooms topped with Brie that was to die for. We followed this up with a hot apple pie, had an Americano and a cup of hot chocolate and went for a leisurely walk. We broke it a couple of times, sat on roadside benches and watched the frenzied pace of the younger generation scurrying by and going about their frenzied lives with awe. After walking for almost 3 kilometers, we walked back to the hotel and got under the duvet for a long nap which neither of us have taken in years. That was one treat we indulged in every day.

I envy you.

We spent the evening having a cup of tea and stayed in and ordered a margarita pizza from room service.  On four out of the five days of our stay, we had walked out again in the evening without any destination in mind, grabbed something small to eat and returned to our hotel room, chatted with the girls, read and hit the sack by 1.

Sounds great. I’d give my right arm to do all those things anyway.

While we were relaxing in our room on the 6th day of our trip after a fabulous lunch at Din Tai Fung,  we heard a gentle tap on the door. I looked at Dost and wondered who it could be!  Even he had no inkling and the thump that followed was loud and impatient. Guessing it could be someone from room service or housekeeping—though I had not called for anything—I made my way towards the door.

And then?

There was a much louder thump this time. Dost got out of bed too and the both of us moved towards the door stealthily completely puzzled. Dost strained his eyes and looked through the peephole to see if he could spot someone. When he didn’t he became even more anxious!

Did you, even for a split second, guess who it could be?

It struck me once that it could be the girls but I had spoken to barididi over the phone just 10 minutes back! I got to know later that she had called me after landing in Singapore. When I opened the door with Dost a few steps behind me, there was nobody there and then I looked down and saw two gleaming steels containers outside the door. They seemed familiar because they were from our kitchen back home!

You never guessed the didis could be there even after seeing and recognising the steel containers?

I did—because they had also paid us a surprise visit when we had travelled to Dubai and left packets of Camy snacks outside the door—but not Dost! Thinking they were some kind of explosive someone had placed outside the door, he shoved me aside and shouted loudly “Kaun hain”?

That’s crazy! In Singapore of all places!

Hearing him, both girls came out of their hiding places squealing in laughter. Had it not been for Dost’s “Kaun Hain”, they would have been in their hideout for a bit longer but they couldn’t hold back their laughter any more. We were in splits, picked up the containers and gorged on puri/bhaji they had carried especially for Dost who misses Indian dishes when he travels abroad.

But it’s unthinkable that he could have shouted “Kaun Hain” in a foreign country!

Choti caught all this on camera from the time I opened the door to Dost shouting “Kaun Hain” till the time I picked up the containers and carried them inside. It was actually a double bonanza for us with them dropping in and the food they had carried for us.

In all, a good time spent by the family.

Most definitely.

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