A Ted Talk about social connectivity has me mulling over the importance of bonding in the workplace. I witness it happening at my school. Student activities forge beautiful friendships. So when my colleagues announce the (rare) office Diwali party, I extol its virtues, before agonizing over what I should wear. The dress code is a sari.
The following morning turns my red sari into a blue lehenga and the Office Diwali Party into the Office Diwali Lunch. Three hours, two potential thali places and one high-pitched discussion later, we find ourselves at Balwas, the cozy North Indian veg and non-veg restaurant at New Marine Lines.
Have we picked a festival-inappropriate place, we wonder as we peruse the menu.
‘Yes’, ‘no’, ‘who cares’, ‘we look gorgeous, we can do what we like’. ‘After all, it’s about the bonding’, ‘and the lights’.
Lovely. It is about bringing light… onto oil lamps, into lanterns, on our faces and in our lives.
It is also about making sure the kebabs and rabdi malai kulfi are gluten-free. These are my favourite, as is every biryani on the menu.
I am disappointed. There is a French lecture waiting for me. Who the hell works at Diwali? Someone who will not linger over the kebabs, the biryani, the paneer and veggie sizzlers.
I gulp and I gobble, slow enough to enjoy the rabdi kulfi but not fast enough to miss the unique blend of spices in the rice.
‘The seekh kebab has only chana dal flour, na, no maida?’ I ask stupidly, as I rush to the door.
I take a bite of the last kebab in vain. It has melted.
As shall the tiny candle lights that adorn my home tonight.
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