I swirled to the music of ‘Poets of the Fall’ playing on my ipod, reverberating through the speakers spread across the red brick walls of the pub flooded with red light. I smiled content at the positive turn of events. Just a while ago, my friends and I, with no New Year Eve’s plan but a firm resolve of not blowing up money in clubs and then throwing up, had somehow landed at this pub, which had no cover charges but had been completely deserted, save for two lonely bored waiters.
We looked at each other. “Isn’t this place too private and quiet for tonight?” With a shrug, “Let’s have one drink and decide what to do.” So we ordered our first round of drinks. Overjoyed at having some company, as festive nights make one feel miserably alone, one of the waiters scurried to the computer screen, scrolled for a peppy number, clicked it, increased the volume and then stayed there, searching for the next song to appease us and make us stay. I had an idea, “Can I connect my ipod? “Sure”, he smiled cheerfully, with the weight lifted.
A couple walked in. I thought with dismay, they might not like my taste in music, which ranged from Pink Floyd to Nickelback, from Madonna to Beatles but was certainly not in sync with the popular choice for the festive spirit of New Year. The couple quietly sat at another table and ordered their round of drinks. After a couple of shots the girl started dancing, dragging the boy with her. After a couple of more drinks, she dragged everyone including the waiters to the dance floor and here we were dancing to the tune, enjoying our private party where each individual mattered and no one threw up or stepped on else’s shoes.
Another couple, with interlocked bodies, walked in, perhaps scouting for the privacy of a room without having to pay the price, but the girl of the first couple was too drunk to heed and dragged them also to the dance floor. They soon exited our pub in search of a private corner in a secluded place or in the midst of a frenzied crowd.
The clock struck 12. Fireworks lit up the sky and resounded in our eardrums. We hugged and wished each other and turned to bid farewell to the couple but the girl would not let us go. They paid for our drinks and bought a bottle of Champagne. We resisted but the girl protested, “he works outside India and earns in pounds”. In her present state, it was not possible to argue with the girl. We meekly followed her upstairs to their room and then stayed up all night, drinking champagne and listening to her narration of their love story.
We finally fell asleep towards the crack of dawn but the morning sun soon bore into our eyes, forcing us to abandon our slumber. The couple was gone. We scorched the hotel and enquired but no one at seemed to remember him or her. We enquired about the pub waiters and learnt they had been temporary staff filling in for the New Year’s Eve and had not left any contact numbers.
Was the couple just a figment of our imagination? Can’t be, right, if all three of us remembered them? But what if the memory was a story we had concocted together in our inebriated state.
“Look, I have a photograph on my phone!” “But this is of the other couple, looking for a private space.” “When did we click pictures with the other couple?”