The Millennium Festival took it all out of us. We were exhausted and needed a holiday. That year, Tony had put a lot of time and energy into our company “Jayanti Exports.” We had exported all the products made by Jayanti Crafts and were hoping to get some good sales. He had also worked on Covenant Tours and Travels, co-ordinating many teams of people going all over the place.
Raman and Kiron had taken on the leadership of the community and we were making plans to move to Delhi. It was hard, breaking the news to our young sons and daughters who had been part of our family for years. They had grown up with our kids and were like uncles, aunties and brothers and sisters to them. We had a lot of explaining to do; to our kids as well as to others in the community. We knew they were in good hands but that didn’t make it any easier.
Asha was twelve and Zoë was ten. I remember standing in the kitchen with them, talking about our move to Delhi. They were really upset. They loved their house and their friends. They thought we would live there forever. In many ways, so did we. Ash was particularly upset. She didn’t want to leave Mussoorie.
It was during that moment in the kitchen that we talked about Asha’s social life. She asked how she would be able to talk to boys in a big city. She was comfortable with Bhagat, Amar and the boys in the community but they were like brothers. She had never had a conversation with any other boys who were her age or older. The Kapur boys were always full of fun but they were also like brothers. She was nervous she wouldn’t be able to make friends again and she really didn’t want to have to.
Leaving Mussoorie was all quite surreal. We had a meeting to officially hand over to the Kapurs and then we left for Goa. There was no party or farewell. We did say goodbye to everyone, but in a way, it didn’t seem that it was the end. Everyone thought we were coming back.
We drove to Delhi and looked at a few flats. There was one in Kalkaji which we liked. The property agent shared his perspective with us in a low whisper, “Good place, but wrong address.” We thought he was just being snobby. We liked the place and we liked the address so we booked it.
After an amazing holiday, we got back to our empty Kalkaji flat and started shopping. We were starting all over again. The plan was to make a trip to Mussoorie after a week to get some of our things. The rest we were going to leave up there.
We soon found out the property guy was right. The place was good, but within the first week, we started to feel the wrongness of the address and it had nothing to do with snobbery. Our flat backed onto a very busy traffic circle. Traffic slowed down in the wee hours of the morning, but there was never a moment of absolute silence. On the circle were poles. On the poles were (very) loud speakers, which were used by all kinds of non-musical people who sang whenever they felt like singing. They would sometimes start at 4 am and finish at 6am. They droned on and on. The only way we could get sleep was to put our music on to drown it out.
We shopped non-stop mainly for kitchen goods. We had no furniture but we had mattresses. The kids had their own room, which was divided in two. The girls were on one side and Jordan was on the other. Tony and I had our room and there was a study near the stairwell. We were adjusting but happy.
A week later we headed back to Mussoorie. We stopped over at Yip and Frieda’s place in Dehra Dun for the night. Early the next morning as we were leaving we got a call from Jason. His voice was shaking. “Tony, I have some really bad news.”