I was on track to complete my journey in Cochin on the 28th of January, as scheduled. The invitation from K. Allaudin IAS to attend his daughter’s wedding in Chennai changed my plans. I decided to extend the journey for 4 days and accommodate the function. Allaudin has been a dear friend from our days as probationers in the Academy in Mussoorie. Hailing from Tamil Nadu and having spent most of his student days there he had a tough time adjusting to the cold and chill of the Hill Station. I will never forget the ‘monkey cap’ which was the trademark of Allaudin in the Academy.
After reaching Chennai I called up Allaudin to tell him that I will be at the venue by 11 am. He ‘ordered’ that I be there at 10. I had come to Chennai only for this and hence I readily agreed to meet him early to chat. I landed up at the venue with Abraham and Ajay and was immediately sucked up by the vast humanity that thronged the marriage venue. With strong connections of either parties to the political and bureaucratic circles of Tamil Nadu, the marriage was like an open social function. The marriage and the reception were attended by the CM of TN and very many high officials and politicians. It took Ajay and me an hour to reach the newly wedded couple on the dais. I feared a stampede. The crowd was so large that I did not get the time to greet and chat up batch mates. I had to be content with shouting a hello to some of them from a distance.
Savio is my Uncle but is younger to me by three months. He has been in the Apollo Hospital with diabetes related illness for the past few weeks. Abraham, Ajay and I spent some time with Rani and Savio in the Hospital. We were happy to be told and note the definite progress being made.