Renting a Tux

- 13 mins

I need to go to Kavita’s wedding in Mumbai on Sunday, 22 Jan 2017. It is a Christian wedding in the evening and a traditional Hindu style wedding in the night. Since I actively avoid social congregations of any kind, I have not yet attended one. I don’t know why I am traveling to attend this one, but I digress. Being fashion averse, I also do not own a coat or suit of any sort. The only formal attire I have is that I bought (had to) for office. Bah! Sometime after first hearing the news that there is going to be such and such wedding and my parents are going to come attend it, I had decided to attend it as well. On a whim, I decided I would buy a tuxedo for it as well and not tell anyone about it until I had to wear it for the wedding. Though, I procrastinated and ended up not going to get one by the day before I was supposed to leave for Mumbai.

Somehow, I got the glorious idea that evening; the 19th, that I could rent one instead of buying for my ever changing body shape. Buying a suit is a big investment to make and I cannot see any point in the future I would need to make use of it. On a whim, I asked my boss if he knew where I could rent a tuxedo. He didn’t know, but told me to ask another guy, a Christian himself with comparable body shape as mine. He told me I could use his blazer but did not know where to rent one, but said that he’d ask around. He also had the utterly obvious advice of looking it up online. D’oh!

I did, and I found one; though there weren’t many details about the shop. Especially when it closed. I was looking this info up in the evening, when most of the office had cleared out. It must have been after 6:30 or even 7. I called the number and got to know that the shop is open till 9. The owner, who I talked to even messaged me the address. Looking the address up on Maps, I found that it was too far away to make it by Bus No. 11. I do not have a vehicle here myself and did not want to take a cab because it would have been too costly. Taking the bus was looking an attractive option. I tried to comprehend the bus route and made a little idea in my head as to what I needed to do to reach my destination. I was fully prepared to fail and felt I could go on a trial run and get the tux the next day, which was when I was supposed to leave.

I asked my boss for the office key and he arranged for it to be left with the guard. I left my stuff and walked back to Pharmerz to take a friend’s opinion on my available modes of transportation. After a little powwow with her and another friend, we came to the decision that I need to take the “Swargate” bus from such and such bus stop and ask the conductor where I could get off. Around the time we had been discussing this, there arrived a “Swargate” bus crossing the intersection we had been standing at. We had a laugh. But the bus slowed down a little ahead and stopped! We had no idea there was a stop here. It started moving again before I could react and took a left turn towards Hotel Lotus. Reacting quickly, I asked the other friend with the vehicle if she could take me and follow the bus. We set off and after a short slow speed chase, the bus slowed and stopped again a small distance ahead of my society. I got off and managed to catch the bus as it started moving again. I asked the conductor where I needed to get off for “Sadashivpeth”, since that was the area I needed to go. Though I was unable to understand which place he told me, I was assured that I would be notified when it was time.

I quickly lost track of the path the bus took. It was amazing how it was being driven, with such precision and on impossible seeming places. Sometime later, the conductor signalled me that my stop was coming, and I got off. He also told me to take a right at the next signal for “Sadashivpeth”. I looked up in Maps where I was and sure enough, he was right about the direction. But the particular place I needed to go to was further ahead on the road. I set off and passed “Dagdu Sheth Ganpat Mandir”, which is one I had been told about when I had initially come here. Saw it! Accidentally. It was pretty simple to follow the map and when I had reached close enough, I entered a lane where it was quite dark. Contrary to initial expectations, I had even managed to reach this place by about 8:30 so I had plenty of time in had before the shop closed. The address said the shop was near some hall so I tried to find that hall. But after walking a little while in the lane, I spotted the hoarding for the shop in a dimly lit building. I never did find that hall.

The shop was much bigger and swankier than I had expected. There were no other customers when I arrived, but one came a little later. I was helped by a nice, older gentleman and I quickly tried on a tux that fit me nicely. It seemed a little uncomfortable and moved about when I moved my arms, but after trying on one size too big, it made sense to me that the first one was the best size for me and it was probably just my inexperience wearing one. The trousers (as expected) did not fit me for the tux’s size and I needed one size bigger. Its length was too short and I was told that one would be ready for me the next day. I told them I had to leave in the evening after 6 and I was told to come around 4 to pick up my tux with my sized pants.

I had not thought about the return journey. I felt a little lost after I left the shop and spent a few aimless moments. I saw a few bus stops around my location and walked to one. I asked a couple of people about any bus to Koregaon Park and no one seemed to have any clue. One of them asked me what was special to see there and I told him that I did not know. One guy said to take the bus for Pune station and that one would be arriving shortly. When one did come, after somewhat longer than shortly, I got on it thinking I could take the tracks home. The bus meandered about and even shut off at one point and finally reached its last stop. This was a part around the station I was unfamiliar with and needed a little assistance on which path to take to reach the station. It turned out the be an underground pathway lined with shops and things, just like I saw many years ago at CST. It brought me back. I was really hungry at this point and had less than Rs. 50 cash on me. I decided that I would order something online when I was back and settled at the office.

My walking shoes had been washed after my trip the previous week and were not dry yet. I was wearing my short distance shoes and I knew I needed to walk very carefully the long distance home on the rough terrain ahead. I made slow progress and did not really feel like in a hurry at all. Even though I was hungry and most places closed by 11, I didn’t have a care in the world. I was winging it. I was in the middle of Ghorpadi’s platform when the call from home came. That was about 10. I went to my room first and tidied up my clothes and things, had a little chat with Pratik, who was due to leave to Mumbai for an interview the next day. When I finally reached the office, the guards themselves were having a tasty looking Noodles dinner. I got the key and opened a dark office, lit only by the yellow, orange and red LEDs of peoples’ computers. All my stuff was where I had left it.

I was intrigued by Chicago Pizza and the big slices they were serving. I got one with a side order of Cheesy Fries and Iced Tea to wash it all down. I quite liked the tea but the fries were not very nice after the delivery. The slice, though tasty had become a little tough. But I liked the place and might go there sometime in person. I worked and played a little and then settled down to sleep. Evening well spent.

The next morning, I went to pick up my clothes. I had given those the previous weekend and had totally forgotten about them. I had also wanted to have my beard trimmed before going to the office but I decided to pay the Pharmerz team a visit. I ended up spending a lot of time there and dropped the beard idea, thinking I have Saturday to make up for it. I also need a full sleeved white shirt for the tux. Apurva G. was willing to provide me her vehicle to go pick up the tux. I had figured taking the bus around 4 would not leave much time for me to make my train that left at 6:35. Later, I thought of taking someone along with me to hold the tux while I drove. I finished off as much work as I could and left after lunch. I tagged along with the rest of the SpiderG team, that were going to pay Pharmerz a visit. Apurva S. was ready to help me out. Roshan Sir needed to have a parcel picked up and that place was somewhat close to where I needed to go, so we were going there as well.

Armed with the power of satellites, we set off with Apurva telling the route to take. We knew that the place opposite Model College. It turned out to be “Modern High School” and inside a lane opposite. We got the package and checked the route to my place from there. It was pretty close by and we got there without any hassle. I needed to make a final check for the particular lane where the shop is since I had gotten confused about the direction.

The tux was ready. I had a quick trial of the pants and settled everything and we went off. The roads are weird here, some one ways as well. I ended up going on a one-way for a short while before realising that I was the only one going in that direction. The way back was marred with miscommunication and bad direction. We missed the shorter way back and were going a long way, moving slowly in heavy traffic to boot. I mentioned that we would stop to fill up petrol near Koregaon Park but the vehicle went dry near the station. It was around 4 then, I think. Checking maps revealed that the nearest petrol pump was about still a bit far. Seeing no other option, I started walking back but I had great luck and found one not too far that was not even mentioned on the map. It was a huge relief and I ended up filling Rs. 100 worth. I decided to take the South Main Road route back to Koregaon Park but ended up going North since there was no way to make a u-turn after the Ghorpadi bridge. But I used Lane 2 to get off the busy North to go South and overshot to Lane 7 and came back where I went from.

When I went back to my room to pack, it was after 5. Wanting to carry my shoulder bag with the tux separately, I realised late that I needed to pack shoes as well. I hurried to move my stuff into my purple suitcase and it was after 5:52 when I was ready to leave. Though I had not drank Mountain Dew earlier in the day, I felt mad enough to walk. And I did; for my 6:35 departing train. I walked in a hurry, exchanging my suitcase and tux between my hands, deliberately not stopping to look at the time. I was alarmed to see it was 6:23 when I stepped on Platform 1. I looked at my ticket and kept the train no. in mind. It was now possible to roll my suitcase and I moved quicker. It was with some disappointment that I noticed that my train was not on Platform 1. But the announcement quickly came that I needed to go to Platform 2.

I ran up the stairs the best I could and on the bridge, saw that I was behind the train altogether. More disappointment. When I came down, I took out my phone, still waking and glanced at my bogey. D6. The last 3-4 compartments were General bogies. Not this time, I had reservation. Seeing some space, I started to run with the suitcase rolling on behind me. D1, D2, D3, D4, D5, C1! Whatttt!! I rechecked my ticket. D6, not D5. I was not mistaken. I could see C2 behind C1, but I kept moving forward. I was anticipating the sound of the train about to leave any time. My hoodie was wet with perspiration long by now. My belt had become unfastened in my running. From a distance, I faintly saw D6 after C2. Phew! I slowed down when I reached my bogey and took my time to read the passenger manifest to find my seat. I got in and had yet more trouble finding my proper seat among the faded and overwritten seat number badges. I asked an elderly gent where no. 85 was and it turned out I was in the correct place. I settled down on 87 (birth year!) and checked the time; 3 mins to departure. 4 mins later, the train started moving.

Some time later, I had cutlets and then settled down to write this.

P.S.: I saw a local train at Lonavala.

The end result

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