(I had started off this blog entry with the intention of writing about our shopping trips, but somehow I ended up writing about the first time we visited Noida after 4 years!)
There are a few places that absolutely claim me. These are places where the sweetest memories were made. One of these is Center Stage Mall in Noida. I think A and me practically lived there during our college years. At the time, the Great India Place was under construction, and it really was the heyday for CSM. Since A and I were in different universities, we used to bunk our colleges soooooo much to meet. We ended up getting letters at home about poor attendance! (We laugh about it now, but I was in some trouble at that time!) .
CSM is one of the places that served as the backdrop to our love story, and I love it for that. In some parallel universe that is running a few years behind, you’ll find A and I sipping coffee at the CSM Barista, having lunch at Pizza hut, escaping the heat in McDonalds, window shopping, watching movies at WAVE cinemas. You’ll find us in the Sector 18 market on cooler days, at the Dominos for the Cheese Bursts we love. There were hours and hours of mindless talks, of random observations, of shared secrets, of serious planning.
I absolutely craved marriage all through college and was obsessed with everything wedding related. I would take mental notes of anything I liked and made sure A heard my thoughts.
So imagine the immense happiness and satisfaction I felt walking back into that mall as a bride-to-be. I felt like we had come full circle. Now, CSM is not as it was then. The onslaught of the giant malls has dwarfed it. I do enjoy shopping at GIP much more, but there is sweetness to CSM that can’t be matched. It is amazing how the smallest of things can trigger memories. Things that were forgotten come rushing back. We remembered how we would park the car far away from the mall because the parking was cheaper (we were both kids on pocket money after all!), how we loved the chicken rolls in the Sector 18 Market, the chocolate mousse at Barista, the blackforest cake at Nirula’s. We remembered the times that A had to fight crowds at McD’s to get me ketchup, or ice cream. How A gave up having ketchup with pizza after I laughed at him at Pizza Hut.
That day, we walked in to the same familiar coolness, but some things had changed. Shops had closed, new ones had come up. There was a food court now. But the Barista was still there, the Pizza Hut was still there. I remember looking inside, as though looking for us.
We had lunch there at the food court, the whole time reminiscing, and making new memories.
This is something I had not expected – In my hurry to be the wife, I would miss being the girlfriend. Thankfully, today our chemistry is much stronger, but I would say that the biggest change is the availability of time. With no responsibilities, we would drive around wherever we wanted all day long. We could waste hours and days doing nothing except hanging out with each other. That is a luxury reserved for weekends now. I love the pace of our life, and the way we live it, but it is always sweet to look back to a simpler time.