'Why? Don't worry, it is not just priests. Many young, working people will also come.' 'I don't like politics,' Ish said. 'Huh? This isn't politics, son. This is a way of life.' 'I will come,' Omi said. 'But you should come too, Ish. We need young blood.' Ish stayed hesitant. 'Oh, you think Parekh-ji is some old, traditional man who will force you to read scriptures. Do you know where Parekh-ji went to college? Cambridge, and then Harvard. He had a big hotel business in America, which he sold and came back. He talks your language. Oh, and he used to play cricket too, for the Cambridge college team.' 'I will come if Govind comes,' said Ish the idiot. Mama looked at me. In his eyes, I was the reason why Hindu culture had deteriorated lately. 'Well, I came to invite the three of you in the first place. He only said he doesn't believe in God.' 'I didn't say that,' I said. Oh, forget it, I thought. 'Then come.' Mama stood up. 'All three of you. I'll give Omi the address. It is the grandest house in Gandhinagar.'
ď‚Ť People called me Mr Accounts; greedy, miser, anything. But the fact is, I did organise an all-expense-paid booze party to motivate my partners at the shop. It is bloody hard to get alcohol in Ahmedabad, let alone bulky bottles of beer. One of my contacts - Romy Bhai - agreed to supply a crate of extra strong beer for a thousand bucks. At 7 p.m. on the day of the party, Romi Bhai left the beer -wrapped in rags - at the SBI compound entrance. I came to the gate and gave Romi Bhai the day's newspaper. On the third page of the newspaper, I had stapled ten hundred-rupee notes. He nodded and left. I dragged the cloth package inside and placed the bottles in the three ice-filled buckets I had kept in the kitchen. I took out the bottle opener from the kitchen shelf, where we kept everything from Maggi noodles to boxes of crackers to burst when India won a match. Another person may see the abandoned SBI branch as an eerie party venue. This used to be an old man's haveli. The owner could not repay and the bank foreclosed the property. Thereafter, the bank opened a branch in the haveli. The owner's family filed a lawsuit after he died. The dispute still unresolved, the family obtained a court injunction that the bank could not use the property for profit. Meanwhile, SBI realised that a tiny by lane in Belrampur was a terrible branch location. They vacated the premises and gave the keys to the court. The court official kept a key with Omi's dad, a trustworthy man in the area. This was done in case officials needed to view it and the court was closed. Of course, no one ever came and Omi had access to the keys. The property was a six-hundred square yard plot, huge by Belrampur standards. The front entrance directly opened into the living room, now an abandoned bank customer service area. The three bedrooms on the first floor were the branch manager's office, the data room and the locker room. The branch
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