It is a hot Sunday afternoon in Noida's Sector 62.
I am dropping off, in a cab, while my friend J waits for a real-estate broker to turn up and show us some rented accomodation.
The ATM, the lone one visible for miles around - a mildly disconcerting phenomena in modern ATM-every-100-yards-cities - is sleepy.
The dusty road is sleepy.
The half-constructed buildings are sleepy.
The play-school - daringly painted in blues, reds, yellows (?) and whites - is a sleepy reminder of where our country's future architects and dress designers acquire their unforgiveable aesthetics.
The homes across the half-mile wide roads look more dead than sleepy. Not a child plays. Not a bird sings. A leaf moves, reluctantly, goaded by a sleepy breeze. No cabs, no autos zip past. One cycle-rickshaw trundles past, on an average, every half hour. A zigzagging row of sleepy buffaloes trudges past.
I am, understandably, sleepy.
J is, understandably, depressed.
"You could commute...?"
"Need a car."
"Need money... have loans."
Now, I'm mildly depressed too.
No car, no money. No broker in sight and no access to the happening malls we'd heard so much about.
Suddenly, J begins to count - '2, 4, 6, 8... that's 50 grand.'
I say, "What?"
"50,000 rupees... on the road."
I stare, then roll down the windows and stare harder. "Where?"
She nods at the row of ambling buffaloes, "Amit Varm'a post on the cost of buffaloes, remember?" (For the life of me, I cannot locate that link, despite an hour of googling. Amit, help?)
As I try to picture us - stealing buffaloes, a young cowherd, brandishing a lathi, in hot pursuit, while we try dragging the beasts to the nearest car showroom, attempting to exchange our loot for a second-hand Maruti....
we collapse into giggles.
Two of the buffaloes turn to us and amble over. J squeals, "roll up the window, roll up the window."
I don't. "Maybe they overheard, and are coming over to negotiate a deal."
We giggle louder.
If I wasn't giggling, I'd have described the vision in my mind - in glassy, air-conditioned splendour, these dark beauties regally wallowing in a specially-crafted mud-pond. But we couldn't stop giggling.
And then, the sleepy Sunday afternoon in Noida is not so sleepy after all.