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153: The Thrill In The Uexpected

2 Jun

Ever since I got here, I’ve experienced a series of unexpected joys. As I was very matter-of-factly walking towards the bus shuttle after exiting the airport, I chanced upon the first bus in line, which was relatively empty, that I decided to get home by. On approaching the bus, there she was sitting right in the front seat in direct sight – my first ever psychology teacher from back in the day. One really finds it difficult to sum up all the feelings that bubble and gurgle within you…a fine blend of shock, excitement, confusion, joy, thrill, all woven into a fabric of beautiful memories put together. We couldn’t believe our chance meeting – on a bus out of so many buses, at an airport of all places; and after what’s soon going to be 15 years. Of course this count was meant to highlight just how long it’s been, except it also reminds me just how long ago I finished my 10th board exams. It goes without saying that we spent the rest of the bus ride seated next to each other, sharing titbits from our life and experiences, and how the journey has been so far. To say that the ride was too short would fall short of how I felt; where’s that traffic jam when you really need it?!

In-keeping with this, and as if I hadn’t walked back in time enough, I passed my school during functional school hours yesterday for the first time since I’d left it. As I drove past it, I couldn’t resist the urge to get off the car and walk right in, to just perhaps see if I could meet the teachers I’d once spent every single day of my life with. And I did. I still cannot describe the feeling; perhaps the connections run so deep that they’ve remained embedded somewhere within me in a place that’s hard to access. Time really isn’t enough when you’re walking down memory lane. Sometimes words aren’t, either.

It’s a strange feeling, this. There’s always been an indefinable friction within me to go back to where I came from. Notwithstanding the trying times that they were, and not discounting the amazing things that were also happening back then, it really isn’t a road I like to walk down. Things change, people change, everything changes. Apart from this insecurity of not being remembered or being acknowledged like you perhaps once were, it’s this strange tug of war stepping back in time versus watching your memories from the safety of disconnected distance. As I walked away from these two episodes, it only reminded me that as the years pile up, so do our own thoughts and perceptions of the whats and hows. To say I didn’t take away so much from these experiences and in turn give so much to these experiences as well, would negate the actual power of reminiscence, time, and life itself.

86: Of Revisits

27 Mar

The drawback of this challenge is that I’m constantly looking for potential blog posts whenever and wherever. It sucks because I become that creepy blogger who sneaks up on every unaware moment and throws the spotlight on it; waiting to prey on it with my bloggers’ magnifying glass. Sometimes I allow myself to be this way, sometimes I let go and let the blogger in me curse myself. The former option gratifies the post-hungry me, the latter gratifies the moment-hungry me. What can I say, it’s a win-win, lose-lose situation depending on how you perceive it.

I will not stop to tell you about the nasty pizza that ruined the culmination of what was an otherwise gorgeous weekend. I will also not stop to give you the gory details of just what it did to me and still continues to bestow on me. *have mercy* However, I will stop to tell you about revisiting my early twenties which were dotted with visits to my favourite pub (which of course, and sadly, doesn’t exist in its erstwhile form anymore).

Come Saturday evening, once we’d dropped my MIL off and returned back (to a comfortingly dark) home thanks to Earth Hour, we sat down together in the shade of a lone lamp and the embrace of a playful Spring evening breeze to this and daru (needless to say).

 

It was just a matter of time before one track tumbled into the other as memories snowballed into a collective of magic and washed all over me. A refreshing wave of magic and all things carefree and bespoke of earlier times when we’d guffaw over mugs of chilled beer, that free bowl of popcorn we’d judiciously savour (because two small packs came with one pitcher and what if we wanted to drink more but wasted it all on measly popcorn?), psychedelic paintings and conversations that were obnoxiously loud to keep up with the pub’s din. Those tables were much too large and broad, as we’d lean over them, still seated on our floor cushions, pretending like we were indeed too cool for anything. Sometimes we’d sneak in a smoke break if someone was feeling adventurous or had the money for such thrilling indulgences that made us feel rebellious and grown up all at once.

The music’d grow louder as we’d immerse our fast numbing senses into its depths; free-falling into the trippy world of classic music and alcohol. Someone would then rope onto their dimming inhibitions and adventure past page one of the menu; beckoning the waiter for more eats and beer.

 

 

Guns N’ Roses would come on and we’d lose it like we’d always belonged. Soon even the strictest of us would be lured into staying back, hanging out for another half an hour tops (what futile timelines those were). If GNR was on, that only meant the best was yet to come. And so it would. I always remember waiting for this magic to spread its wings and take me on its joy ride.

 

Pink Floyd epitomized the pub experience for me. It really was the cherry on this marvellous cake that this budding sense of adulthood brought my way. I remember sinking back into my floor cushions, shutting my eyes as I let chilled beer travel down my body like gold that knew exactly which spot to hit, and allowing myself to be carried away by this one particular track. Be sure to turn this one up. Always. :)

So it was just natural to be teleported back to those days the moment this track came on. And this hit the spot.

“Lost in thought and lost in time

while the seeds of life and the seeds of change were planted…

…While I pondered on this dangerous and irresistible pastime

I took a heavenly ride through our silence…”

Sundays

9 Mar

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The pigs were given a bath yesterday after a long time. Now that there are signs of summer aplenty, fortunately (or unfortunately for them), it’s a better time to bathe them and have them figure what ever happened to their dry and filthy fur. I’m more than happy. I like my pigs bathed, groomed and clean. Poppy (Poppins, the first one with a big black patch on his face) is such a pleasure to bathe. He’s the baby of the family and he sits put on the balcony while I lather him. He even lifts his chin so I can bathe/rub his neck, which he really enjoys so much. Fuzzy (the last in the series of pictures), makes bathing her a little more challenging. This is perhaps the only time that she shows me that she, indeed, can run. Because she’s the laziest pig you can ever find. Thankfully she isn’t reading this blog post. But she knows what I think of her, so she and I just have to deal with the reality of it all.

I haven’t seen them clean in such a long time. And now I find it hard to let go of them because a) they’re so clean and white and soft and neat, and b) they’ll go roll around in their cages and become brown all over again. Gosh, it’s such a pain being a parent. I’ve figured that this is as close to having kids as I will ever get. :)

So everyone’s happy this morning. They’ve been combed, their noses and ears have been sponge-bathed and are more presentable, and they’ve been groomed. Fuzzy believes she can run for being prom queen again. But I was telling her that maybe she should give someone else a chance. Vanity, I tell you.

Sunday breakfast of Bombay toast, adrak chai and cake has been had. The sky looks beautiful laden with wispy clouds going their own way, and taking their time to do so. The plants in the balconies are happy because they’ve got their dance partners – the breeze – back. And in the midst of all this, it’s been a good day of reminiscing. It all started last night, actually. It started last night when a friend and I were talking about love and how foolish we are in love, in her words.

Of course I thought I’d wake up late today or at least get up after having spent a good amount of my Sunday morning, reading in bed. Isn’t that the best feeling ever? But today started off early and post all the extra productivity that did its rounds, we continued our conversation. I hope it carries on. We reminisce ever so often. Because we really did have such a lovely time.

In her words, “a few years back when we were in love, we were sooo in love.” And it was true. We were so in love. We were in love with our new-found freedom. We were in love with life. We were so in love with the boys that we were so in love with. We loved without consequence. Or without thought. Or without preconceived notions. Or without fear. We loved with such abandon. We loved keeping happiness in mind. We loved in the moment. We loved without hesitation. We loved with so much joy. We loved without the prospect of heartbreak.

None of us is with the boys that we loved without a care, today. None of us hurries to meet them for hurried breakfasts before rushing to work. None of us runs to the train station in time to see them off. None of us spends evenings with them. None of us stays out late and has the other cover for us. None of us has immense phone bills testimony to innumerable conversations about the infiniteness that was our relationship back then. All of that’s gone. And we made it out okay. Or have we?

Because we’re not the same anymore. We’re more cautious, guarded, afraid. We’re more sure of ourselves, but really, are we? We’re more “grown up”. We’re more “independent”. We’re all that we wanted to be but I don’t know where that abandon went, where the ability to just let go and trust yourself went. I don’t know where the fear crept up from. I don’t know how the years that have passed have made us more fragile. Life is so strange.

But on this particular day, I choose to think of all that we were and of all that we did, without a doubt, without a thought. There’s something about that kind of youth that fades. Unfortunately. But we’ll always be fools in love. That we’re all very sure about. And that’s the thought I’m going to hold on to. :)

Have a lovely Sunday, you guys.

A Few Years Later

20 Aug

I remember my English Literature classes for reasons that have more to do with just reading novels of every kind. I never wanted to study literature because classics of any kind intimidated me and still do. I would never pick one up and still do not. But it so happened that the course I wanted to study had EL and I had no other choice but to make a compromise and actually study it. It’s been one of those decisions I was so happy to be coerced into. Really. Compulsion is excellent sometimes. Because people like me who generally are rigid about what they like and do not like would never cross over to sides unknown, otherwise. Anyway, I remember my EL classes not because I encountered forays that opened new doors and pathways in the way I perceived language and expression but because, again, it was mandatory to study philosophies and the innumerable isms that make a person who they are and their work what it is.

I wasn’t fond of that subject at all. I didn’t care about rationalism. Or liberalism. Or existentialism. Or any other ism for that matter. I was after all, a young thing out there who just cared about the plots of books and stories I had to read, forget interpret and write essays about in my exams. I cared only about Mr. Darcy, to be very, very and brutally frank. Especially, since I avoided the book like the plague all my life only to discover the magic that lay within. Which girl/woman wouldn’t ever get magnetized by the enigmatic Mr. Darcy, pray tell me? And yes, I did care very much about poetry. One would be insane not to. So, my point being that this was all I really bothered about. Philosophies of eras gone by flew out of the window and since I considered myself to be liberal (read: does not give a crap about what anyone else thinks. Live and let live, bro!), I daydreamed endlessly during the never ending lectures.

And then I aged. A little bit.

I remembered my EL classes again today because I found myself picking people I just did not want to associate with purely because our ideologies clashed like, erm, chalk and cheese would. I’ve noticed this change over the past few years as I’ve begun to assimilate the values, philosophies and ideologies that make me who I am. I still do fall under the rather loose bracket of the live and let live category because I do not believe in enforcement or in extremism, for that matter. I find it increasingly difficult to interact with people who enforce their ideologies on to me or other people because not only is it stifling, it’s just plain disrespectful. And today, our social interaction being the way it is (read: social networks), I find myself craving the need to define my circles more clearly.

Philosophy, politics, ideologies and religion really are powerful phenomena. Something I never cared about has slowly but surely started to become a part of my identity. It’s not something that happened overnight or compulsorily. It just happened. I know what I’m okay with and what I’m not okay with. I know where my values are and what I’m willing to compromise on. I have the faculties to discern right from wrong most often and not let that become the end of the world where decisions are concerned. It’s really quite strange how things eventually do pan out. I reckon all these concepts have made it this far because they go beyond just written and spoken words I cared two hoots about a few years back.

I decided to write about it because the need to define my spaces, my identity and my beliefs require me to be more than just complacent. I do care now. I don’t know how. It’s just one of those things that age throws your way, I suppose.

Terraces

9 Jun

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In keeping with the previous post and the attempt to find/feel contentment as much as possible, it’d be a crime to not talk about terraces and the role they play in finding and feeling contentment. This picture is from sometime back but that doesn’t negate the fact that it was indeed taken from my terrace and that a view such as this (whilst ignoring the towers) made me feel a very nice kinda happy satisfaction.

I don’t think there has ever been a time in my life so far where the need to have a terrace hasn’t featured. And the memories that follow along are aplenty. My first memories of a terrace were of the one our house was on back in the days. We had a house that was on a humongous terrace whose every corner was lined with plants because ma loves her plants. I remember dusky evening spent with the brother over toy cars rides, gardening, playing with our dog, games of snakes and ladders and ludo of course. Evenings quickly darkened into nights where the family would join us to play antakshari followed by story sessions till it was time for ma to get up and get dinner ready. I remember spending so many hours on the said terrace waiting for my cool aunt to pick us up after her work to take us out. Oh the joy of spotting her through those concrete rails. It was pretty hard to keep my frock from getting messed up whilst squealing with delight I don’t remember feeling in ages.

Terraces were meant for playing games of every kind. Clothes on the clothes line became the roofs of our makeshift houses while we played house-house or doctor-doctor or school-school. Fronds of coconut trees were even better as they not only sheltered us but gave us the chance to weave our roofs the way we pleased apart from giving us their baby coconuts to make part of our kitchen-kitchen games.

Back when we were in the north part of the country, our terraces meant everything. If you’re from the north or have seen movies pictured there, you’d know the significance they hold even today, irrespective of the size or view. You could use Vicky’s terrace from Vicky Donor as an example. Terraces in the summer meant we got to lay our charpais (charpoys/cots) out under the stars during those long hours of powercuts and drift into endless dreams, only to wake up in our grandparents’ beds the next morning. Summer nights involved stories from nani (my maternal grandmother), watching the stars, being fanned by my aunts with those small cane fans every household will still have and floating around in the fragrance of nani’s numerous rose plants. Terraces in a north-Indian summer also signified a large number of ceramic vats pickling mangoes, chillies, berries and a million other vegetables and fruits. Oh, and drying papads and chips too!

And when winter came, terraces were meant for all the kids to bathe under the warming frigid winter sun with steaming water after massages of mustard oil, besan and cream only to quickly huddle under towels and get clothed in layers and layers of woolens. Winter terrace sessions obviously happened during the day, from noon onward where everyone gathered around on chatais (cane mats) to gamble and play cards, antakshari and sing solos in turn while munching on woodapples and roasted peanuts with salt and chutneys. And beer of course. Yes, beer. Seasons don’t matter when it comes to beer and the family. That’s when we kids watched our folks play and picked our card games up from; even the sneaky cheating that happened quite so often and ended in bursts of laughter. But none of us know how to gamble, which is quite a shame and surprising all in one.

Memories of terraces slowly shifted paths from family gatherings to times spent with friends. My first most significant memory of spending an evening on the terrace was back in school. It involved snuggling in sleeping bags and falling asleep to a meteor shower; or to more magically put it, falling asleep watching shooting stars. It was and still is one of the most magical things I’ve ever had the pleasure of doing. Terraces became spots of deep conversations with friends; especially conversations you didn’t want being overheard by snooping siblings and adults who pretended they didn’t have flappy ears over their fast-growing kids. How cold and frigid it got never mattered because we were always so engrossed in catching up or even silence in itself.

Some of the best conversations I’ve had with friends and my siblings have been on the terrace. It’s only when dinner or, now, gnawing backaches beckon that we wrap up and head down. Terrace melees always feature a chatai, cups of tea, rums and cokes, something to munch on, socks, sweaters/shawls, Fuzzy (when she feels like it) and the need to unload oneself of at least a fraction of their million thoughts and feelings. I unfortunately do not have pictures of the times mentioned above to show you. I do have this though.

1015045500012505509122012340While the ones above aren’t as recent, the ones below are reminiscent of how my Friday night was spent.

IMG_1658 IMG_1661 IMG_1663 IMG_1666 IMG_1667 IMG_1668Apologies on the picture quality but there’s only so much one can do with their phone especially when they abhor using flash.

Terraces are just the best places to be with or without company. Except of course when it starts lightening and thundering. Terraces have just got to be one of my favourite places to ever be at.

When Girlfriends Meet

25 May

…the world automatically becomes a better and superbly prettier place.

This month has been jam packed with reunions of the familial and friendship kind. Weekends have tumbled past, and at such breakneck speeds that there really has just been no time to do anything else. There has been a lot of work and then there’s been a lot of the good stuff happening over every single weekend. The blog has been so terribly ignored but there’s little I can do about that. I’ve figured to go along with the tide and not fight it because neither was I actually able to dedicate time to blog and neither did fighting the tide leave me with much time to bask in the awesomeness that is my life right now. Yeah, you’ve got to give some to get some, right?

This time around, V, who has been living outside the country and is busy taking the world by storm, came down to Bangalore. We met back in ’08 and were classmates during my Masters program. Somewhere along the way we realized we’re as mad as each other and that our madness could really be conducive to a pretty darn awesome friendship; so lo and behold, we became pretty darn awesome friends. It was just customary to meet and loop everyone else in too because…well, there are no becauses when it comes to reunions.

So, we met. So, there was a riot when we met. So, the riot was us. So, it was awesome. So, it was killer. So, it was epic. So, it was just the thing we all frikkin needed in our lives. That’s the thing about meetings with girlfriends. They’re always what everybody frikkin needs. Because girls have a lot going on in their lives. There’s so much pent up laughter that needs to get out and resonate the world. There are so many conversations to be caught up on. There are so many abuses to be showered. There are so many tears that need to be shed. There is.just.so.much.worldly.gossip.to.be.gossiped. There is just so much to share. There is just always so much to do. There is so much that needs to be done which cannot otherwise be done in company of “other-not-so-significant” friends or parents or siblings or, now, spouses. Girls just wanna have fun. Period.

So, when girlfriends meet,

24 May 2013

there just has to be a customary series of snaps like these. There is always a cool pose, there is always happiness and then after the entire build up, the pack of cards just falls into what ends up becoming a madcap awesome photograph!

When girlfriends meet,

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there has to be a customary photograph taken outside the restaurant on the road. There have to be top angle snaps because top angle snaps are a mid-20-and-onward girl’s best photo angle friend. And there has to be at least one “crazy” snap even if the hot summer sun makes your eyes water, makes you see stars and practically blinds you irrespective of being armed with shades. You just move to the shade than not take the photograph.

And because yours truly was the photographer, I was kindly given the darkest pair just so I could try and see which button to click!

When girlfriends meet,

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there has to be a customary stuffed-in-an-auto-like-a-can-of-sardines photograph. It’s a universal law. By the way, a photograph like this takes me back to our college days when we did actually travel like this quite frequently at a 1 and a half fare, yapping our lives off. It’s no wonder auto drivers in Bangalore are off their knockers.

When girlfriends meet,

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there will be (sexy) pictures of accessories which may even happen under the table (in this case) because girls are pretty, sexy and mindblowingly awesome bruh!

When girlfriends meet,

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there will always be food on the table. It’s the universal rule of universal rules. Food is our second best friend. We’re not calorie shy. Neither are we food shy. Which is why I have the friends I do. We eat, sleep, dream and live food baby. That is just how we roll.

When girlfriends meet,

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there will be alcohol at some point. There will be pints of chilled-to-the-bone beer for beer lovers and there will be pretty glasses and cocktails for those who aren’t friends with beer. Alcohol isn’t a staple as much as food and conversations are. But if we’re feeling particularly fancy, we go all the way.

When girlfriends meet,

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there will be dessert. Always. There will also always be chocolate. Always. Chocolate makes girls happy. Chocolate and desserts make girls swoon like no other. Did I mention we’re not calorie conscious?

When girlfriends meet,

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there will always be conversations that make the other blush and smile and turn away and pretend like nothing came up to their cheeks and coloured them pink!

When girlfriends meet,

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there will always be the customary round of completely, mind-bogglingly random snaps. Didn’t you know Random features in all our names? Hi, I’m Babushka ‘Random’ Chauhan. And so on… It’s true. There will be mad photographs. There will be posing. There will be what we call natural photographs where everyone’s doing their own thing. There will be photographs when no one knows what’s going on. There will be plenty and more.

When girlfriends meet,

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there will definitely be the customary Homer Simpson ‘Doh!’ moment!

When girlfriends meet,

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there will be a selfie, and a selfie of the selfie!

When girlfriends meet,

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there will be large amounts of vanity.

When girlfriends meet,

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there will be more than enough laughter to go around the world and back. There are all kinds of laughter that range in length, duration, pitch and intensity. There will be giggling. There will be laughter that is precociously raucous. You may even hear a roar or two. Also, with that much madness going around, it’s hard not to cry with laughter.

When girlfriends meet,

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there will always be insane amounts of love. The weird, crazy, girly, mad, random kinda love that only girlfriends understand and can have for each other.

When girlfriends meet, you’re always 18.

When girlfriends meet, you’d want to be at no other place in the world because that’s the one time when you’re in your time machine hopping off at so many junctures long past while traveling to so many destinations the future may hold while sitting pretty and crazy in the spot you never really got up from.

Here’s to every girlfriend who spins my world right round, right round! :)

Piggy

1 Feb

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She is A. Yes, she’s another A in my life. However, she’s P to me as I am P to her. Let me explain. It all started one random day when we decided to give each other pet names because that’s what happens when you’re close enough to call someone by a name other than their own, right? So yeah, we chanced upon the names Piggy and Piglet. Don’t ask me where the inspiration came from. It just happened. And so from time immemorial, she’s Piggy to me and I’m Piglet to her. So we are A and B only if someone points a gun to your head and asks you to give them our official details for legal purposes. Now that we’ve got those formalities sorted out, let’s proceed with the story.

Piggy’s getting married. Piggy’s getting MARRIED. Omg, PIGGY is getting married. OMG, PIGGY is getting MARRIED. OK, I think I’ve tried out as many permutations and combinations of emphasis that I possibly could, keeping your patience and tolerance in mind. Thank you for still being here. Moving on, it’s not like I have some compulsive habit of writing about my friends who get married or are getting married. Or maybe I do because Ilovemyfriendsverymuchandgetsentimentalaboutallthisstuff. But I’d be happy to overlook these compulsive tendencies of mine and just say that when friends do get married or find the person they want to spend the rest of their life with, it’s huge man. It’s more than huge. It’s literally life-altering in so many ways.

Piggy and I go wayyyyy back. We met in 2002. Yeup. That’s right. Wow, that’s a good 11 years back. We did our 11th and 12th grade together and were classmates. We gradually began talking because she was #1 on the roll call and I was #29 (I think) and somehow we ended up sitting behind each other in history class because we had to sit in roll call order in history class back then. So we began talking then I guess. I don’t really recall those specifics (OMG!). I recall the moments and years that ensued after that. We never hung out in the same group during those 2 years. She had her set of friends and me, mine. And our groups were a cordial bunch. So we’d run into each other in college and take it from there.

It was funny and strange all at once. Especially because I’d spent the previous few years at a very different kind of school; a school whose student population wasn’t even half of what the student population of my 11th and 12th grade class was. We were a 112 girls in the class of 2002-2004. So yeah, my school may have had a grand total of just 30ish of us approx. So it was funny and strange because when you come from a background and environment like that to where I was during these 2 years, it was more than just a culture shock. We did have groups and cliques in school, but this was a massive change altogether. The point of all this is not to talk about my school but just to say that it was a time of great transition for me; of moving from a niche environment to what felt like a huge bazaar, literally. There were people everywhere and more; and girls at that (because I spent the next 5 years of my academic life after school at an all-girls’ college). Therefore even though I think I had a pretty normal social upbringing in terms of school, I was still grasping and quite violently trying to grapple on to the norms and ways of socialization at such a large scale. I mention all this because somewhere in the scheme and chaos of all that was going on in my head, heart, life and being, Piggy slowly made an appearance in my book of life when I wasn’t looking.

When I write this post and look back at all that has passed, the first things that come to my mind are all those moments we shared in class that make class-time, college and student life in general memorable. I remember the times we cracked up (and we cracked up wayyyy more than I can remember), the times we escaped from class, the times we were caught in class, the times we did everything that was unthinkable and adventurous, the times we were thrown out of class, the times we were glared at in class and so on. The list really is endless. Like I said, it’s not like we both put our heads together and schemed against the world of authority. It’s just that we stood out in each other’s life because of things we did or didn’t do; and somewhere down the line we drew parallels with these experiences we had. Before we knew it we became travel partners who’d run into the throng of a crazy crowd of hyperactive girls to get a spot on the bus back home. We’d hang on at the foot board of the bus most often and still find a way to laugh through all the arms, legs, hair, bags and boobs that were thrust in our direction. Hahaha! There would always be the same speed-breakers that would make us laugh uncontrollably (have you noticed that happen to you? where a series of consecutive speed-breakers made you burst out laughing? I think they shake those brain cells up a bit…that’s my reasoning). Anyway, we would be the only brave ones who would venture to the back of the bus, which is usually where all the menfolk sit, to get us some seats. We would be the ones who’d laugh and giggle at strange and funny people you’d see in the bus everyday. Also, we’d somehow be the only ones who’d burst out laughing and not know where to look because didn’t you know it was rude to literally LOL in public spaces/places? Lol! We’re the first awesome Scorpio pair, she’s the second. Our birthdays are a day apart. She’s the “elder” one. And our standard dialogue of “today’s your day, not mine.” will always remain.

That’s one thing about us. We laugh with free abandon anywhere, anytime and at almost anything. We’d probably burst out laughing just looking at each other’s face. I cannot help but grin while writing this, at the cost of looking like a complete fool at work. But that’s just how it is. And now as time has passed and perhaps age has a role to play somewhere, we can’t stop crying when we laugh. It’s good to have someone to be yourself with, you know? It’s important to experience that in life. It’s imperative to have someone who doesn’t think twice about how they are or how you are and just live life for the moment. That’s what we do…I don’t think I’ve ever stopped in my tracks and actually let my rationale and thoughts come in the way of just letting go and having some fun, chilled out time with her.

Travel buddies make for good company. Walking buddies make for even better ones. And that’s where our relationship and equation deepened. Piggy left after 12th grade to pursue law while I stuck on to pursue God knows what. Well at that time I was in the mass communications and psychology field of studies and interest. Anyway, that didn’t stop us from meeting up every evening after college. We never really had money except for the small change we were given by our folks to tide us through the day. But our evening walks (supposedly) always began with a pack of either chips, crisps, juice, snacks or chai. Always. Our walks would amount to a total of just 10 minutes in a meeting that would sometimes last over 2 hours. We had our adda, the steps of a monument-like building where we’d spend every evening come rain or huge mosquitoes.

It’s there that we became the friends I’d never even imagined us to become. Years passed by and while our lives changed, we had the steps and each other’s company to bring us back to that one constant, that one center where we knew everything would be OK, even if just for those few hours. We giggled over boyfriends, shared notes about the what nexts, gossiped about the bitches in our lives, reminisced over everything that made us lol, cried so bitterly over break-ups, spoke about our aspirations, shared our fears about what the future held our for us, confided about family, talked about education and career options, shared silence, sat under a teeny-tiny umbrella as it poured and we watched on over steaming cups of masala chai…we grew up on those steps. When I look back, I see how we spent such a considerable part of our lives in each other’s company, spread over an hour every day. She had decided she would get married at that venue, because it’s just outrageously gorgeous.

We’ve both been through so much and more. As time went by, our meetings at the steps came to a standstill. SMSes took over. We got into new relationships. They got serious. Time got divided. The same relationships broke. And somehow we’d find our way back to the steps even if it meant meeting after more than 6 months at a stretch. And it always felt like we’d met just yesterday. There’d be conversations, silence, tears, reminiscing and there’d be laughter of course. That didn’t change and still hasn’t.

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So yeah, Piggy’s getting married. She’s not getting married at our adda. She’s getting married. And that’s all that matters because her story hasn’t been easy; neither has it been smooth. But good happens to those who deserve it. There are bad times, worse ones sometimes. But there’s always a way out and I feel more than overjoyed and overwhelmed when I think about her wedding. It’s not just because getting married is a big deal because hell yeah, it’s a big deal. It’s about knowing that she’s found her person, that she’s found her peace, joy, love and that she’s found her way out. That’s what made me write this post. Because no matter what the light at the end of the tunnel might indicate, what counts is that you tackle it head on.

She’s going to live in Bangalore as of now. Who knows where her next path takes her? She’s going to move from being in the same area as mine to a one that’s at the other end of town. We don’t meet that often and getting married plus moving in to the husband’s family means ushering in quite a bit of change and adjustment. I don’t know when we’ll meet next or where. But that seldom matters because I know that our next meeting will feel like we’d met just yesterday. There will be lots to talk about, many apprehensions voiced, many thoughts communicated, many words spoken. There will a lot to go over, a lot to ponder about, a lot to just catch up on. There will be tears.

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There will laughter for sure. There will be alcohol because we love our pitchers of Long Island Iced Tea. So you can just add all that and multiply it by 2 (or 10, really).

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There will be a wedding. There will be a husband. There will be new chapters.

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But our book will always remain.

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10

24 Aug

As soon as the calendar read May 2012, it hit me that it’s been a decade (a whopping, screaming decade!) since I finished school. Wow. Did time fly? Of course. I have no idea where to. You can ask him/her when he/she comes back. 10 YEARS.

And I (surprisingly) don’t feel old at all. I don’t feel ancient for writing those ghastly boards 10 years back. I don’t feel reminiscent of those days at all. Not one bit. Nada. Zilch. I feel a sense of relief instead. Honest. Who wants to ever go back to that phase? I sure don’t. I know I’m sure to get the ‘are you out of your mind?’ look, but go make that face at someone else peeps. Those days are far behind and as far as I’m concerned, in this very present moment, I feel like hopping, skipping, jumping. OK, maybe cheering in my head will do for now.

I really wonder where time goes. How a phase as massive as a (figurative) 10 could dissipate. And so quickly. The last time I checked, I was having a farewell at school where I was the only one graduating. Yeah, I went to an alternate school that had only 23 students in all, had no uniforms or exams and bloo blah. More on that later. So yeah, as luck had it, I was the only one to graduate in the year 2002. With abysmal marks in math (I just managed to pass). But I cared two hoots because that was that for math and me. We had a very amicable break-up. I left him, rather. And never looked back. Except at his cousin, stats a few years later, but we’ll talk about that later, too. So yeah, I was having a farewell, I was getting cards and speeches and the last thing I remember was bawling my eyes out. I didn’t really fancy my school years either, but bawl, I did. I bawl. When it’s the time to bawl. Anyhoo.

The next thing I knew, I was thrown into the world of mainstream education after what felt like a kazillion years. I was running around for admission everywhere. I saw Christ College and ironically saw the dress code notice first. I never went back. It so happened that I became a Carmelite. Joy. It was quite a transition – to move from the kind of school I came from to sitting in a class of 112 girls. It was so damn hard. But then you manage – thanks to chechi’s sugar dovenuts, I think! I think a lot of us bonded over rounds of those dovenuts. And there has been no looking back ever since. Heck, I went on to do my Bachelors over there and was it a ride! I never EVER thought I would spend so much time at MCC. But spend those 5 years, I did. Graduate with much joy and relief, I did. Move ahead, we all did.

And because I’d had enough of studying, I took a break and worked on one condition; that I get back to my Masters ASAP. It was a fair deal then, because I don’t really come from a background where the concept of taking a year or two or three even exists. But I consider myself very lucky. I worked at a brand marketing firm and I have never ever learnt as much as I did there, at my first job. My first true job. It made me miserable; dealing with nasty corporate filth. Those were times of such a struggle and such learning. I figure you never really learn unless you get your hands in and go test the waters. You cannot learn sitting at a distance. So dive into the world of hawk-like clients, I did. Fight, I did. Cry, I did. Deliver, I so damn well did. And then, quit, I did. Do my MSc., I did. Graduate, I did. Get more jobs, I sure as hell did. And quit them, aye, I did.

So that’s that. 10 years. Today, I’m at another job. Doing my thing. And it didn’t take me much to realize that a decade went by as fast as it did. And through it all, I know I’ve had relationships and friendships I never thought I would. Ever.

Here’s to 10 years of awesomeness. We’ve seen each other through life and death. We’ve seen each other through boyfriends and break-ups. We’ve had our distances and our moments of closeness. We’ve dreamed our dreams together. We’ve seen those dreams fall apart. We’ve built new ones. We’ve stood by. We’ve walked away. We’ve moved on. We’ve hung around. We’ve been crazy. We’ve discovered the madness in each other.

10 years is a lot. I refuse to count anymore. All I want to do is to live in today’s moment, in the now – because when I think about them now, I feel a sense of history shared which I haven’t shared or felt/experienced with anyone else. What I feel today is a sense of contentment. So that’s all that matters – today. Because when I have a decade’s worth of a book to cash in on now, I couldn’t be bothered about what happens tomorrow. 10 years sort of does that to you.