Tuesday, May 29, 2007


May 23rd was the birthday of two very unlikely friends of mine. Unlikely in the way we became friends, through the internet. Unlikely that we have stayed friends for so long and not drifted apart in the way that a lot of my friendships do. Two people totally unlike each other.
Raakesh. One of a disappearing breed of book readers who would never dream of listing Sidney Sheldon or Dan Brown as a favorite author. Who shares a passion for the written word and constantly introduces me to writers I’ve never heard of before. Who never ceases to amaze me with his literary skills. (And sometimes misleads me into thinking someone else’s poems, his own :)) Who manages to stay supremely unaffected by the ultra competitive world that is IIM-L. Whom I hope will get round to writing his novel before drinking himself into oblivion.
Ramakrishnan. Technical Wizard. Nature Lover. Ceaseless Questioner, with an inexhaustible interest in everything he sees or hears. Sharply Observant. Conscientious (Remembering my birthday even if I forget his). Interesting. Irritating (because he disagrees with most things I write). Hard working. Sincere. Genuine. A great friend.

Happy Belated Birthday to both of you. May you have a wonderful year ahead.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Unreasonable Reactions

I met a classmate again yesterday, from a long time ago. Why do some people always elicit the same reactions from you no matter how older or ‘grown-up’ you think you have become? Unreasonable reactions. Were there some invisible vibes that only I could catch and feel uncomfortable about?
An unexpected meeting this was. She had become thinner and much prettier. A trace of an accent too. But the unreasonableness welled up from within and I was left waiting to end the conversation and get back to the comfort of my friends. To people I felt secure with and didn’t feel like I was acting a part.
Was that what I was doing? For the ten years in school? Was that why I didn’t make an attempt to keep in touch with my classmates? Do we really grow up and mature? Or do we just play different parts?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Wallowing in Nostalgia

Nostalgia is such an old people’s word, something I used to associate with people over 70. And yet I seem to be wallowing in it most of the time. My blog seems to overflow with it and I compounded the error with a three day trip to Kerala that was pure nostalgia. It’s always funny to go back to once familiar places, to feel an awkward stranger in a place that you were once part of. This trip though was something I really enjoyed. Not the wild excitement of a rollercoaster ride. More like the warm contentment that comes from a long, quiet drive.
Arriving at Coimbatore was such a relief after the never ending vastness that Chennai always seems to me. It felt good to be back to a town I knew, whose length I could cross in half an hour, where an hour’s drive would take me to the next district and most importantly where people addressed me with respect.
And then, Kerala. I had forgotten how intensely green Kerala is, especially after Tamilnadu’s dry scrub. And how pretty most of the houses are. And the number churches that lined the highway. It felt good to be back.
A friends wedding in Palakkad, where we arrived just in time for lunch but got included in the family anyway. The endless rituals, the crowd, the laughter, the noise and the confusion. It seemed like some gala family function. Only on the bus back home did it actually sink in that she was married now and would be going far away. To another country and another life. We would be lucky just to hear her voice again.
The weekend in Cochin. There are some places I love and some places I hate. Cochin I remember with affection. It was a very short 8 months that I spent there. The memories rushed back as soon as I entered the city. Shopping expeditions to mg road, ice creams on marine drive, spices in Broadway, cooking together in the kitchen, giggling bus trips, packed lunches, movies, exhibitions, laughter sessions at midnight, surprise parties, late nights spent talking. All the good things that happen while living with friends.
The place doesn’t seem to have changed at all, in the one year I have been away. But our lives have. Veered off suddenly into completely different directions, so much that we may be lucky just to meet each other again. And it was lucky, this second chance to go back, even if it was just for 2 days. We spent almost the whole time remembering those 8 months. Laughing and talking. The future was there too but as little as possible.

It was a pleasant weekend. The inescapable saree shopping and ice cream eating on MG road, dinner at the house of some friends and some sight seeing along with two other bored and irritated guys who hadn’t really changed much in a year.
I returned, happily content. Nostalgia is not really such a bad thing I think.