The long weekend was something that I had been craving for and thankfully I managed to get it! It was a deserved break and truly energizing, though I am sure I’ll be left cribbing with the Monday morning blues catching up tomorrow on the way to work J
Among the many things that I managed to do this weekend, I am glad I kept up a date that was pending for so many many many days now. Either of us were caught up in some work or the other and kept procrastinating; till we decided that enough was enough and that it was high time we made it. So Friday eve was frozen for an evening of chat (and Chaat) at the cozy Woody’s restaurant. And im so glad I did finally manage to meet Ms Mithuna SrinivasanJ
For a long time the channels of communication were emails and sms-es and fone calls. But the impersonal nature of these channels can get pretty frustrating at times. As she herself said “ I cant carry on speaking with this unknown, unseen, faceless person” How true! Moreover the two of us were obviously driven by the powerful strings that emanated from the USA…Vilas was getting as militant as he could that I better meet up soon and dutifully pass on a report to him about my “opinion” ( whatever that might mean!)…
18 years or more are what have gone behind the friendship that Vilas and me have painstakingly nurtured. It wouldn’t be a clichéd exaggeration for me to say that we’ve literally grown up together. Ma almost considers him like another son of hers and cant stop remembering our times together! Still seems like yesterday when this cherubic thing was dropped by his mother to school and he’d cry and bring the school roof down on leaving her! Till it took all of our efforts to make him ‘feel at home’. Aunty would ensure that I assumed the big-brother role for him always—see to it that he studied well, see to it he didn’t get into tangles, see to it he didn’t enter the water when we went to Pondicherry, see to it he learnt his Hindi well…boy, the list is endless! But I ensured I didn’t do all of that ‘cos I always believed that self-experience is the best teacher and the drive must come from within –and it will, as it has in his case eventually!
I’ve lost track of the zillions of pranks that we played in school; though most often I managed to get away because of the straight face I managed to keep and the reputation that went behind me of being a ‘good student’! Still all this didn’t seem enough for the haggard Ms Arpita ‘The Blue whale” Ganguly who tried to teach us Geography—something that neither of us understood or appreciated –to prevent herself from throwing us out of class more often than not. I’ve learnt more Geography standing or kneeling outside class than inside! And of course Shyamala “the Dhing” Mohan who made us do weird (witch)craft with crape paper and wax and what nots and end up “making pickles out of our knuckles”. No, it wasn’t always the demoniac ones that accosted us…we did flirt along with the seductive Miss KM—what did she teach us? Aah…well who cared, we were busy seeing something else, weren’t we?! We did lose tracks for a while and for some strange unknown reasons…but glad we hit back soon enough. It was an emotional moment when he packed bags to the USA 2 years back and I remember how mightily upset I had been..it was hard stifling tears…but one has to let go; after all…
It was with this historical baggage that I was setting forth to meet someone who would probably end up spending the rest of her life with him. And it just took a few minutes for me to end up admiring the woman! The strength of character, the clarity of thoughts, the decisiveness, the sharp features, the nice things that she had to say about Lavis and more importantly the fact that she’d cut herself to the role of mothering my nincompoopish friend were more than enough to make her likeable—in fact surfeit!
And for once I was made to feel I was sitting on a ‘Hard Talk’ session with Tim Sebastian on the other end and the spotlights glaring on my sweating brows! From some vague description of myself through a third person as being so cute and likeable (heavens!) that anyone who’d meet me would end up falling in love with me (ahem! Ahem! I didn’t know this in 25 and half years myself!!) to a startling description of Vandy---oh yeah, the long years when she was touted as the ‘ultimate woman in my life’ ( eeeeeeks! )--- I had my jaw dropping at every instance! Then the obvious question “tell me about your personal life”. Personal? Life? Me? –well the pretences didn’t work; sadly for me! May be sensing my discomfiture, she began with hers even without me asking for any of it! And the end of it- “Ohhh, I talk a lot…now its your turn”…but ofcourse being the civilized young woman that she is “ Don’t talk about it if you aren’t too comfortable you know…” …No, but strangely, by now, I was not too uncomfortable and out came the skeletons tumbling one after another! Wonder what she thought about the whole thing then!
I know I had to put my foot in the mouth and make my characteristic disdainful statements about my thoughts regarding the institution of marriage and how little I thought of it…somehow though Tim Sebastian’s presence ensured that they lacked their usual punch; one that makes all people in love go mad and want to break my skull! Wonder why the vitriol disappeared? Madame listened and gave me some longish advice on how one shouldn’t pre-condition onez mind against anything; that the past experiences only teach you how to emerge wiser and not recommit the same mistakes…and like a school boy I was going ‘yes ma’am, yes ma’am’! Vikram…wake up…where have your debating skills evanesced! Hey, never mind!
Then, after coming home and flooring Ma by her suaveness ( Ma was like; how I wish Lalita was here, I would have called her just now and told her—see I had always told you not to worry too much about your son!!); Ms Srinivasan bid adieu…followed it up with an sms an hour later with the advice repeated that I “better stop moping around and find myself a chick again and soon” !!!
Tough to say how happy I felt for Vilas that day…he was and is always the sweetest friend I’ve had and nothing but the best is what I can wish for him…and what can be better than this? Here was someone who understood him, who loved him, respected him, knew the problems he was facing, was more than willing to lend a supporting hand, shoulder his responsibilities---what more can a man ask for—and yeah most importantly her presence ensured and would ensure that Vilas would keep his hair short, take baths more regularly and drive away the body odor that he is so famously characteristic of !!!!
Mithuna, Thanks for being there for Vilas!