Monday, August 25, 2008

Two Days Apart

Sometime in 1986

We're both at our grandparents place, digging tunnels in the pile of sand that's in the backyard. We started at opposite ends of the pile, and the objective is to make the tunnel pass across the pile so we can reach through it and shake hands with each other. "Oh mom was telling me that to be twins, you've got to be born on the same day." "What! That means we're not - " "Yeah! Can you believe that! She says you have to have the same parents also!" After a moment's disappointed silence, we get back to digging our cave.

Summer of 1989

"Yuck, throw properly for once! Look at where the ball has gone - go get it!" I pause at the edge of the stone steps, looking at the mess of mud, twigs, fallen leaves and fruits that lie heavily on the path ahead. I gingerly take a step forward and jump back with an Ouch! "I've got nothing on my feet!"

"Oh come on already!" In half a minute Matt has sprinted across the path and back in his bare feet, and we're playing Catch again.

Christmas Holidays 1994

"Hah! Gotcha!" Matt holds up the ball triumphantly. I'm as usual the horrible sportsman. "No! Didn't it bounce off the wall? I saw it!" Matt looks at me in disbelief. "You're joking, right?" He throws the ball up and catches it in his other hand. "No! You caught it off the first bounce!" (shamelessly persistent). Matt smiles. "Right." He shakes his head disapprovingly as he goes back to bowl.

April 2001

Both of us are sitting across a table in the hostel common room. "I hate this section in Math! How the hell do you find the distance of this line from the z-axis!" "Oh I can tell you that! But you tell me how to integrate this thing first."

As we're working on our sums, our friend walks in. "Hey, Nitin and I were thinking about starting another round of 28. You guys want to join us?" We look at each other and drop our pens.

So much for 3-D geometry.

Dec 31, 2007

"I'm thinking I should give the ticket checker guy some money. I need an AC seat!" "Dude, it's like a three hour ride - and it's not that hot!" We hug goodbye. Towards midnight Matt calls to tell me he's got back safely. "Oh and hey I got that AC seat halfway through the trip!" I shake my head and smile.


Given how infrequently we talk to each other, with Matt, I never really feel out of touch.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Our Space

You know, I believe if there's any kind of God, it wouldn't be in any of us. Not you, or me... but just this little space in between. If there's any kind of magic in this world, it must be in the attempt of understanding someone, sharing something. I know, it's almost impossible to succeed, but who cares, really? The answer must be in the attempt.

- Céline in Before Sunrise

Monday, August 18, 2008

Olive Green

On my first day of every trip back home, I pick up a dusty pair of green suede shoes from under the stairs. Inspite of efforts to keep them in good shape, time has worn them out. The little label that says POWER is still there on the sides. But the soles are coming off, the olive green has gone to a dust-mixed-with-green colour, and they can be worn only in dry weather. I still use them on every one of my random daily walks though.

It's surprising how attached you can get to some things, and how much you end up loving them even though they are long past throw-away time. This one for me is a reminder of a wonderful year. Of running behind crowded Bangalore buses to make it in time for those weekend meetups. Of standing outside a theater on MG for a Rs. 50 front-stall ticket. Of Chinese food at a little restaurant on the first floor. Of aimless walks down the main roads. Of getting wet in the rain. Of daily trips to the office holding a newspaper in one hand and a water bottle in the other. Of strawberry smoothies and chocolate fantasies in the cafe below. Of walking through malls buying nothing, eating something, talking everything. Of sitting on bikes that don't belong to you. Of rickshaw rides that cost the earth. Of one-day trips that never cost the earth. Of early mornings at the bus station. Of ice creams and milkshakes.

And among all this, of someone who taught me that no matter how you felt yesterday, or how you will feel tomorrow, all that's important in your life is the way you're feeling - right now.