"Nah, I'll come get you", K said just before she hung up. K and I met up for dinner a couple of weeks ago. It's been over five years since I met her. We ended up having a great time, probably one of my best dinners in and around Houston, and reminiscing the good old days.
We've both had our share of difficult times since then. And in their differences, they have been kind of similar. We chose to get over them in different ways. I buried myself in work, so much so I had no time for much else. K did the same, but with a difference. She buried herself in something she loved doing. She still does it today, almost a year later, with such enthusiasm that just bursts with freshness each time. In most of our trials, the ends justify the means. It's not to say that what one does is better than the other. But in our acceptance of what has happened, we often decide, unknowingly, what we were always meant to do. Hopefully a glimpse of what life has in store for us - for the better.
Otherwise K hasn't changed much. She's still as chic as ever, but worries about how good she'll look in every snap. Still dances as if no one's watching. Still has that mischevious honesty in her eyes.
One of my recent favourite songs played on the car stereo on our way back. "I've been doing some singing too of late. Let me sing along with this one, tell me what you think eh?" K was at it as we swept through the Houston night. In a little stray thought that played in my head, the night was suddenly silent, except for the wind through the trees whistling my admiration out loud.
I had a smile as I walked up back to my room at the hotel. Call me behind the times if you would, but independent, confident women always give me goosebumps.
I'm not one to comment on socially sensitive topics. But this whole Sania news just doesn't allow me to do the same thing this time. Hate mails and comments and news just keep piling on day after day. Everyone suddenly thinks Sania should be the role model India never had. How can she marry someone who has previously been accused of match fixing? Doesn't she know cricket is an Indian religion? Doesn't an alliance with someone like this destroy and defile our nation? And does she know he's been married to someone previously? We as a nation are worried for her safety and security! What if his ex-wife attacks her and we lose our best tennis sensation!! And the worst part is OMG WTF he's a Pakistani! Surely being the responsible Indian she is she CANNOT even THINK of even associating with people that we are at war with??
Give it a rest guys. Let's forget the fact that what Sania does with her life shouldn't be anyone's business. It's like we've just gone back twenty years. To blaming everyone in the nation for something most of them aren't responsible for. To looking for reasons to find fault when there are better things to do. To just wiping out all those initiatives, all the music and lyrics for love, peace and brotherhood. These are people with us, people around us, people like us. When an enemy has a face, he shouldn't be your enemy anymore.
For the ladies - if you've heard it it's true: guys can't handle emotion, at least not with other guys. We're probably crying the river inside and all that, but on the outside it's a whole different story. I've had a few of these "guy" experiences myself, and I thought it's about time they were put down.
Guide: WWWTS: What we want to say WWEUS: What we end up saying
G1: Hey, why do you have a palm pendant around your neck? G2: Oh this is 'coz I got engaged a month ago. My fiancé has a similar one too around hers. It's supposed to go like - hand-in-hand, you know. WWWTS: Awww, so sweet that is! *sigh* I wish we had this back in India too! *double sigh* WWEUS: Neat! Fancy those Chinese traditions, eh?
G1: So how was your vacation? G2: Awesome. Did a bit of traveling. Finished too soon though - now it's back to work and hell! WWWTS: Yea, I know. But I'm glad you're back dude. Things are kind of tough right now. At least now there's someone I can depend on. WWEUS: Tell me about it. So, 'sup?
G1: D tells me you're leaving? G2: Yea, had enough of the oilfield man. And of this place of course. WWWTS: Well, I had the best time with you around man. Will miss having you around. Am sorry to see you go, you know. WWEUS: Hahah, true. I'll probably go next.
G1: How's L doing? You guys getting married soon or what? G2: Oh, we broke up last week buddy. Some things didn't work out. WWWTS: Nooo! But you guys were perfect, I thought. Been together for two years right? Are you sure it's not something that can be worked out? Everything's got to have a solution yeah? Surely there must be something I can do to help? WWWEUS: Oh, bummer. Pizza?
On those cold winter nights, five to eight years ago, anywhere between 300 to 700 adults would sit in their rooms, or in the institute library (fondly called Ref-Li for the BITS, Pilani nostalgic) poring over those books that would decide where they ended up the next day. Yep, the first series of tests were in action. On every one of those nights for the four good years I spent at Pilani, I have whined and cursed the unfortunate events that made me write these life-or-death tests. The day these endless series of tests would end, I decided, life would be worth living once again.
And yeah, it was good when they ended. I probably won't have to write another such test ever again. And everytime I missed college, the places, the friends, I wondered if I was forgetting a little reality-check of the countless tests I've had to write. I still feel though, everytime, that the fight for the grades, the sleepy tutorial hours at 8 am on a zero degree morning, the scanning through answer sheets for a couple of marks that would get you that elusive grade - would all be worth a chance for four years back in college again.
A few weeks ago, I saw a snap of N during his college days, sitting at a desk with a huge folder of text in front of him. One pen in his hand, another three of them lying around on the desk. A calculator open beside him. His watch on the desk. A notebook and a pile of other papers scattered across the same desk. And though I've known N for over two years, the brightest grin I've ever seen on him. And with a sweatshirt over him, a flashback of a winter evening. His comment, borrowed courtesy Will Smith, below the snap, revealing one simple truth - This little part of my life is called happiness..
For someone whose college life I was no part of at all, this snap and the little comment have become one of my favourites.