Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Summer of '98

    Preface: This post is dedicated to the storm that unleashed its fury while I and Gaurav were cycling on our way back after our evening net practice and the cell diagram that I and Jaydeep drew as a part of our Biology internal exam for our standard X Boards. It’s also dedicated to the ‘Versatile’ Vijay, the computer geek called Ajith and a lady who can play my mother, sister and girlfriend all through my life-Ritika. Ritika is studying hard for her CA exams and I would not be able to refer anything about her without exceeding permissible lengths of writing on a single post hence this post will be restricted to the first two names listed above.

    Prologue: All the proper nouns in the paragraph above are those of my friends during the summer of ’98. We had shifted to Ghaziabad in 1996 and I was admitted to the eighth standard in St. Mary’s School, the best school of that district. A district that was more popular for the exploits of its law breakers than anything else. This was the 3rd school that I was studying in that particular year and I decline to comment now the circumstances that led to me being the Rolling Stone for that year. It was in that very year of 1996 that I first spoke to each of these guys.

    April 2nd, 2005: Nine years down the line I found myself walking on the same streets with Jaydeep and Gaurav, sitting on the same cycles that we used to race with, eating Aloo Ki Tikki and sipping ‘Chuski’ at the same Chaat Center, still talking about Sachin’s batting and wondering how on earth Deepti Dutta turned mother at the age of 22.
    Deepti Dutta was then popularly referred to as “Metro”- a pun on her initials D.D. And the reasons for her popularity well…. I guess it should just suffice to say that she was my first crush in that school. Deepti’s marriage was something that I had laughed off when Gaurav told me in a mail about it but her becoming a Mom did catch me numb for a couple of minutes.
    This was a snippet of the weekend that just went by here in Delhi. Had been to Ghaziabad after four years and I realized that some things just don’t change in life and you feel good when they don’t. It was one of those days when you want to thank your Lord for giving you friends who seldom “keep in touch” but don’t let you drown in the crowd, friends who argue with venom and compete with disdain and yet at the end of the day share that all of them did have a soft corner for “Metro” in the same good old Chaat Center called “Husband and Wife”.

    Some things just don’t freakin’ change!

    Gaurav is still the sophisticated simpleton while Jaydeep is still the firebrand aggressor. And I still play the moderator in the debates on the streets. When I left Ghaziabad on a sunny morning in the summer of 1998 Jaydeep, Gaurav and Vijay were at the door of my house at 7 in the morning to see me off. Gaurav had bought me a copy of “The Art of Fast Bowling” by Dennis Lillee as a souvenir for the trips that both of us had undertaken to parts of U.P. like Guldher, Sanjay Nagar,Roorkee,Muzzafarnagar and numerous other obscure places for playing cricket matches. I remember seeing all three of them in tears that day and I was moist eyed myself. It scared me to think what if I never see them again. And today as I write this I can only thank my Lord for blessing me with their presence in my life cos even today I am a lil scared of never being able to see them again in the rush of this mad mad world.

    But for now I am only wondering how to convince them that my cricketing skills haven’t eroded in the last nine years. They seem to think otherwise after a couple of matches we played this last weekend on the same street that I used to rule as a champion.

    Why do some things have to change?

    Epilogue: Jack Nicholson in the movie “A Few Good Men”- “Wanna tell you something and listen up cos I really mean this .There is nothing sexier on this earth, believe me gentlemen, than a woman that you have to salute in the morning. Promote ‘em all, I say cos this is true. If you haven’t got a b*****b by a superior officer you are just letting the best in life pass you by. ”

    Issac M. John in the post “Summer of ’98”-
    “Wanna tell you something and listen up cos I know this. There is nothing more precious on this earth believe me ladies and gentlemen, than your friends you have grown up with. Never leave them, I say cos this is true. If you haven’t come back with your decade-long friends on the same streets you used to once cycle with your childhood sweetheart with a ‘Chuski’ in hand you are just letting the best in life pass you by. ”

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Summer of '98

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