Sunday, September 13, 2009


Its Sam’s turn now. He leaves on the 15th of this month for Cardiff to pursue his MBA. I called him a little while back to have one of those last pre-departure chats. A Trademark “Bol Bail-ke-Bulle” (I decline to translate that) greeted me from the other side and immediately an overwhelming pain welled up inside. Although the guy kept insisting he would come back after his course was done and take up a job at Pune, I know and I am sure he does too, that this probably was going be it. The point where Sam leaves the nest.
The process began with Babu leaving Pune in 2006, Karan Singh around the same time for Mumbai and then Jeetu, followed by Bikram who eventually came back and finally myself in 2008. Mayukh plans to leave in about a year or so. Although Jeetu keeps coming down from Aurangabad and catches up with Bikram and Mayukh da, Babu hasn’t been to Pune for a while.
I dare to think what would become of Pune in about two or three years from now. Bikram would be gone and so would Mayukh da. The city for me wouldn’t be complete without the rest of the seven. The city would be the same as what it was in the monsoon of 2003 when I first set foot in it as a lone stranger. There wouldn’t be much of a point visiting it alone.
Before hanging up I wished Sameer all the very best. I couldn’t tell him how much I would miss him, I wouldn’t be uncomfortable, but if you’re reading this Sam, Carpe Diem man! Get back soon, Ehsaas hasn’t played its best gig yet!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Palone in the rain

Last Saturday taught me that you can have fun irrespective of the company, place or situation, only if you want to. That day I was pretty sure a few places in Kolkata were on their way to getting completely submerged under water, the incessant rainfall accompanied by storm like winds made it impossible for anyone to have a Saturday night out. Every street in the city was flooded and it just wouldn't cease to rain.

I had been out earlier that afternoon to meet an old friend and have a drink with him but that plan went up the chimney when he showed up badly sozzled and apologetically begged me to call the plan off, reluctantly I obliged, put him in a taxi and sent him off silently cursing him under my breath for having made me wait for almost two and a half hours while he was at another party guzzling away....

With a heavy-ish heart I made off to meet another friend of mine who lived nearby to salvage whatever was left of my Saturday evening. The both of us were in need. He wasnt feeling well and needed someone to talk to and I needed a beer. By the time I had marched half way through his place the heavens had begun spraying the city with a renewed vengeance and the winds had gotten worse. My umbrella barely managed to protect my upper half while my lower half suffered punishing lashes of wind and rain. Walking like a maniac I reached his place in about fifteen minutes , wet and pretty mad at the sheer injustice of it all.

I hadnt reached the guy's doorstep when I heard his voice from the terrace above; "Dude, dont come in, lets go out for a walk instead!"

"...only if we're getting beer!"

Within seconds he was downstairs looking ridiculous in his see-through, plastic rain-coat, a huge picnic umbrella and a silly grin on his face.

A daunting task, walking a kilometer and a half to the nearest beer store, the odds were, getting fearfully wet because of the cyclonic conditions outside, drowning and ending up in some ditch, getting run over by a speeding car blinded by the wind and rain, stepping into a drain overflowing with the filthiest water mankind has ever seen and the likes. A silent prayer and off we were.

The tiny gullys that make inlets into neighbourhoods are the worst to tackle during such heavy rains as the levels of accumulated water could get very high, sometimes as high as your privates, maybe higher and there's no telling what could be floating around in the mucky water and the slightest of inadvertent exposure of that water to your precious-s to could have disastrous consequences. Yet, we delved into it like brave soldiers holding on to each other's shoulders for support. People stood huddled underneath parapets, on the pavements on either side and gaped at us, probably wondering what could have impelled such intrepidity.

After a few minutes of wading through the water, balancing ourselves with one arm on each other's shoulders and the other holding our respective umbrellas the blessed sight of the beer shack started to appear within visual range, but hold on, why was the owner standing near the exit fiddling with the lock?

My "Oooo bhai...darao, bondho koro na, amra aschi!" (Hey there, dont shut down, we're coming!!) fell to deaf ears and in an almost Bollywood-ish (actually more like Tollywood-ish) artistryI gunned ahead leaving my friend badly disbalanced who for a few seconds wobbled around for support , then submitting to the might of the water current let himself splash into the muck face down, his gigantic picnic-umbrella floated around happily. The shutter had almost come half way down when with an earth shattering cry I tossed my umbrella at the metal shutter that made a more than audible bang!! The shutter immediately went up and peeped out a slightly scared face....

Spitting out a mouthful of gooey water and gasping desperately for breath the greedy and suffering Gollum in me spoke..." precious!"

We stood dripping wet underneath a tree that Saturday night, the two of us, sipping beer, talking and celebrating the fruits of human endeavour. Beer had never tasted better before.