Thursday, September 24, 2009
Time: 11:30 p.m.
Place: Outside Yoko’s – our FIRST hangout place !
“Where is he ?”, I asked Kauhik (Koseek) & Varun (Va) as soon as I reached.
“He’ll directly meet us at Gokul”. We left immediately for Gokul.
Rahul (Ra) usually takes our order n gets us all our ice creams. Today was going to be no different ! As usual, we order 5 ice creams among the 4 of us (1 for each & 1 special flavor common for all !). And the conversation started . . .
Me: “my ice cream is ridiculous”.
I had a habit of tasting new flavours every time & “coffee-walnut: certainly didn’t meet my approval.
Va: “I told you. Why do you mix random things like coffee n walnut”.
I had seen him shake his head in disbelief when he first heard me mulling over coffee walnut !!
Suddenly, I dropped a piece of my ice cream while eating & scooped it up and put it on a tissue paper.
Koseek:“What are you doing dude ?”
Me: “Arre, it had fallen down – im just putting it away”
Koseek: “Oh, I thought you were saving some for the crows, like so many people do. Hahah !”
Me: “Hey, is this a belief in Sindhis predominantly ? I had a sindhi female in my previous office who also daily kept aside some of her lunch, went to the terrace n offered it to the crows !”
Koseek: “Not specifically sindhis. When someone in the family dies, it is believed that he/she turns into a crow and that is how it starts. Someone must’ve dies in her family.”
Me: “Yeah, dying waala funda I know. My mom also believes that. I don’t”
Va: “Arre, I also believe that yaar. My dada had expired. Since then we started offering bread butter to a particular SAME crow that visited our window every morning. And im very sure it was the same crow And he NEVER accepted bread without butter ! He used to thow it back in from the window ! My dad also ALWAYS wanted ghee or butter on his bread. And the clincher, once I was alone at home n smoking at the window – we were in school – and the cow was perched on a branch opposite my window & ANGRILY drilling his beak into the tree as if he is upset & angered. I completely believe that that crow was dadaji !”
Ra: But these crows r solid haraami yaar. How much noise they make & if one of them dies . . oh god. Ten thousand crows come together n jeena haraam kar dete hai kau kau kar ke. Koi kuch nahi kar sakta !!
Everyone was in splits in the way rahul expressed himself with gestures and tone of voice. He was known for cracking funny comments in an extremely exaggerated way. Ten thousand crows !!
Me: Yeah, I go to the terrace everyday after my dada’s death n feed gaathiya to the crows. And if by chance, one day im sleeping late, one of the crows comes to my window n wakes me up by crowinf incessantly ! I was surprised in the beginning. I tried sending my mom up to the terrace for a week & once when she was late, the crows sat outside her window n woke her up ! Thy had figured out that it is a different person and also that she sleeps in a different room ! They are super intelligent, boss.
And, by then, the ice creams were over.
Can you believe that this was the last proper conversation we would be having while sitting together & hanging out. We were just the same as always - no emotions, no relevant talks. Completely irrelevant, random topics to talk about - even if it was the last time we were probably talking face to face !
“Ek photo banta hai yaar”, someone said. We placed the camera on the opposite table and were trying to find a good angle for a automatic shot, when some one came in and offered to click our snap. Our last snap together for a long long time.
The last ice cream ! (We shoud've gone for supper..hahaha)
Yes, Rahul was going away the next morning to London for his Masters. He would return after a year for a while & then go back there for work. He said he’ll return soon and wants to settle here, but who know what happens 2 years down the line. As of now, he was going.
Yuvaraj had left 3 years back & come back yearly only for a few days after that. Now it was Rahul. And we had grown so close in the last 3 years. Spent so much time together.
Weekly movies at gaiety-galaxy (until they decided to increase the ticket costs !), Saturday night meetings at Carter road, many a times with nothing to discuss, Goa trip – Palolem, 9 bar – all that Rahul had told us !!!. Then, the MP trip, where we spotted a tiger n I ll never forget Rahul’s comment in the jungles there – “Sambar is a waste of a species !” I sill laugh when I think of that !!
Rahul’s jokes, his unnecessary comments, his way of exaggerating everything, his behavoiur once he’s 2 bottles of beer down, his mischievous smile – white teeth showing prominently in his dark face – and you know he’s upto something when he smiles - we’ll miss that all. Always.
We dropped him home, bid him a goodbye and he said, “see you guys at the airport tomorrow”. We said that we had decided not to come, that it ll be time for him to be with family. But he insisted, got a bit emotional & we could not refuse. In our hearts, we knew that we had to be there at the airport the next day.
We did go the next day, again wished him luck & saw him enter the airport and then we turned our backs and left. Goodbyes at the airport are always difficult for me. I ve cried everytime I ve gone there to drop a friend off. I had cried when Rajat had gone, I had cried when shweta had gone. I had cried when yuvaraj had gone. And I dint even have the guts to go for my 2 most difficult goodbyes (I wont name them here). I did those a few days earlier than the flight.
This time too, I fought back tears n crumpled my nose when varun looked at me.
“Airport goodbyes are tough dude”, I said.
Yes, in today's day & age - the world has "flattened", as Mr. Friedman puts it. The channels of communication have improved and increased - phone costs are cheaper, free chat through google, yahoo, skype, use of webcam etc etc. Yes, but it definitely doesnt make up for physical absence. and we'll realise that shortly - in our saturday night meetings !
Yuvaraj was gone. Rahul was now gone. And then, there were 3.