Follow by Email

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

luna and bullet_1997 revisited

i thought it was 14 years back. no it was actually 16+ years - when i reached my grand aunt's house in kerala after my 12th grade for some extra coaching. it was the time when everyone was standing upside down to make it to an engg or a medical school in india.

delhi was still waking up from winters and i said good bye to my friends who were busy aiming for AIIMS and IIT. i was quite certain i will be back in the city even if i don’t make it through medical or engineering entrance exams. it was a funny phase in my life. i cudn simply tell my family that i don’t aim what they aimed at for me. i was not fascinated by surgical instruments or math and was bearing the brunt of having scored more than 85% in the 10th board exams. in my school they automatically put top-scorers in A-division where you are supposed to pledge your life to become either a medic or an engineer. i used to envy my friends who got 'only' arts or 'commerce'. to keep me focused better i had tuitions everyday after school. i was scheming to get out of the trap.

trivandrum was a new place for me. i loved the new freedom after 2 years of book cramming. new bed room was shared with 3 other girls - all an year or two elder to me instead of my little sister who was always aping me to get more attention. new food. my grand aunt and great grand mother and plenty of cousins to spend time with made it less of a study break. the place was surrounded by temples that woke you up with their bells and chants early in the morning. the street smelled of marigold and diesel fumes may be because the house had a flower shop next door and passenger buses running right through [almost] its front gate.

i met roona there. roona thankam varughese. she was my grand aunt's family friend's daughter. she was also there for coaching purposes. my grand aunt had two daughters - one was studying for engineering and the other was going to soon join the elder sis. we used to spend a lot of time together but i bond best with roona. i fell in love with her vechuchira-style of spoken malayalam. the 'achayan' [christians from central kerala] slang. she barely ate vegetables and fondly spoke of her mom's chicken curry like it was a beautiful poem. though i was a vegetarian and poor eater i was fond of the chocolates my grand aunt stocked in her fridge. roona also loved them. they were the same brand that her dad got for her from kuwait. we shared it along with plenty of hostel memories and early-crush stories from school days.

the flower shop boys used to tease us calling luna and bullet [for roona and babloo]. the rest of the street's bystanders would murmur something inaudible if you did not look at them. probably they were upset for not getting enough attention. i thought so. and used to make eye contact to know how different it would be for them to shut up when we walked past and roona would stop me from doing that. she was just like many of my cousins in kerala and the coaching centre class girls who giggled mostly only when no one was looking.

i found the whole exercise of crossing the street very exciting - so many things to look at. an old frail woman who seemed like would fall dead anytime... was found sweeping the temple gates unfailing everyday - all three months of my stay there. a young boy walked and skipped and ran all the same time with 20 t-cups full of 'elastic tea' yelling at everyone who came his way 'to make way'.

that was an age when you pick colloquial slang at the drop of the hat. i could trick people to believe that i was from either trivandrum or vechuchira. malayalam, just like english or hindi, is a very funny language with many twangs.

well the most exciting thing about those days were that we used to go to the terrace to complete assignments and stay long after everyone at home went to sleep. mostly only to chat and laugh... and eat chocolates. oblivious of what future was to be worried about. kerala has the most beautiful night skies in the world.

around that time was the town's biggest festival - attukal pongala. where a lot of women assemble to cook and offer sweet porridge to their 'mother' or favourite goddess who fulfiled their wishes each year for them to come back again with more women. as millions come here - its quite a scene. u can compare it to durga poojo in calcutta.

from the terrace we would get the funniest view of the day's event where various-shaped women with their various accents sat, ate, chatted all day and slept near their porridge pot. i will have to blog another time to write all about this festival.

roona is very special to me though we have kept in touch sparingly ever since the three-month coaching-class got over and flew off to continue studies in various cities... found jobs that were changed... found life partners [not changed]... could not even attend each other's wedding. she shortened my pet name babloo to blu in one of her greeting cards... and that is how i found i could just be B'lu you know! its my brush name if you noticed.

i met roona last week after 16 years. its an inexplicable feeling when u meet a good friend after so long. after the momentary 'o my god look how fat we have become' yell... we became the teenagers that we were - amazing moment!

there are these few things i feel am really fortunate to have – to have a friend like roona who came all the way from bangalore to meet me despite her busy work tour. and to be able to serve a warm homemade dinner after a long day at work. felt so loved and rested - when she hugged me. this will last till we meet next. hopefully not so long!

No comments: