This brilliant blog, reminded me that I had one too. Neglected for a long time.
It was either just a few days after I had finished engineering, or a year before that. Anyway, I had just come back to Chennai from Bangalore. Shriram was in Chennai too, probably looking for a job. We were sitting in the hot room, staring into the computer, listening to Nutshell on the loop, when Shriram suggested that we take the afternoon Lalbagh to Bangalore.
Why, I asked. What about reservations? Arrey, we can go in the unreserved compartment. Chal let’s go. Shriram is impulsive like that. And he is a bloody good convincer. Anyway, the purpose behind the trip was to meet Tulsi, the mysterious (then) chat friend that he had (They are since happily married, but the story of their wedding is a tale to be told some time later). I was to be his wingman for the trip.
Amma did not really have much of a chance stopping us, and thus, we found ourselves, taking the suburban train from Mambalam to Central, and then into the long serpentine queue for the unreserved ticket for Lalbagh.
A little while later, we were in the train, and found ourselves a place to sit as well. Opposite us, sat this girl, who we later learnt was an engineering student in Vellore. I don’t remember much about her now, but still, who would have thought that after dreaming of getting a F20 in your coupe when you travel, that an F20 would be sitting next to you, in an overcrowded unreserved compartment, on an impromptu trip.
You never know how frozen you can become when stuff of dreams materialize in life.
Shriram, though, all confident, winked, nudged and poked at me, egging me on to start talking with the F20. I am sure, I sat there wooden, like Bobby Deol in most of his movies, on the uncomfortable wooden seat, slightly embarrassed by the over-the-top gestures that Shriram is prone to make.
But conversation with the F20 did happen. And the three of us spoke over the two hours that it took for the train to get to Katpadi. As the VIT campus sped past us, she started to gather her belongings, and I found some courage to ask for her email address.
I do not share my email address with strangers, came her reply as the train pulled into Katpadi.
Shriram and I had a good laugh as the train pulled out of Katpadi. We were meeting after nearly 4 years, and the rest of the trip was a blur of us retelling college stories, of late night cram sessions, of trips to Goa, Tirupati, Mysore, of daroo parties, of crushes and broken love…
The train reached Bangalore at around 10 in the night, and as we hopped buses in trying to get to somewhere beyond C.V.RamanNagar, Shriram regaled me with the story from his college, so outrageous, that the scene is etched forever in my memory.
We went to meet Tulsi the next day. She had gotten her friend to tag along as well, and the four of us, after some brain-storming on what to do, found ourselves in Amoeba. Shriram and I tried our hand at every game possible, while Tulsi and her friend stood in a corner and chatted. At-least that is what I remember of the day.