Archive for November, 2007


Yesterday, I had a chat with my the corners of my heart. Strange isn’t it, that the heart is usually mentioned in context of love, romance and such but very rarely in regard of friendship. The heart expresses intense feelings and in my case yesterday, it showed me how it could show those feelings for my friend – B. Kiran Kumar Bankupalli – a.k.a Kiru – a.k.a 78 – a.k.a Rahul – a.k.a Dad (long story) – a.k.a Hitch

“So you are Room number 77? Me and MK have been looking all over for you!”

That’s the first line that Kiran spoke when I met him outside my room in our college. He was Room 78, I was 77. Looking back over the years, I can’t thank my parents and his enough for naming us the way they did. For two long years, we explored what a friendship was all about. He was a veteran, having made good friends throughout his life . I was a wildcard entry. We made good progress. We had discussions that in my opinion were far ahead of our times (still). We watched the same movies. We ate the same food. We played the same games. Somewhere during that time a tacit agreement was made .. This one’s for keeps. Everything was not hunky-dory of course. There were times when I had hurt him owing to simple stupidity and selfishness on my part. It was easy doing it. But looking at his face after that and just imagining how his face would look like if I were to see it, made me feel even smaller than the smallest worm around. But somewhere in his big heart he found the grace to forgive me and our relationship recovered from a road block and chugged on.

On the last day of college, he left before me, wisely so. I spent 6 hours without him in the campus. If I could put down here how painful those moments were, I would. Maybe suffering is God’s way of extracting repentance. Fate, in collaboration with our respective employers took us to different corners of the country. He went to Chennai and I went to Mumbai. But Fate it seems was no stranger to paradoxical twists. After taking me to Mumbai, Singapore, Malaysia, interior Maharashtra, Bangalore it finally bought me back to Chennai. Kiran opened up his home to me and I found new friends in his apartment. We spent a wonderful year there. Kiran and I picked just from where we had left off in college. We were back to sharing interests in people, in companies, in thoughts.

When he left for his USA trip, I decided to shift the house. We took a small nice apartment in Besant Nagar. The year I spent there- Nov 1, 2006 to Oct 21,2007 I shall never forget. That is the time that the concrete cementing of the relationship happened. As I write these words, so many memories are flooding my head. Its quite overwhelming. The time we decided to start a company. The time I locked myself up in the guest bedroom. The first time we sat on top of the terrace. The time when we got a projector and watched a movie in the house (his reaction was priceless!). The painful time when we had a cat in the house. The time when he asked me to permanently sit in the chair and watch the match so that India would win 20-20 world cup. All the times he took the responsibility of finishing up my Sodex-ho passes. The way he adjusted the AC in my car. The time he bought his first bike. The time we celebrated his half birthday, my sister’s birthday, Manju’s birthday, Ruby’s Birthday. The time when he took my family in my car to Mahabalipuram which was, in his learned opinion, only “4 kms from Chennai”. The time we spent at Murugan Idli, at Baywatch, at Pupil, at Subway, at Eden, on the footpath at Khana Khazana. The time we spent talking. The time we spent laughing. The time we spent being.

All my friends know him and all his friends know me. Everytime I meet one of his friends they’ll tell me Kiran would keep talking about me all the time. My parents never got tired of asking why I always included Kiran in every second sentence I spoke to them. When we were together, I was I and he was he. In the middle of any conversation, I could look into his eyes and figure out what the rest of the conversation was going to be like. Towards the end, most of the talking was perfunctory. The communication had already been done by the way the question was asked, the way the response was given was given or simply taken for granted. There is possibly nothing about my life till Oct 21, 2007 that he doesn’t know and he has involved me so deeply in his past that I find myself substituting my past for his.

Yesterday, B. Kiran Kumar, my buddy of 4 years, left Chennai to Shrikakulam to get married. I am sad because I wanted to be there when he boarded the train and left. I wanted to be there at the last moment to say good-bye. I know it sounds stupid. But I think the reason I am sad about not being there, is because if I was there I would have a far better reason to be sad and than be here, thousands of miles away and feel miserable. It sounds crazy when I read it, but makes perfect sense inside my head.

He will marry his childhood sweetheart. He will come back to Chennai with his beloved and stay in same house that we had stayed in. He shall grow roots there and build his family there. He will be happy. I am happy for him. My sadness is in equal measure.

Yesterday, Fate cast its die once more.

“Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away,
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay,
Oh, I believe in yesterday

Suddenly, I’m not half the man I used to be,
There’s a shadow hanging over me,
Oh, Yesterday came suddenly”

– The Beatles (1965)

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The Drinks are on me!

Last Thursday night, Arjun (my friend from Engineering) and I went to drink in Dubai. We had a beer at this place called Good Fellas. I told him that (like I tell everybody else) that I’ve never been to a disc before. He told me that he was also new to this place. But he heard that there was this good disc around. We went looking for it. When we found the place, they were asking for 50 AED for entry. We bit our lips and paid up. This was very very important for me.

The room that we entered upstairs was dimly lit. It had a very brown, shady look to it as is common with most bars in India. It was longer in front of us and shorter to the sides. The whole place stretched roughly about double the size of our MPH in XIM. The entire length of the wall facing us was a bar. On the right wall there was a stage that was set for a bad to come in. Behind us there was again another small bar. All around in the middle, there were pillars. And around these pillars, the barstools and the walls were the only seats.

When I entered the room, I noticed none of what I have written above. All I noticed was the crowd. There were men, sure. But there were women and women and women. Everywhere I turned my head there were women walking, chatting, drinking, smoking. Arjun and I couldn’t figure much of what was going on, I was getting the feeling that something was happening when ..

“Hi there .. where are you from”. The voice belonged to a dark lady with lovely, large eyes. She was trying to be coy. I didn’t get her name but she was from East Africa she told me.

“Do you like a good time”, she asked. I told her that I was here for a good time, but I’d just got here and that I would talk to her again when I left.

She stroked my arm and told me”I”ll be waiting here for you. Come back soon”.
I smiled said bye, turned around to Arjun and put the biggest smile that I had on my face. I found that he had already done the same for himself.

We both realised that this was a big pickup point. BIG. It wasn’t even weekend and the ratio of men to women was already skewing in the favor that interested both of us. We picked a table at the far end of the room so that we had a good view of the entire scene. A Turkish man called Yousuf joined us. He chatted for a while with a Filipino lady. Later we found out that he was here on construction business. He had come here looking for his beloved C.C. a Filipino girl who had ‘pleasured’ him on his last week. She was tall and strong and had lots of burji (whatever that meant!). Arjun and I enjoyed it all thoroughly. We scanned the crowd. We were trying to figure out who would be the one charging the most. After a good look around, we both agreed that it had to be the Russian. She was tall and extremely fair, wearing a black dress that was open in places to drive home the point. She and a friend of hers simply walked around. I was surprised by this. Most of the girls there would walk up to you at a glance or a smile. They made the first move. In the case of the slender Russian, she simply walked all over the place, slowly, pacing herself so that nobody missed anything. If there was a Ms. Hot in the room, the Russian was it.

Having settled that, Arjun and I proceeded to talk with the Turk who was very upset that he had not found C.C. He excused himself after joking with us for a while, saying that he was going to give it his last best shot. We watched the crowd for a while, got bored and got back to our drinks which we found were getting filled up seconds after it was being emptied. Suddenly Arjun nudged me. I looked at him. He was smiling and his eyes were urging me to look to my left.

When I turned to the left, I found that I was face to face with a lot of black. I looked up and it took quite some time to reach the end of it. That was where the black melted away into a bright face with golden hair tossed all about. It was the Russian!

She didn’t say a a word. She simply stared at me. I raised an eye-brow and she copied it. I said Hi. She said Hi. Silence. I said that I’d seen her walking by. She couldn’t understand what I was saying. Silence. She asked me where I was from. I told her that I was from Mumbai. I was having too much trouble explaining to people that a place called Chennai existed in India. She said ‘Aah .. Mumbai‘. She asked me my name. I told her. She told me she was Roxanna and that she was from Ukraine. Only a minute had passed, but I felt we had been talking for an hour. Such was the power of her presence. People sitting arounf all around me stopped to watch Roxanna talk. I’m guessing she didn’t do it much. She looked me over one more time and asked me a question that I will never forget for the rest of my life….

Zo you boyz only dreenk?”

I told her the truth. She smiled and walked away. I turned to Arjun. We both burst out laughing. That was the best line I had ever heard! The band had come in. They started with some very dull numbers. But pretty soon, they began playing good music. When I heard ‘Losing My Religion’, I took my glass, went near the stage and sang every word of the song as best as I could.

We left there around midnight, smiling, laughing and reliving every moment of our time inside. As we grabbed a couple of Felafels on the roadside, I told Arjun something that made him laugh even louder than before.

I still hadn’t been to a disc.

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