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)