On a sweltering July afternoon, while playing cricket, was the first time that I set my eyes on him. Leaning on the lone tree on the playing field with his hands folded across his chest, it all seemed odd to me. Here he was, intensely looking on at the game, but not venturing to ask, if he could be a part of us. Going by the initial reports we got of the new kid on the block, it seemed even weirder. On the very first day itself, he had characterised himself as someone who is fluid with the girls, and questioned the lecturers incessantly
What followed the very next day was funny. He had the gall to call the most argumentative guy of our batch, a monkey. That man went to the lengths of entire Vizag to find out why he was called ‘a monkey’. What shocked us all was, he was the only guy with an entire month’s supply of tokens to the canteen, and was quite careless about the way he got rid of those tokens.
My relationship with him grew in bits. We went to a movie, Jayam, where we had our first fight. He wanted to be on time for the last bus from the city to the college, and I insisted that we finish watching the names card being rolled after the movie. Well, we did catch the bus back after all.
He was called with names of all sorts. One of the first names he responded to was ‘Caribbean’. It had more to do with the hairstyle he sported, and also the attire, rather than the colour of his skin. His colour was encapsulated in a few beautiful lines written by his sister in a letter, one of the first, he received from New Delhi, and it was so hilarious that I rib him till day with those same lines.
Unknown to us, the friendship was strengthened with every single day that passed. Another incident that remains rooted in the memory is the drive to Alpha Biryani hotel on a rainy day. When these little wishes of his were fulfilled, the eyebrows came together, and he squealed with delight, uttering the words ‘it’s fun’. These two words are etched in the memory of everyone who was around him, when he was excited. None more so than the incident in the resort opposite our hostel. I can write a book of anecdotes on him, but would save it for a rainy day.
After college, I went to work, and he went on to pursue his post-graduation. Every phone conversation we had, he never forgot to remind me that my office didn’t have AC, while his college had one. His first job was a source of much fun. His boss, and his obsession for perfect pronunciation of telugu words was the butt of many jokes. Then came his association with MAYTAS. When questioned about the company, he used to go on an extempore which was based on the premise that MAYTAS was SATYAM spelt backwards. When MAYTAS was on the verge of a breakdown, he never expressed frustration. All he spoke about was his trust on the company. That for me is panacea. It represents his core. He totally believes in what he does, at that moment.
Every single gal he linked me to, got married within an year of the link-up. Jokes apart, he was my go-to man whenever my relationship was in trouble. I could sob inconsolably, and laugh heartily with him next to me, and never be judged. His piece of advice to me will always stand me in good stead. He said ‘Never let ego hamper you in getting close to a person. If you really want the person in your life, nothing else should matter’. He was there for me: always.
I remember him being by my side in the hour of my greatest crisis. What adds to the situation is the fact that his sister’s engagement was just a couple of days away. We rip each other apart, when we get talking about beliefs. I don’t vouch for most of the things that he stands up for, but given the sort of passion that he puts up in every endeavour of his, you are led to believe the man rather than his beliefs
Thanks for being there, Adi