Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Yesterday in Ipswich

Maybe it was a long lost friend who met me on Facebook just as I was about to leave for home.
Maybe my kids had whined a little too much that morning over a dumb piece of paper with the usual “No I took it first, no I took it first” squabble.
Maybe I wanted to rebel against the nagging neck pain that reminded me it was mid-life.
Maybe I loved my Ipswich days a little too much - carefree days, single, phoren country, very little responsibility and pounds in the pocket.

That day when I sat in my car on BMCC road, the road back home was different. I was not in my car. I was sitting in a time machine that was taking me back to 1999. I was sitting alone on the front seat of the bus on Superroute 66. The English countryside was still the same – lush green and peaceful. I got down at my stop and walked alone through the town centre lane, making a quick check to see if there was anything new at Primark.

I turned on Law college road. I saw a group of friends having fun outside Mocha. I saw Ashish, Ajita, Pournima, Vicky, Ajit and me lazying around in the living room of our house, chatting, playing cards. It was past 12 on a Sunday morning. Should we take a shower or just loaf a little while more each one thought. “It’s ok , it’s Sunday” was the collective decision and the day passed doing nothing. Absolutely nothing! Absolutely priceless!

Someone honked loud and irked me a bit but I was back in my happy place. From my office building to the BT canteen in the afternoon cold, wearing an oversized purple suede coat I had loaned from my aunt, I walked with Gautam and Ashish – debating vegetarianism. Me defending it, the other two – best debaters in the world - counter arguing – “Even plants have feelings, so plucking plants is as heinous as killing animals for food”. Gosh, we could talk on anything for any long.

I reached Nal stop; the RJs were babbling a little too much. I switched off the radio. I sang Santosh’s song “Zindagi jab bhi teri bazm mein laati hain hamein”, out loud. What agony he sang “Har mulakat ka anjam judai kyu hain?” with. I remembered him singing it more than 20 times in one day. And we (Joy, Salil, Smita and me) always wanted more.

I crossed Chitale on the right. If anyone could compete with their bakarwadis it was Vinita. On a Saturday afternoon Vinita and I decided to make bakarwadis at home. An inspiration, this woman has been in my life! On the bus ride to the tulip gardens near Amsterdam Vinita sang “Pyar ke mod pe chodoge jo bahein meri.” I had heard it for the first time then – I’ll never forget it now. And darling Savani – my 2 and a half year old friend, who taught me how much fun kids could be. Ms. Tup-tup Sawant, Ms. Dahi-dahi Athalye misses you. Or was it dahi-dahi sawant and tup-tup athalye? Either ways it was sheer amusement.

I turned right towards Dahanukar colony. There were no street lights that day. It was dark – around midnight. I slept in my little room wondering whether my friends remembered my birthday. But I am me, so I had made sure they knew. And then they all came - with gifts, cake and a musical card that is still safely kept in a bag on the loft.

I parked my car. I took the stairs instead of the elevator. I wasn’t done yet. Sue Roberts, Andrew Jr., Marc Kirshna, the old English guy who said I reminded him of his granddaughter (how could I forget his name?), the hot girl from Mumbai who was loved by all boys and envied by all girls, some faces without names, some names without faces - one after the other like a bunch of flash cards.

I rang the bell. My kids ran to me and hugged me tight. “Why are you so late?” said the little one. I felt a little guilty. I should have taken the elevator. “Come, we want to show you our new dance”, they said literally dragging me by the purse. What followed was hilarious entertainment for the next half hour. “There’s no point running back to yesterday”, I thought, “’cause tomorrow I know I will be running back to today.”

1 comment:

Ketaki said...

How did I miss this? Beautifully written . Now I am back in Fort Collins...