The day after today, I am leaving for Mumbai. I wouldn’t be around for a week or so. Not until 17th. I guess it is just natural that I get all nostalgic. I have a tendency to tarry in the past especially when the past is so gloriously golden! So today the waves of memories brought me few moments of a friend who was so unique and so dear and yet so far away… always…
I had seen him first in our class. The first day of college and he had involved our professor in an argument . infact had caught the professor while teaching us something wrong and he was trying to tactfully point that out . Well tact was something he lacked dreadfully and the result was chaos! Most of us thought he is showing off his “knowledge” and were feeling bad for the poor professor who had obviously not prepared well for the first day.. As months passed by our opinion about him really dint change.. he never sat for the lectures and when he did.. he was way beyond our capabilities in that subject and way beyond what sir taught us.. I admired him with a tinge of envy too.. he was this mysterious thing … this cynical being.. he intrigued me!
I dont exactly know when we started talking. I have tried hard to remember but I know it was in the second year. What I remember is long conversations where we debated on every topic under the earth.. the benefit/drawback of being the only child (which he was) or the last child (which I was) if god existed or not.. some technology.. our professors.. etc etc.. the list was endless.. so was our conversations.. mostly umm people interrupted us.. and he never interacted with anyone else in my group.. if someone comes more often than not he would excuse himself and leave. He was not shy.. he was recluse.. and drawing him out was a challenge for me
And I dont remember when it changed from just a challenge to pleasure.. but as I said or did I? he was intensely moody.. on some days he won’t even smile at me.. and at others he would wait for me to show up to continue our chats.. and every chat was delightful! And all of my fondest memories were with him, swaps and me together.. sitting in the canteen or the hill near our hostel.. he with his ridiculously small guitar.. (he was learning) and swaps acting over smart and we all singing songs together.. or the long walks.. once again where we both monopolized the conversation..
And yet when he got a drop ( lost an year as he had many papers back.. though he was amazingly brainy it never translated in papers.. ) it was easy to leave him behind .. possibly coz he was never “always” around.. it was his choice.. he seeked my company and when we did spend time it was amazing for both of us… it worked both ways.. I wud never seek him coz I am too proud to seek someone when I know he might rudely reject it when he is not in the mood.. and well for him.. he didnt feel suffocated by this friendship.. there was no obligation..
And then we kind of lost contact. I moved to Bangalore and he was still in college. But then we started writing emails to each other. Chatty long emails and occasional chats on yahoo messengers.. I was going through a bad phase and he was trying to make me feel upbeat.. but one day I was pissed by something he said and I logged off. Those days I didnt have net at home and used to go to a cyber cafe. As I said I ignored his chat sessions and his phone calls. I still remember 53 miss calls and then we again stopped corresponding
Until one day.. long after this incident, I had one idea ruminating in my mind and I wanted to share it with someone. My then boy friend was not very receptive of it.. Well it was not practical. My mind knew it.. but my heart reveled in my idea.. and lets face it all possible inventions are potentially improbable when they were conceived isnt it ? Ah well.. so I pinged him! Shameless me.. but I didn’t know who else to contact.. for he was one person who listened to me.. and credited me with intelligence. We had shared many a wacky ideas while in college.. and well he was the obvious choice. And to his credit he was receptive to me and we had the same camaraderie in an instant! he did pass some sarcastic comment as was his right and i profusely apologized and all was well in my world.
He moved to USA to do his MS and surprisingly we still kept contact.. when I had break up he steered my mind clear of all the unpleasantness and invited me to open my eyes to possibilities to think to be what I was when I was in college an healthy mind brimming with thoughts and zest.. Ah well I dont wanna sound self pitying 😦 but I envied him so.. the plans we had made together.. he had made it good and here i was languishing as a tech supp taking shit from people who think they are entitled to abuse just just coz we are Indians.. when we were helping them trouble shoot stuff that we can’t even imagine using etc etc..
His thesis was exciting .. his place his college.. everything came alive to me when we chatted and I lived precariously through him.. And I shed tears in frustration and in envy too.. So much so that once I couldnt contain and it burst through in office.. Others suggested that I stop chatting with him.. but how could I ? he held a vision of me which I had long forgotten myself.. briefly enough but still I was back to my college where was the most popular and a confirmed genius of my class. A place where professors had huge hopes of me.. Ah well.. so we continued to correspond..
I still remember one day in office I was in night shift and yet we chatted on phone for 5 hours.. yes 5 hours on ISD and we were discussing why separate state of South India not such a viable solution.. he was for it… n I was against.. the arguments were made with such passion that people wondered if we were face to face.. would we end up hurting each other physically and they were amazed when we put the phone down with so much bonhomie and good humor.. We were always able to argue without ever letting the ego come in between wrongly I mean we respected each other too much to ever spoil the friendship..
The interesting point is we never ever discussed emotions, feelings or day today happenings It was always some idea some debate… or something that he would show me.. he used to sketch write poems etc etc,, ** those days I wouldn’t write anything** Or we would discuss nature and dreams.. amazing amazing dreams!
And then one day he stopped calling.. I guess it was that he got busy with his college exams etc etc.. and there was some issue with Indians getting job out there.. recession had just started but it was already affecting him.. he said he might have to come back so he was delaying completing his thesis as much as possible.. and then.. we lost contact. I wont say I was very diligent and I tried to contact him.. I didn’t I always believed he will contact me when he is in the right mood.. as was the norm. and yet.. umm he never did.. 6 months down the line I sent him 2 sms asking whats up with him.. and I received calls from unknown numbers which I dont really pick up.. that again is a different story.. when I didnt respond the person smsed me.. Hi this is Tischi.. I received sms on my other no. “#$^^%” (his international cell #) may I know who you are ?
I was so shocked that he didn’t save my number after all these years.. I cant really explain why.. but I felt extremely hurt and I didn’t respond to him.. he did try to call me from his international mobile too.. but I never responded.. btw the other number was local else I wud have known its him.. coz I knew no one else who would call me from USA..
Anyways.. that was the end of it for now.. nah no sweet ending.. but I do have sweet sweet memories of him.. probably always will…. May be I will meet him in this marriage that I going for.. our classmates are getting married probably he might come. Lets see how things go.. but today for some reason he has been on my mind all day long .. I guess Tischi this one is for you 🙂
P.S: it is really interesting story behind his name.. as you can make out if you can the name is not indian… its russian infact Tischiel is the actual name. As he says while his mom was pregnant she read a lot of russian lit and she got so inspired that she named him thus.
P.P.S: he had a nick name for me : Meenus 🙂