Adieu to an old friend. It’s been 13 years, 9months, and five days since I came here. I still remember it vividly despite my horrible memory. At 8 am, my father and I wandered around in sector 15, somewhere close to the SBI branch, and looked for Naya bans. I got selected by a consultancy in Kanpur and came here for a job. What job? Don’t ask me. I didn’t know either. I mean, 18 years and 13 days; I didn’t know. The woman at the booth asked me to tell me about my father on Father’s Day at a job fair in Kanpur. Apparently, I was the only one who could speak a few sentences in English. Funny how desperation helps human beings. Well! Finally, we found that consultancy and my father left the next day, entrusting me to two girls. To this day, I am thankful to them—a well-established example of generosity for an 18-year-old who just started experiencing the world.
I was supposed to get training but being selected in a Hindi-speaking batch robbed me of that chance. Yes, those five sentences I spoke in English did nothing. English batches there always attracted me, though. I used to go to the toilet multiple times just to get a glimpse of the lively batch. Their chatter, confidence, classy look, and beaming eyes attracted me. One day just grabbed a few pieces of courage I didn’t know I had and went to class and sat in the corner. I tried my best to be invisible. However, it’s not quite possible. I was successful for a week until one day; the teacher asked me to read a stanza. I read. He got amazed; I got caught. It turned out that it was not just the English batch but a paid class. I was a freeloader. They counseled me to join but left with a warning when I said I don’t have money. There were three people who were particularly close to me. I don’t remember them, though; I hope they stumble upon this someday and contact me.
Little did I know that one week’s class helped me a lot. I was the only one out of 30 interviewees to crack the interview. I don’t remember how it was, but somehow that interviewer kept asking me about my age and whether or not I ran away from my home. The 18-year-old me was pretty confident on my mature, old-looking face. The interviewer thought otherwise, though.
Fast forward almost 14 years; here I am, hugging my luggage. I get attached to a lot of things (mind you, not people). For example, I couldn’t let go of my bookshelf and paid a lot just to carry it with me wherever life takes off to. The sense of being attached to something is complicated. You see it every day, be with it every day, grow up or old (in my case) without paying much attention. You love it, truly madly deeply, but the redundancy of every day somehow snatches away all the spark. Then one day, it hits you when you almost fall asleep. I won’t see it again. Both of us are depreciating together, but that campaigning never asks you to pay extra attention or spend time with it. Somehow you forget it too. However, google photos say otherwise. I sat close to everything I owned multiple times a week. I didn’t give attention. I was there with my campaigning.
I wonder how long Shree Ram took to adjust to his new life. Not that I am comparing myself to a deity, but living a life in complete solitude has its quirks. My brother has been this question for like a month now. Will you miss this? How much? To what intensity? I am not sure. I am saying goodbye forever. We’ll meet again, like a passenger from a passing train. A quick hello. A shallow eye contact. I’ll be asking how much you have changed? Or maybe just notice like an old friend. You’ll notice the wrinkles, and I’ll appreciate the renovations with a frown. Complaining is not in my nature, so you won’t be awkward. Then perhaps we’ll get a few hours to sit together and relive those days. Aunty ki chai, alloo chat, Darjiling momo, burger club chai & burger, cold coffee, masala chap, gobhi paratha, again momo, uncle ki Maggie, samosa, and metro. We’ll have a laugh or two like old friends. No questions, no expectations.
By the way, they recently accessorized you with a few lamps at 18. You must be kvelling.
The train is entering platform number 10, blocking the sun a little. It’s been a crazy one and almost half-decade. I thank you for your companionship. I was surely born and brought up somewhere else, but I grew up here. Laughed & laughed at, cried, screamed, danced, showed attitude to a lot of deserving people, got into fights twice; punched the guy on the nose both times; the second time, I kind of had to sprint. SIGH!!! Well! My train is here. I gotta go… But just so you know, you’ll always be in my heart. Nothing can replace the memories I cherished here. You were there for me every step of the way.
Goodbye! Old Friend. Until we meet again!!!