The mercury was soaring and so were our spirits. It's not everyday that you get an engineering degree (2 in fact !), it's not everyday that you get to wear a rather gaudy orange gown and roam around crazily clicking pictures of yourself and your friends as if the world were coming to an end, it's not everyday you come to the place you spent five years of your life and for some unfathomable reason it feels different to the point of emptiness.
It's as if life has changed gears. "Kitne baje ki Train hai ..." has been replaced by "Kis Flight se jaa raha hai...... Jet?". Card has replaced cash, 3 bedroom apartments have taken the place of hostel rooms, people you used to live your life with were scattered, found and scattered again. But in between all these, it's the time spent together, time spent gossiping and giggling, time spent over a bottle of beer or vodka, time spent over sumptous meals ranging from Chicken Lasagne to Kukkad Kebab to Railway Mutton Curry that linger in memory.
The Convocation was a fantastic weekend. Late nights at a dear friend's house, spent with the best buddies you will ever have, the awesomely boring dress rehersal and the final convocation ceremony highlighted by a very relevant speech by Azim Premji (who also happened to quote from Thomas Friedman's "The World Is Flat"), the mayhem that followed afterwards under the scorching sun with the photo sessions, the beer sessions at Masala Junction and Scorpion Moon so typically spent discussing "life ke funde", the weary eyes, the throbbing headache; the two days were eventful to say the least. To add to all the excitement was the realisation on landing at the New Delhi airport that you have forgotten to bring your return tickets, the solitary auto rickshaw to be seen at 2:00 A.M charging Rs 600 to go to NOIDA, the Airtel roaming facility ditching you at the moment you needed it the most and the sweltering heat and humidity which made sure that my love for Bangalore went up by quite a few notches.
Nevertheless, things got sorted out, I got my degree(s), met friends, went to my hostel where again the feeling of emptiness was the most dominant one where I had expected nostalgia/sadness/belongingness and finally was back on the Jet Airways flight to Bangalore.
At the airport there was more good company as another dear friend and fellow Bangalorean was found arriving from Chennai having extended his working days in a week from 6.75 to 7.00. The Bada Saheb that he is meant we got to go to his home where we had Britannia GoodDay biscuits (the Brand being important for the fact that he works in ITC!) and then had the company ki gaadi drop us at our house.
The fun and frolic of the weekend spilled over to the 15th of August also. Sure it was the Independance Day but to admit candidly, it was no more than a holiday for me. So I got up at around 9:00 and then helped my friend prepare sandwitches for breakfast which was fun, what with boiling potatoes and all. The rest of the day didnt seem to promise much and was about to be spent lazing around alone perhaps reading a book. Then suddenly the Bada Saheb called up informing of the expected arrival of another and his unexpected availability for the entire day. Soon they were near Maharaja Hotel, the landmark near our house where I went to pick them up on my now famous bike which has become the laughing stock in some circles and at the same time has elicited mixed responses of "Cool.. but thoda aarbit nahi hai ..." from others.
After that it was time for lunch which we had at one of the best restaurants I have been here in my short stay at Bangalore. Sahib, Sind, Sultan, modelled as a old time luxury railway coach proved to be the perfect blend of ambience, great food and a bill that won't empty your wallet. I have always wondered at the effect a good lunch or a dinner with good company has on an individual. For me it's the best part of any day and the gourmet that I am, the potent combination of food to tickle your taste buds and friends to spend entire lives with, was and still remains, one of the few moments to savour and relish for ever. Add to that I had my inspiration as far as the quantity of eating and the choice of non-vegetarian items goes, eating alongside me.
The afternoon rolled into the evening as we lazed in our house under the weight of the immensely heavy lunch reluctant to go anywhere. Two more friends joined us soon. One, my current flat and company mate and the other who was kind enough to give us a shelter when we were house hunting. It was evening and people were throwing around options regarding how to make it memorable. Movies, Pubs, Bowling everything met opposition from someone or the other until finally someone came up with the greatest idea of all time...."Yaar aish karte hain aur chill maarte hain ..." Legendary lines spoken by a person who is little less than one himself!
And so we started chilling out. The glasses were laid and the vodka came out in complete defiance of the dry-day that it was and the ball was aptly set rolling by a series of small anecdotes on the life changing power of alcohol and its wonderful affects when taken in heavy doses. There was the dim light to get the feel, photography bordering on the surrealistic :D and Marilyn Monroe in her famous pose to stare at and debate whether she was mischevious or out and out sensous. Thereafter it was a laughter riot for almost two hours at a stretch as two or three of us took centrestage to narrate the most weirdest, funniest, insane, improbable, logic defying, gross and downright mindless incidents of hostel life that you will ever hear. So much so that our jaws and stomach started aching. By the end of it all we were at our wits end. In between this there was also a walk down to the nearby Corner House for a taste of Death By Chocolate and Black Forest with Vanilla Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce. The night was getting better and better and better.
Finally it was time to sleep and it was decided to lay all the matresses together (5 in all) to accommodate the 7 people we had. Then somebody had the idea of the night. Why not sleep on the terrace. The insanity of the numerous anecdotes had had their affect on us and so an instant decision was made and we went up the stairs on the terrace to sleep with the sky and the clouds as our roof. There was a chill in the air as we debated on the colour of the clouds and their movement. One of us who happened to be sleeping at one extreme end also had the fear of a coconut falling and hitting him to contend with due to the proximity he had with the beautiful coconut tree that stands next to our house. So after few moments of giggling we finally went to sleep.
Daybreak saw a return to sanity which lead us to scurry to the warmth of our house. Slowly the guests left and the house was quiet once again. A weekend gathering was planned at one Samarkhand which was vouched to be the best restaurant he has ever eaten in by none other than our very own Bada Saheb.
Now as I sit in my office with so much time so as to write this entire blog in one go, I eagerly await that weekend, that gathering which brings so much fun and happiness that for once I tend to forget the ends and the means which have been troubling me. I am beginnning to think that maybe life's all about these little moments, inconsequential to the world but immensley satisfying to the self, maybe no matter what you do and where you are, happiness is after all, a state of mind, it's about being in good company.