I made the move to Chennai when I was going to start 7th grade. Till then I lived in a small town in Tamilnadu with a lot of history and a promising future, but the present was just meh…I was very excited at the very idea of being in Chennai, bigger city, more things to do, new place, new friends, etc. etc.
So here I was, dressed in civil clothes and getting dropped by my brother for my first day at school. I was super nervous but my bro helped me out big deal. He told me to relax and enjoy my new school. I stepped into the building with trepidation.
As soon as my brother took me outside the classroom a very bubbly girl ran up to me and held my hands and took me over to a desk in the front row. There was her bag, and two empty places. I sat down, obviously enjoying the attention of everyone in the class but not sure what to do next. The girl introduced herself to me as Madhumathi. She had tons of questions for me and I answered them all in one word. And before she could be done with her questions another girl walked in.
This other new girl was pretty and obviously Miss M had to escort her to her new spot in the class…next to mine. She sat down and went through a similar grilling from M. I had heard all I needed to hear and was pretty content with the information. Since the new girl had not heard my part of the grilling she was itching to ask me questions. We were the only two girls in the class dressed in civvies.
This is how the conversation took place:
K: Hi, my name is K, what is yours?
K: I just moved to
Madras from , how about you? Bombay
A: I am from Trichy.
K: Where do you live?
A: Anna Nagar.
K: I am from Nungambakkam.
K: How do you get to school?
A: Brother drops me.
K: I take the bus.
K: Have you always been in CBSE?
K: Not me.
And so on. K got really mad at me. She was upset that I did not want to converse with her. In her mind she made up that I was a snob and decided not to talk to me at all.
Then came our language class. I knew for sure that I would do Hindi for second language and Sanskrit for third, the same as I was doing in Trichy but K had no idea what to do. She was freaking out and she sought my help again:
K: What do I do? In
we did not have this kind of choice. Bombay
A: Your call. I am taking Hindi second language and Sanskrit as my third.
K: But I have never done Sanskrit before.
A: It is not that difficult.
K: So you think I should do what you are doing?
A: I don’t know
K: What do I do?
A: Ask your mother.
K: But I have to study and not her. What do I do?
A: I am going to my Hindi class. Bye
And 21 years later…we are still the best of friends. I don’t know what I would have done on those so many nights when I felt down or when I was super elated and had to share the news with someone. I even remember how she laughed her guts out when I introduced her to my then boyfriend and told me that he looks ugly and that I should have better taste in men. I was super mad but looking back, oh how very true, not only did he look ugly but he was a jerk also.
I remember the days when we would have Rs.100 in our pocket and we would do budgeting for the day. Rs. 50 for lunch at
, we will have one malai kofta and one fried rice divided between us and then we will spend Rs. 50 going and watching a movie. We never planned for contingencies. So many a times we have pushed our TVS 50 3-4 kilometers to get home after we ran out of gas or when we got a flat. All the troubled times of growing up we had laughed at our own silliness but we still never planned for later. It was always about NOW. Mathura
We were together in many of those accidents that I have written here, and here. She is also mentioned here
I love my best friend forever…there was only one dream we had after I left that school in ninth grade…we wanted to go to the same college, did not happen. We wanted to go to the same Univ. in US, did not happen. We wanted to live and work in the same city, has not happened…and one day I hope it will…if she was close to me, I can conquer the world, at least we always felt we did.
I can write on and on...but am going to stop here...and think of those days bygone...ah! what a wondrous time! I really hope Babs will have a fun childhood like we did, innocent, exciting and adventurous!