It is a cold night outside. Here I am sitting on a bed, with my laptop in front of me. The way I always have for most of my adult life. Outside my window, tall green trees shiver in the breeze, and rows of neatly stacked houses tempt with the promise of warmth. The road looks desolate - bathed in a golden orange from the street lights which stand tall, seemingly ignorant of the chill in the air.
"A tree has bushy green leaves sitting tight on top of a scaly brown bark". This is how I was taught to draw a tree, and that is how the trees are, outside my window - tonight. Cars look like boxes with donuts for legs, and the houses like boxes with cones for hats. On a drawing I would be content with what I saw outside my window.
Except for one little thing, My home is far far away, on the other side of the planet.
In the lap of warm humid sticky Chennai, in one buzzing little locality, with dust in the air, and the sound of vehicles - announcing their existence at every turn with a honk. People milling on the roads, lots of colorful people. Talking, multiple languages. Maybe even loudly. Living lives, on the roads -on their doorsteps just off the roads. Haggling with vendors, markets. Temples, mosques - all sounds in the air. The smell of a hundred distinct Indian things. Life flows through the veins of my home land.
And here, in this white clean room I write, of images, sounds and times. From a memory that helplessly fades too quick, but wants to hold on to as much as it can. Of people who are no longer a part of my journey. Of people whose memory will always make the heart grow fond. And of times that are simply no more. Of hugging, and laughing. Simply being in the same room as some people.
Five years is lot of time! I sit back and think that in a few days from now, I should return to Coimbatore for one last time, for my graduation ceremony. I know that Iv let myself be pushed to places, that Iv met people, grown with them all - a world of my own, unknown to the rest around me at Chennai.
Coimbatore with its gentle breeze and righteous pride in being a warm and hospitable city, and all its many people. To those people - Rach with her art of seducing anyone into arbit conversation that flowed freely, hostel watch woman Radha with her strange ideas of "sensible dressing", Molly with her stories of the villages and its ghost inhabited roads. The wonders of binary search trees, worst case complexity, the genius of mathematics - the honesty that rings loud when you think in maths. Teachers who made you sit up and take notice of these things, teachers who made you wonder why they took up teaching as a career, teachers who made you feel thankful that they did not care to teach. The ladies hostel, borrowing toothpaste, going to college together, eating dinner together. Girls from different parts of the country.
Ammu from Cochin with all her boisterous stream of words that poured out in torrents- her two plaits, Tango with her head tilt, delectable "mangaa thokku" and her bible reading sessions at night. Priya - her warm sincerity and glasses, cheeky happy person that she is! Aruna, with her beautiful voice - I could listen to her sing all day- and spot on sense of humour, Madhu - all her Fashion Tech work - stitching, sticking, painting-and her perennial thirst for something fun, Countless debates into the night courtesy Neyveli's Preethi, Astro- her stories from far and beyond that have entertained us, many a night, strong identity that she has!
Dynamic polymorphism, pointers, the Sunday lunch that I hate, sticky wet hands after eating the icecream in the afternoon, waiting for the news paper on the couch. The rumaali roti, the maths behind the paneer serves. Shifting rooms, carrying luggage. From one floor to another, from one block to another, from hostel to the station.
Evading watchmen, bending the rules, breaking the rules. Apology letters. Singing classes, Nirupa and Sujitha. Sujitha, with her black skirt. Her thirst for not too cold, not too hot water at the lunch table. Now, a broken finger. And an ipod with one earphone that did not work. Kanya, with her blue and white salwar, the first time I met her. Her twin sisters. Her grandmother. Her doctor. Her crazy birthday gift. Preji, her gold ring, her fathers email, her grandmothers crab, and her bathroom singing.
Basketball with Soumy that never happened. One match with Shaar and Rach that did happen. Seniors - ragging. Cake cutting, dancing. Anna, her voice on that night of, ahem, the ragging session. Vidya, in her blue salwar and Pravarthika ragging/asking us to do something. Geethus smile, the way shed walk. Sharadha and Deepika. Shaarus cupboard, with the photos stuck on them. Deepikas hair. Her blog that she does not care to publicise. Lucy, whom I will always imagine as their class rep. Shuttle with Soumya. Sneha, whom I will always smile about. The hostel day dances with Preethi and Keerthi. Conversations with Divya ranging from the absurd to the serious. That beaautiful trek with Suman and the hostel bunch.
Exams, results, running late to classes. Sunday trips - stretching the hours. Fake signing at the hostel. Hostel, and its ID cards. College, and Its ID cards. Watchmen, everywhere. Sprinkled on the campus. The college campus, the bridge - how magnificent it looked at night. The complexities that came with the bridge. Road crossing. Watchmen. Rude watchmen.The CC lab, with the Ac, without the Ac. Blue colored screens, Black colored screens, white colored screens. The elitist gumbal that looked down on turbo C's bright blue.
Chill Out, My class, Pranavis house. Pranavi, her guitar, her poise and her cousin. The class rep elections, from first year, when people volunteered, to the last year, when no one volunteered. Aravind, easily one of the most happiest, simplest people I know. Deepthi, her two wheeler, her matching slippers and her mother. Anisha, her seminars, her outlook on life, and her chicken biryani. Balaji -easily as crazy as one can get- his blog. Sindhu, her singing off the back of her id-card. Piki, his xerox copies of Vivekanandhas works, pointers and now, self employment. Gopi- who touched that babies foot in SNDT- whose eyes turn into happy lines when he smiles.
Asking teachers for free hours, getting them. Not knowing what to do with the free hours. Asking people to sing. Kalyan, who sang most of the time. Harsha, who imitated that chaaiwala once, that I will never forget. Playing dumb-c. Preeti Ben, her flight journeys, her driving and that one night in Saarang when we laughed so much. Saurav, who may not remember that night, and his kurta that all of us from Linux Wizard got him. CSV, the magic that he creates from photoshop and the impromptu frizbee lessons at Radisson. Savitha, learning all those marketing lines at midnight at Mumbai. Mags, his twisted language and that SBI application on his phone. Surya, his two wheeler and his blog that is now not so active as it once was. Ut, and her frequent stints at the hostel for ahem, group studies/package work.
Package work, when all of us turned into one single large entity that knew nothing else but to code, working hard. Working our asses off, each semester, each lab. With different people, with the same people. Skipping meals, asking people who go out to get biscuits back to the lab. Staying there all day. Getting these packages evaluated. Satisfaction sometimes and silent frustration sometimes. Learning together. And loving it.
Jabez who enjoys his controversial theories about both the genders. Saba, the class rep who looks like he has it all in control, always. Anai, whose long hair phase is still widely remembered and in demand. Dear darling Premi who along with Priya is mostly always my only audience. Shruthika who has always sat on that desk in front of me, who invariably ends up giving her pen or notes to the faculty in question. Iv whose vanakkam is a flourish that happens instinctively once he sees you, Arovit who had mysterious appointments to keep on that Linux Wizard treat-giving day, G3 Kathirvelu, my fellow teammate, who talks to herself and her computer and lives only on snacks, Swathi whose hushed up blog I read a few days ago which is filled with poems, Sujay who boldly stated his displeasure at a class comitee meeting that I went to, without mincing his words, Suppi who flew in the air to catch the frizbee and ran like the wind, that day on the beach, Jeevan who can talk his way into any group of softies, whichever be the batch in question.
Puzzles, Problem solving, Placement preparations. Celebrating each time anyone got through. Getting permission leters signed at the hostel. Friends houses for lunch, for dinner, for lunch again. Cameras all charged up. People who always took charge of the camera. Posing for the photos. Sharing the photos. Eating at a friends place again. Whenever a weekend was free. Getting food brought to the hostel even, once! Login, the sponsors, the thrills, screams, the cheering, hoarse throats, rustling sarees, jewellery, gypsy jewellery. =)
Shalini, whom I met at Intel, whose blog is one of my happy places. ELS, its colorful people, witty seniors. Sharan, Nithya and Swathi, IM and the long conversations at the amphitheatre. Hari, Anil and Brath. "Mind your Language" and a Happy bunch of juniors who are rearing to go now.
To all the faces in my head as I typed this post out, its been an awesome five years :D cheers!
Yes, I carry a color xerox of my license(not the original) when I travel with an e-ticket. Yes, its because when a lousy excuse for a human being steals my wallet, I will not have to lose my only identity for what seems like eternity. Yes, it is my name stuck on that white sheet outside on the train, with my age next to it.Yes, it is my photo on that color xerox of my license and it is again, my name next to it. Yes, both you and me know I was travelling by my name, with my face (yes, the one moulded to my neck, the one resembling the face on the xerox copy). And you know what, I saw the smile light up your face when you realized I dint carry the original ID poof with me. That I had broken the rules. I saw it glow brighter when you saw that the faces around me could not care less that you were charging me 563 INR, and that I was travelling alone. I heard your voice gather momentum and I heard authority in your voice when you told me I was wrong. I believed you. Almost. And when two others got caught for the same issue, when I made a scene and demanded to know why this was being enforced despite there being no doubt about our identities, and you looked at the three of us (the wrong doers) and said, with that glint in your eye, that you could book all three of us in one case and let us go if we each payed you three hundred.
Past people whose fingers dangle dangerously near the front edge of the car. Past dogs that have no care in the world, least of all my loud honking machine that is dangerously close. Past other cars that tease and flirt with mine.
With a father whose hands are glued to the hand brake, JUST IN CASE. And a mind that cant distinguish left from right.
Judging by the fact that this blog has not been accessed by mankind over the past year and more, I write this post today, on your twenty second birthday. *May you be the first non-me-human-being to access this blog in so long* =P For not changing your landline number over all these years, and for the way im grinning widely at the monitor right now, Happy Birthday J! Stay awesome! You are the best.