I called up many people yesterday. Yesterday was Diwali. I called up many people yesterday and wished them happy Diwali.
Ever since I joined IIT, I never spent Diwali at home. And I never really cared. There were guys around in insti all the time and there were things happening all around all the time and so I never cared if I was not in home. The soc-secs of any year always turned up at your door and offered you sweets that had been bought from the budget approved in the last GBM. And if you happened to know the soc-sec well, you could get more sweets than officially allowed per room. Moja was the soc-sec in my first year in Sarayu. Country was the soc-sec in my second year in Narmad. Anshuman was the soc-sec in the year later and though I don’t remember how many sweets I had when Anshuman was the soc-sec, I am sure I had as many as I could. Anshuman was my best friend. Even when there was no Diwali, he almost always had besan ke laddoos from Gwalior with him and only he knows how fucking crazy I was for those laddoos. I still am. Just that, there is no Anshuman around any more. So far, in life, I haven’t tasted any sweet that has tasted better than those laddoos. But I am digressing. Let me talk about the soc-secs. In my fourth year, Orchi was the soc-sec. Anshuman and I had nicked (awarded him a nick-name) him orchestra when he was a freshie because he had told us he could sing and he could play tabla and he could also play synthesizer. Once again, I don’t remember how many sweets I had but I am sure I was allowed to have as many as I wanted to. The same applied in my last year in IIT when Gali was the soc-sec.
By a crazy turn of events, I happened to be with mom and dad during last year’s Diwali. We spent Diwali in Kolkata at dad’s best friend’s place – Tiwari uncle’s place. I have fond memories of Tiwari uncle. When I was small, every time he visited us, he got Gems for me. Every single time. Even today, whenever I see Gems, I think of Tiwari uncle. And I think of his green colour Maruti 800. Today I have a best friend called Tiwari too. He works in Chennai. I wonder if he will get Gems for my child (whenever I adopt one) every time he visits the child. Heh – funny thought. Oh yes, I shall adopt a child some day when I am responsible enough. She would be a girl and I already have a name for her. But then, I am digressing once more.
So yesterday, after a long long time, I was with no one who mattered. And it hurt. There were no soc-secs to offer sweets and there was no family that could feel good about my presence amidst them. So I called up everyone I could think of. I called up my siblings in Mumbai – Subbu and Sweety. My name is Polu by the way. Subbu told me he had brought home a nariyal ka ped to celebrate Diwali and I laughed like nuts. I thought he had gone crazy. Sweety told me she was planning to move to Hyderabad because she would get a job faster there because freshers don’t get jobs in Mumbai. Sometimes, I don’t understand her. Then I called up Taploo. He is my cousin and he works in Bangalore. He told me he was planning to come to Bhubaneswar and see me some time. I told him I was waiting for him. Then I called up Babes. He works in Mumbai but he was at home – in Bilaspur. I called up Anshuman then. He works in Mumbai too and he was at home too -Â in Gwalior. I realized I was calling him up for the first time after he got married. The last time I had called him up, I was in Gwalior myself. I had arrived there driving Neelabh’s bullet all the way from Delhi and I needed to find his house. This was in January this year. He got married two days later and I never called him after that. Until yesterday. Then I called up Tiwari. The fucker was sleeping in the evening. He was in Bangalore – at a friend’s place. Then I called up Pandey who said he was getting married in December in Udaypur and wanted me to attend it. I told him I would try. Pandey was a wing-mate in IIT. My wing is getting married at fast rate. Then I called up Leela and she was with her local guardians and she told me she had recently cracked some super cool score in TOEFL and I felt proud of her but didn’t tell her so. I only told her she was a loser. This is all I tell her every time we talk and I guess we both like it that way. Then I called up LOLy. She was in Chennai. Finally I found someone who was alone – like me. But she was getting ready to go out somewhere to have fun and so she wasn’t going to be alone any more and I felt good about her but bad about myself and we said bye-bye to each other. Then I called up Bullu Uncle and then Mintoo Chacha. It’s weird why I call some of my uncles uncle but some chacha. It has been like that ever since I was a kid. Bullu Uncle lives in Thane while Mintoo Chacha lives in Bangalore. I tried calling Ravi Uncle next. He lives in Hyderabad. Someone on the other side of the phone kept asking me ‘Raviaa, Raviaa, Raviaa’? May be, his number has changed. I couldn’t speak to him. Mom had already called up in the morning (and so had Neelabh btw). She didn’t like the fact that I was not at home for Diwali. I reminded her that I hadn’t been at home for Diwali since the last seven years! I called up mom again in the evening and told her I was unable to reach my grand-parents in Patna. She told me, it was the same when she tried calling them. So I did not get to speak to my grand-parents. The other people I could not reach on phone yesterday were Radha in Hyd, Richa in Mumbai and Prasun in Mumbai. And then I called up Miss Short-story. For a change, she was not busy. She is my only friend in Bhubaneswar. Both her college and home are in Bhubaneswar. She lives in her college hostel but yesterday she was at home. She narrated me stories from the last few days of her life. On one of these days, she was playing Sita maiyya in a village in Orissa, trying to do some marketing for a cell-phone service provider.
I didn’t burst any cracker yesterday. Instead I started reading a book called The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. I finished reading it today. If you have liked To Kill a Mocking Bird, you would most probably like this book. And now I would finish reading Phantoms in the Brain. And then I would clean up my bike because I haven’t touched it ever since I returned from Leh. And then I would sit down to wonder if for the rest of my life, I am going to keep reading books (alone), keep running (alone) and keep traveling (alone).
PS: my para-gliding video is up