Updated: Apr 1
My previous post elicited many responses directly to my Inbox. Thank you all for understanding.
This time I have a different part of my life to share and this one continues to make me happy.
About a year ago, I received a phone call. The mobile number was unknown to me. I answered the call and a male voice asked me,
“Hi, are you Vivek Mehra who studied in St Joseph Boys High School, Bangalore?”
“Yes, I am.” I replied.
“Bhaiya, I am S…”
I couldn’t believe who it was and stranger was the way in which he tracked me down. But first I have to tell you about S. He studied in my younger brother’s class. He came from a family with modest means. As a student he was sharp but sometimes got on to the wrong side of his teachers. Academically he usually finished towards the bottom of his class. I am not sure how my brother and he became friends but I think living within a couple of kilometers of each other was a trigger. I remember he became a regular at our house. Most evenings he would be there either to play cricket or study. We ate together and since I was the elder brother of his friend, I was also called Bhaiya (meaning elder brother). My parents accepted him as a friend of their son even though I never told him that they had issues about his religious background. I remained fond of him and to me he was one of my younger siblings.
I don’t remember why or how but when I went to 11th grade, S suddenly left St Josephs and also stopped coming to our house. I then left for the US of A to study and S disappeared from my radar screen. Even after I came back I never saw him or heard of him. The common friends we had didn’t talk about him. It was almost like he never existed.
I was in a Delhi mall when the Skoda Fabia was launched. I was walking with my daughter when a camera crew stopped to speak to me. They wanted to ask me questions about me, the car I drove etc. I was video taped along with my daughter. I was asked to enter some contest and in the form I entered my mobile number. The interview was conducted by a Mumbai based company. It’s managing partner was reviewing the video clips when he chanced on mine. He picked up the phone and dialled the number on the form and I answered his call…
I couldn’t contain my excitement at having connected with someone I knew as a teenager. I wanted to know everything about him, and where he had been hiding for the last 30 years!
I still haven’t met him because he doesn’t travel to Delhi that much and I don’t visit Mumbai that much. The odd time when I did make it to Mumbai, he was traveling. When he has had a drink or one too many, he picks up the phone and slurs that he misses his elder brother, he misses the days we spent growing up together. We talk about those who don’t keep in touch and how many that do. We shared the loss of another one who was close to both of us.
It’s difficult to explain what it feels like when someone from such a distant past makes a connection without a want or a care. It’s purely to stay connected and revisit ties that existed in another time and in another place. Its one of those things that makes me wonder about life. It makes me wonder if life is many shades of grey, 7 seven colours like that of a rainbow or as TV makers would make us believe, of millions of colours. No matter what it really is, I know its worth enjoying every minute of every day, believing a better day is just around the corner…