There is a reason why when on phone with some people, after the ‘Hello’, there’s just laughter! We don’t need to have a conversation. It begins with a hearty guffaw, as if we are in on some private joke! Meet my partners in crime – Sound, Tania and Sonika. They know in which direction the wind blows! Then there is VS, who can sense if I am smiling or was laughing even as I dialed the number! Our jokes are like a unique bond, taking us back to an era that was special; and looking back now, almost surreal. Herefrom the inspiration to collate all the jokes (and illustrate them ;-P).
As different as Chalk and Cheese, the commonality between all of them is that at any given point of time, one of these knows of whatever significant that’s happening in my life. Each with their own unique brand of humour: sublime, subtle, crass and crap in equal measures, served with inimitable elan with perfect timing and placement! One can’t ask for better friends! Highs, Lows, Breakdowns, breakthroughs, challenges, conquests, bursts of irrational creativity, paint, glue, food, music, books, journals, cartoons, travel, extempore poetry, ideas, inspirations, motivations and madness: this bunch kicks ass! It has egged me on to climb literal and metaphorical mountains alike!
One has to go back to what anchors you from time to time. This is my ‘Go To’ gang in times of need, or when I have a huge task ahead and I look for distractions to shake off the stress! Like Shikha says: “Dude, the only way out is in!” (That’s philosophical, you morons!) this is my way of looking in(wards)!
Looking back at the magical Madras days is like winking at phosphenes. Boss, Sam and Mr. Menon were and will always be a different league and there will not be a time when we will not double up with laughter singing lines from Simon and Garfunkel! And Sound, Don’t we all know what we’d rather be..
Though I was quite clueless then (erm.. not very far from where I am even today), Chennai was a coming of age kind of experience. Right from the decision of moving to ‘Madras’ for work, I have held the ownership of all decisions thereon. It was the joy and comfort of the company I kept (or the company that kept me..) that I did not get whirled off the emotional roller-coaster of living and working away from home. You guys ‘calmed’ me and ‘centered’ me despite all the excitement and hyperactivity (cough cough.. Sound check..)
Boss and the GT gang deserve a special mention too; especially Shiva, whose jokes were, frankly, a little tough to get or laugh at; Sriram, who was too serious most time to crack them, shook his head gravely at ours and Ajay, indulgent and admonishing at the same time.
It was an unforgettable time highlighted with hours of aimless chats wandering through a myriad of topics, practical jokes and not so practical ones, treks up the St. Thomas Mount in wee mornings and innumerable scooty rides!
Mumbai Mania was short lived but wholesome pit stop . WOI and its phenomenal take on HR takes the cake for this period with special mentions to Anil, Poornima ji, Sameer, Dinesh and Rishi. Not a single uneventful day! Here beside the holy trinity of Yazdani Bakery, Moti Halwai and Bombay House, I learned the nuances of subcultures of this megalopolis: Sindhi and Parsi cuisine, Brun Maska and above all, the Puneri sarcasm. It was a privilege to work with the folks at WOI. I still borrow from Anil’s vast repertoire of statements whenever I need to make an impact!
life has gone along; sometimes like a slowly meandering river, sometimes like grade four rapids, and there are so many remarkable people, moments, instances and anecdotes that this post can go on and on.. but that it’s purpose is not. The aim is to set the perspective for the more daunting task that lies ahead.. to collect the pearls of wit and humour that lie strewn across these times and put them together in a place where they are easy to visit. Especially in times when life is more of a wheeze than a breeze and one wants to waddle around in the still waters of time and stir up a splash!
And that will be when I would call up one of these ol’ buds and say “Aur Batao, Aur Batao” .. and we would double up with laughter one more time!
PS: Of course ” Aur Batao, Aur Batao” has a significance. Stay tuned for the next one for that!!