Pune Memoirs II (9): Part Two
Aspirations, wishes and dreaming beyond the imagination come true in life. Discovering the 20s in late 2000 is the most wondrous thing on earth and eyes shimmering with excitement as you explore everything unlimited and rifling through passion and excitement in and out of campus. And to think that I’d be having my Dil Chahta Hai (DCH) moment during the blissful college days was beyond one’s imagination. When I first watched DCH, I longed for such friends, falling in love with an amazing woman and letting myself free. Who says real can’t imitate reel in exactly the same frame?
Cathartic to the soul, the college days was skedaddling right in front of the eyes when we think that the time and life we take for granted is similar to dreams that will culminate into hum drum of life. Friends who mattered made every battle worth fighting or laughing over every mundane thing. No! We were not doing drastic things like the last Mohican or action hero did but learning to make the most of life in Pune. A taste of nectar.
The days of yore were spent with Adi and people. Neraj was one dude who always popped at home and became the victim of the crazy pranks played. Adi would literally pull him down on the floor. Once I remember Neraj coming to the flat late at night and we tickled him endlessly but he was hitting back by crawling and almost jerked his head under the wash basin while pretending to be a dog barking at us. Silly, fun and full of joy. Divvy folks we were!
I became quite the ticklish guy. Adi would often tickle me while I was sitting on the bed, watching TV or reading something in the hall that was converted into the room. He would use force and I would push him away. It was our boyz moment of fun and laughter where we almost keeled on each other. On the spur of the moment, his girl friend at that time stormed in to break into a cackle, ‘I can never imagine what it feels for two guys to be on top of each other.’
The British Council Library on FC Road became our hotspot. Yeah! Believe it or not, Adi coaxed me to get my membership for 1k which was quite a sum that made a dent in the pocket since one survives on a limited budget sent by parents every month that was whittling by the day. Broke was my second name. Post lecture, the logical destination was Savera to whine time but Adi dragged me to study at BCL, opposite Vaishali restaurant that was a walk away from Barista and CCD. For Pune folks, Barista was not where it is now but on the opposite just after CCD and near the flower shop.
It was quite a cheating story for us. There was some stupid rule that one is not allowed to bring study materials and but to glean through the books available inside. But, we being we, tucked our notes inside the shirt to sneak inside the library. The tall and slim lady with charming gaze tootling her way jauntily, flowing like the brush stroke on canvas in and out of the library. It was attraction from far! Lo and behold! Attraction happens. I knew her timing when she would go out for lunch and chai. That way, I got to admire her from a distance. She was an official at the library and yours truly made any excuse good enough to strike a conversation by asking for a random book.
Going to BCL became a daily affair and even Sundays were not spared. One such lazy funday, I remember studying till 6 pm at the library and after that crossed the road to hop for a smoke munching five-star chocolate at the shop just near Vaishali restaurant. The devil called. In the flick of seconds, the chum Adi zoomed on his bike right in front of the shop and casually asked what I was having. It was five-star-chocolate. You gotta share half, he said. Everything was casual among friends and going easy on things, disagreement, and pranks between us. A small remark gently teaches us that sharing is another name for human bonding. The brothers-in-arms that we were! His mom would call us twins. He loathed it. We had quite a name between us. I was bitch. He was asshole.
There was no dearth of quirky characters. One such guy was E and every time I bumped into him on the bustling roads, restaurants or college campus, I heard the same old story. He lost his handset. I really thought whether he was on drugs and was too drunk that his cell phone thought ki it was too dangerous to hang out with him. I happened to see him on Facebook after all the years but he again mysteriously disappeared. But, E was quite a bizarre character and always looked fucked up.
The college festivals, you name it, you get it, Oorja and Wallstreet-our Economics Department festival made sure that I volunteered for almost everything under the sun. It gave me an identity, forged relationships and something that I will always be proud of. The affinity with the alma mater, bonding with teachers out of the classroom makes memory so vivid and is one excess baggage that I will carry always with me. As I look back, it brings alive a mound of emotions.
Movies became a regular affair and E-square morning shows was a boon of sort with 60 bucks ticket but ended up paying a bit less than 200 bucks for night shows. It was the first plex I discovered in Pune that sprouted the time I first came to the city in 2003. I felt like a big boy after spending two glorious in the city, right from falling crazily in love to do funny things during the booze party and of course, braving the monsoon shower or the film keeda that I turned into, discussing movies with Apoorva who is now an AD in Mumbai. Pune taught me to dream big and echoed my vim for life!
Post-script: The chapter in Pune Memoirs deserved a second part which dawned on me after I wrapped everything the last time. There were so many facets that need to be shared with readers and it may struck you that it’s the second successive post marked as chapter nine in my second year. The pictures shared are posted in real-time and belongs to Vimi Kureemun who is in India right now, visiting my alma mater, Fergusson College and was sent to me via watsapp yesterday. I asked her permission and she agreed. It couldn’t come at a better time.