The Reunion

(Author’s Note: This piece is dedicated to the one friend in my life who makes the word ‘friendship’ look like it is a highly deficient and malnourished form of what we share! And since our circumstances seem to constantly rebel with our attempts to meet each other, I shall concoct a fictional reunion to get me through till we succeed to meet in reality. For the sake of the competition, I am going to refer to this friend as Kyra.)

We were fourteen when we met at the Changi Airport. It was around 5 in the morning and all of us had barely slept on our flights and were more than eager to get to our assigned Hostels. Kyra and I were assigned to the same Hostel. As the months passed us by, we grew closer every day. After our first holiday apart, we became inseparable. In retrospect, I could never really point out how we became such good friends. We just ‘clicked’. If I were to be Yin, she would be Yang. If I were the dim, new moon’s light; she would be a bright morning’s sunshine. She was the bubbly, fun-loving girl. She loved to dance, party and have a good time. I on the other hand was the brooding, poetic one who had to dissect everything and philosophize. Nonetheless, at some insane level, we were completely alike!

The next year we managed to get the same room. At the start of the third year, she had to shift hostels and we had a hard time adjusting the new routine which barely included the other, but we were still there for each other and somehow we managed to still meet up every once in a while for the next two years. Finally it was time to head back home and I can swear to you that some part of me had gone into hibernation that day, awaiting for the end this long winter of separation and hoping to wake up when we finally managed to have our reunion.

Now, it had been exactly 2 years, 5 months and 17 days since I had last met her and here I was at the Mumbai Central Station at 0900 hours on a Sunday morning, waiting for her train to arrive. The last time we talked, we barely had words to express the excitement of finally meeting each other after what seemed like eternity to us.

A couple of minutes later, her train arrived and I had to blink twice to convince myself that it was really Kyra standing in front of me and not a figment of my imagination! If I am ever asked to rate the hugs I have shared with people, this one would be a close second to the one we shared for the very last time when I dropped her off at Changi, these were hugs that tried to convey messages and prayers and regards that words could never express.

We crossed over to where the local trains stopped and boarded one of the fast trains to Churchgate. This was a hot summer day in the middle of May, when it was sweltering hot outside and everyone looked forward to wile their Sundays in the comforts of their air-conditioned rooms. We were determined to make the best of the one day that we had, so I barely let her wash up and apply all the multitudes of Lakme face wash and lotions that she always took with her (Some things never really change!). At some point, she forced me to try on some of her Lakme Sun Expert. On the plus side, this meant that I did not have to burden myself with an umbrella to guard myself from the sun and just enjoy the summer sun.

Thus we set off on our day long trip around South Mumbai; a place that I had come to think of as my own over the past one month or so that I have been here. I took Kyra to the Bombay High Court. Being an architecture student, she was mesmerised by the colonial architecture. We were fortunate enough to go inside the High Court and take a closer look at the Gothic Architecture. For the better part of the day, we walked around aimlessly, just admiring the buildings as she explained to me about the different types of architecture and other details that I conveniently forgot soon after I was educated about them.

Bombay High Court

Victoria Terminus

The Asiatic Society, Mumbai

RBI

We kept walking amidst these tall, majestic buildings and revelled in the feeling of walking in another era, like the buildings were transporting us to the times when they were still bright and young. Once or twice, we stopped to buy a sugarcane juice or coconut juice from the street-vendors and sipped on them rather nonchalantly, while our mind was still lost in another world.

It was past lunch time when we entered the Subway to grab a sandwich. This brought back memories of morning jogs to Orchard Road to grab a foot-long subway. This time too, we ordered the usual and walked over to Gateway of India where we sat in clear view of the Gateway of India and the Taj Hotel as we bit into our favourite sandwich.

After enjoying the sun for a good half an hour or so, we set off to Colaba where we haggled over the prices and got ourselves some funky jewellery and some matching T-shirts to remind us of this day we spent together. We walked over to the McDonald’s outlet and bought ourselves some Oreo McFlurry and walked through the rest of Colaba as I showed her some of the more interesting shops that I had explored over the past few days.

Around 1800 hours, Kyra and I decided to go to Chowpatty and walk down the Marine Drive to Nariman Point where my office is situated. We hailed a Taxi which dropped us off at Chowpatty. We walked on the marine drive as we caught up on each other’s lives, even as the sun was swiftly going down in the horizon. When we reached near the Churchgate Station, we sat down and continued talking. We enjoyed the cool breeze that blew on our faces from the sea and watched the entire marine drive lit up by the street-lights. We sat there for a very long time, talking, watching, and simply enjoying each other’s company.

Marine Drive in the evening

After a quick dinner at a nearby restaurant, we hurried over to the Churchgate station and took the train to Mumbai Central where I finally had to bid her farewell. Although this time, I knew I had nothing to be sorrow about as we departed and continued with our lives. Our day spent together had assured me that, no matter how long we take to meet again, she was always just a phone call away. The beautiful thing about Kyra is that, every time I met her after a long gap, it always seemed like we could just pick up where we left off and fill each other in on our lives even as we went along making new memories. This time had been no different! I was comforted by the fact that no matter what, we made some wonderful memories that day, and no one can take that away from us. So, this song is dedicated to you:

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3 Responses to “The Reunion”
  1. Ramadas p vaidyanathan says:

    my humble request do not get attached to anyone or anything because we will fail to see the world our own vision. love all but do not get attacched.

    • annajohn says:

      Uncle, I know you mean well, but as long as I am to live in this world normally, I cannot imagine letting this one go. We have gone through waaay too much to stop being attached. Maybe, one day I will renounce everything else on the planet and then maybe I can bear to not be attached to anyone or anything!

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  1. […] of meeting an old friend and somehow things didn’t fall together. At that point I made up a fictional Reunion that would help me get through till we finally managed to meet […]



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