Monday, February 06, 2006
It was the Monsoon of '97. I was crazy then and so was the world. I had read a book by 'Jayanth Naralikar' named 'Presheet' - a novel in Marathi - and probably my first exposure to non-academic marathi literature.
The book talked about two close friends - John and Peter. It inspired me and my friend to immitate them. Now that I think of it, it all seems so crazy that I am actually embarassed to admit I did those things. We named roads differently, we named buildings differently and drew maps of our city and talked in code. It kinda sounded cool. We were John and Peter. Yes! little did we know what life is and how drastically it can change. It was a time when I lived in fantasy and the cruel reality of the world was unknown to me.
I displayed an array and shades of character that I no longer posses. This blog is just a memory to capture the splendor of those moments. The fact that they had no relation with reality makes them ridiculous and yet lends them the virtue of portraying 'what could be' than 'what is'.
I would meet Shrikant at his home. We used to spend time together after tuitions. His home was a ground floor flat - we would usually be alone, his Mom and Dad worked and his brother was in school. So, we would eat whatever was home and then I would ask him to play guitar for me. 'Papa kehte hai' was our favourite tune. And indeed I have never quite got the same elation from that song as I did in those rainy afternoons. Play he would, and I would glance out his balcony and enjoy the beauty of rains!
Rains need no description. I live in snow right now and rains here are messy and dull. People here wouldnot believe that rains could be beautiful and romantic. How an unbeareable hot day could be trasformed magically into a cool moist afternoon. How the music of the rainfall blended with the music of our guitar, resonating our feelings!
Oh yes, I observed beauty in nature. I could sense the softness of the wind as it caressed my face and ruffled my hair. I could talk to a rain drop as it settled on a leaf. I could see life and appreciate all things living. I could understand - that which I no longer .....
We thought of ourselves as Men (we were 16 by the way). We fell in love with different women. He with the girl in first floor window of the opposite building and me with my enemy of last year. Neither of us had any success. Love it was not - but right then it was all ok. Now some nine years later, when I have matured many decades, I am still no closer to figuring out that emotion than I was at silly 16.
Though few virtues and values we understood clearly and they still remain the skeleton that shapes our characters. We understood 'Courage' - being brave and fearless in the face of danger. Though I scarcely knew how rare and dwindling this virtue was! 'Loyalty' - staying and getting beat by a bigger Man when he comes to trash your friend. Though 'Loyalty' doesnt always reciprocate, I knew not. 'Honesty' - not lying even when it can hurt you - and admittiting your failure when you did. Though how bitter it is for people I couldnt fathom. 'Generosity' - lending your book on the day of exam and doing poorly yourself. Though how royal and unaffordable it was I leaned recently.
But right there - that moment - when the guitar and the rain were singing, I experienced these virtues in our friendship. And not a moment goes without me thanking GOD that I could experience that which few people have the fortune of.
Virtues we had and virtues we lost. Many for the world - Few between us. But the more apart we grew in distance - the stronger our friendship became - especially when we realized - there wouldnt be another of the kind. The distance between us grew from hours to weeks, from months to years. Yet there remains an understanding - deep inside our being - that if it were possible in any way we would stand for each other - fearless. And from that comes a strength beyond the expression of words.
Thus is the story - of Sanket and Shrikant - of Guitar and Rain Drops!