An Evening With My Past

Every sweat bead crawling on my chest inside my t-shirt mocked at me and asked “should you do this?” Everybody except me was bending over their EG (a.k.a. Engineering graphics). The distracted mind reinforced the hatred for the moment. How many photographs of nuts and bolts that we never touched/saw will we be copying to the A1 drawing sheet? The siren went off and the incomplete drawings were stacked carelessly over the table. Half an hour later I was in front of a computer that deserved a place in the tech museum. I opened my Facebook account like every other jobless first year student. There were cats, rats, dogs, silly status updates all over the page.

Suddenly I noticed that there was a message. Facebook was meant for things like this- Reunion. The name transported me to a playground filled with kids playing hockey on a hot afternoon. A young boy scooped the hard ball with his “Tiger” hockey stick. Another less skilled lad ran behind it and stopped it with wrong the face of the hockey stick. He smashed it with the tip transferring only a small part of his limited energy to the ball. A group of eager kids chased it and surrounded it as if they were on a rat hunt. Somebody decided to send the rat to heaven and then BANG. His hockey stick hit my face and suddenly I realised that my front tooth was broken in a weird shape. The name was Savya Sachi Gupta. Savya Sachi Gupta was my classmate from class 1 to class 5. But he made me travel back in time and recall the good old days.

I found out that he was studying in Manipal. I called him and talked to him. We decided to meet and have a chat. I had no special friendship with him, now he was a piece of my history, a representative of my past. Manyu travelled with me till we reached Udupi . His meaningless conversations prevented me from thinking too much about the meeting. I knew that it would be nostalgic. I felt some weird kind of excitement. He took me around the campus and we had pav bhaji in the canteen. He had changed a lot. He spoke about his schooling in Delhi, but he still loved the school and all the memories. Particularly the hockey match incident. I had forgiven him eight years back. It was an accident.

He had not forgotten Kannada. He still loved Kannada and remembered the Kannada teacher who taught us. I could see every golden moment through his eyes. The school garden that we admired, the teachers who taught us, bald Basuki sir, the gardeners and the weird moments.

There was one particular memory that went through my mind but didn’t appear in the conversation. It was about a play named “Eshtu Chandragalu” (How Many Moons?) we performed when we were in 2nd standard. I was playing the lead role of the king . During the practice session I was tired of standing and delivering the dialogues. So I argued with the director Mr. Ravi that kings must sit comfortably and not stand. In the beginning he tried to convince me to carry on. Then he asked the guy who played king’s guard to play as the king and made me a guard. I felt like a fool. I was still standing ! It was evident that the new guy would take a lot of time to learn the dialogues and of course he was not a talented actor like me (I’m not joking) ! The throne was returned to me but I was still standing (oh lazy bastard)! The play was a big hit.

There was only one odd moment during the final performance where I forgot my line. The sad thing was someone had disfigured my crown when I returned to school the next day. He had a respect for the past unlike me. I feel that the past is to be smiled at, cherished but not treasured in some emotional sack in the corners of our hearts. He disproved it with his words. We decided to meet again. As I hopped on the bus that night and saw Savya waving at me I could appreciate something that Oscar Wilde said. No man is rich enough to buy back his past.

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