The walk of my life!!
I was determined to see him. I was going to be in Bangalore after 12 long years. I have no idea when I will be in Bangalore again. There are lots of friends from my past that are in Bangalore. If I were to meet three of them every day for drinks, I can easily spend over a whole month in Bangalore. But I was determined to see this gentleman above anybody else.
1991 was the last time I saw him. Before starting my job life, I had visited the parents of my friend (Raj Subramaniam) from MBA days and spent a few hours with them. His mom is no more. That is a terrible lost opportunity for me. That resolved me to never make a statement that I missed seeing him (Raj’s dad) when I had a chance to.
Catching barely a few hours of sleep, I woke up very early in the morning to ensure that Bangalore traffic would not come in my way to go from one end of the city to the other, spend some time with the Subramaniam family and then go to yet another end to start the office meetings.
There are too many memories from this morning – seeing Raj – my MBA class mate, my team mate from a project a few of us did together in MBA school that I am incredibly proud of till this day (the others continued on that success to start their own companies – I was the only exception. In my defense, I just did the user interface simulation). Raj and I joined the same first job of our lives together – in fact, we even lived in the same apartment as long as both of us worked in Bombay. The quintessential calm and composed guy, he was, and continues to be the absolute opposite of me. I would come back from office extremely agitated and vent to him that the stupid computer CPU cycle was pitiful that I could only put in really half a days work. He would just keep staring at me and once he sensed that my lips had stopped moving, he would close his eyes and in that Zen like tone say “Good point”.
Seeing Kavita – his wife – with who I have talked often but never seen was another reward. The dosai she cooked for me? To die for!! Unfortunately, I did not get a lot of time to spend with her since she had to chauffeur the kids from their squash games to their classes and all.
Meeting Aditya and Saumya for the first time and finding common connection points? Very fulfilling!! As you can see, Aditya and I share the same passion in tabla. In fact, before running off to school, he sat down and played some for me. Saumya – who has a love for English and writing – a love I share – but not as skilled as her though – and I discussed whether to memorialize her writings in a blog or a book…
But nothing – nothing in this world – could top the fact, Raj’s dad came out to meet me and then we two went out for a walk. Imagine this: I am seeing him after 26 years. He is pushing 91. He grabbed his walking stick and led me. I was still in my office clothes and merrily walked beside him. Eventually Raj joined us after putting in a run. But before he joined us, it was uncle and I. I enquired softly about his house in Puliyannur, his grandkids, his other sons. He haltingly answered – all the while pacing me hard in my walk. I told him how I was a big fan of the newsletters he used to publish about the activities of his family members. (Raj used to bring those for me and I used to read them cover to cover).
That was a magical morning for me. Being able to walk side by side with somebody whose wisdom precedes me by about half a century and yet being able to connect with each other with some spotty memories from the past…
Yet at a metaphorical sense… it was always about walking together for a few steps. In life, we are all destined to have our own journeys. The memorable moments are created when we let each other walk a few steps – of those very different journeys – together. Coming to think of it – is that not what life itself is about? Welcoming and accepting each other in our life journey – as short as some of those steps together might be?
Thank you uncle for accepting me in your life journey for a few steps this morning…