My school friends agree on one thing about me
Abhik had made me promise that the next time I would be in Delhi, I would have to let him know. He would round up our school friends from elementary days and have a gathering. I had about 3 hours between flights to spare. And Abhik came thru with his promise. The last time I had seen Abhik was in 1986 May!
Some of the folks I had last seen even earlier (like Chinmoy). While I am not big into group meetings, the school friends have always been an exception. Perhaps because we have a lot in common – in terms of experiences we went thru together in the early, formative stages of our lives. Each one of them – Kushal, Sushil, Chinmoy, Abhik, Aniruddha, Mithun, Deepak and Jay had to fight a lot of Delhi traffic snarls to get to our meeting spot near the airport. Sanjay was in fact visiting from Bombay and he rearranged his schedule to meet us too!
Those young boys in grey shorts and white shirts have now prospered is so many different ways – from doctors to engineers to managing directors to NGO … you name it… and yet when the folks get together, it is almost like the conversations pick up from where we left off during school. Down to even discussing the crushes from those days!!
The Delhi folks made it very special for me by getting the restaurant to even put in a name plate for me. Those guys really know how to get my ego up.
For all that never-changed-spirits of friendship, everybody agreed on one thing. There is one thing that has changed a lot. And that is me. By general consensus (including my own vote), I was an awkward, thin-as-a-rail nerd toting thick black framed glasses. Nothing really stood out about me other than that I used to get good grades. (Which today I have concluded counts for next to nothing).
Apparently, nobody would have ever predicted the person I am today if they had seen the kid then. Which, upon reflection, could not be truer.
It would be an interesting exercise for me to reflect on whether my traits today are learned traits that I made myself learn or were those traits always there and they just happened to come out as my life context and environments changed around me. As an example, how different would I be today, if I had never come to the USA?
I was fortunate that the group did not deliberate on whether this me is better or that me was better. I was fairly sure that they would demand the old guy back!!