Of three old friends and junk genes!!
The last time you would have seen these three together would have been in Chennai – circa 1989. Except that the fourth chair would not have been empty. Partha Roy would have been sitting there.
The two girls would have been talking loudly. Both would be laughing heartily. I would be trying to cut in with some dad jokes (then called “PJ”s – stood for Poor Jokes). And Partha would quietly sit there sipping his soft drink and then once in a whole bring the roof down with his loud guffaws. Lata would be speaking with a great command of the language English and Kiran would be talking of something disapprovingly with a liberal dose of Hindi words in her English.
34 years later… nothing has changed. At all!! Other than Partha, who was conspicuous by his absence, everything felt the same.
I was in Boston for work. Stayed in the Marriott in Cambridge that I used to stay in the late 90s when we had an office next door. Lata works in Cambridge and Kiran lives in Cambridge. A few phone calls here and there – and there we were!!
Lata refused to believe that I had once driven her and her roommate – together with my friend Aditya – from New York to DC and we had stayed with somebody she knew in DC. I gave her a lot of details of the trip – but she would have nothing of it. Finally, I had to call Aditya and get him to send us a couple of pictures (he was and still is an avid photographer) from that trip. I showed them to her. Her first reaction? “That is me? Send it to me – I want to show my son this picture”.
Second was, Kiran and I got a class on “Gene 101” from Lata. I finally have the answers to a lot of questions about genes, DNA, genomes, chromosomes etc etc that I had all these days. Learnt about “junk genes” for the first time. Did you know about them?