Our IIT coach would take us to Elliott Beach in Chennai to practice soccer before Inter IIT games. I was the goalkeeper. So, I welcomed the soft landing in sand after diving. The problem, of course, was that the ball would drift more than I would anticipate in the wind. Almost broke my wrist for misjudging the ball by an inch while trying to thwart a thundering kick from Satish Sundar. That guy had the hardest kick in the team.
So, here I am in Puerto Rico. The main reason is to attend the wedding of somebody I know. Much younger to me, of course. I am on the board of the company that he is the CEO of. Turns out I was his mentor for a couple of years before that too. So, I show up with Sharmila at the Bacardi Distillery. It was a small and fairly intimate wedding.
Other than the bride and the groom I did not know anybody. Sharmila and I were intently watching the proceedings of the Indian wedding. All of ten minutes must have passed.
That “I did not know anybody”, bit? Completely unfounded.
Suddenly a gentleman in chic, traditional Malayali dress walks up to me and Sharmila.
“Hari. Hari Menon!”
“Wow! I would not have recognized you!!”
I knew Hari very well from the 90s. We had worked together. But I could not have picked him up from a crowd. He had however, recognized me in the gathering.
“Hari. Wait. What is your connection?”
“I am Vivek’s cousin”
The groom and I know each other for a few years now. In fact, he and his bride-to-be had gone out for dinner with Sharmila and me too. But we never figured out that we had such a common connection!!
Last year, I had come to Puerto Rico by myself. I had loved the Seven Seas Beach. Remember sitting at the spot behind the two trees in the background for hours. I remember calling Sharmila up and saying we need to come back together some time.
Did not realize it will happen within a year!! It is a great beach environment. The only problem is the bar sells mojito and pina colada – but not with alcohol! I asked her if it was because it was a public park. She thought I was out of my mind. I guess you can drink in public parks in PR. Turns out it is because of the owner’s religious beliefs.