This dates back to the winter of 2004; the leaves have worn off the trees although the dust of the road get blissfully covered up by the loitering homeless petals. It was December when I managed to squeeze out ten days off my scheduled life in Bangalore and managed to break free at my parents’ place in Kolkata – Home sweet home after a year and a half approximately.

Although quite busy but my days in Bangalore weren’t too rosy. I graduated in the summer of 2004, post a long haul celebratory stint of four years of computer engineering, but some miscalculated steps landed me without a job during the college campus – Hence, call centre beckons ( those days the most frequented job option for graduates in engineering in Bangalore was call centre jobs, not easy or big money but good enough to stay free from Dad’s Bank drafts!) Along with the erratic schedule of call centre job, I busted with a nagging not-so-supportive and demanding (both in terms of money, time and avant-garde 24/7 emotional support) girlfriend and a super hectic management entrance preparation – Bell the CAT, as we called it. Net takeaway – I had no idea where was I headed. And then cometh Ani!

Ani, short for Aniruddha, was my childhood bud, neighbour next door, and had been a part of every activity (good and bad as our parents tagged them!) Since  the ‘core’ group of mine, much more than a friend and we had provided more than value-added suggestions to each other, specially during our doldrums moments. He was in his third year of medicine studies, missed a year post our 12th, all thanks to his tumultuous affair with a group of nasty pseudo-intellectuals and an addiction to the late night land line phone calls with a ‘wonderful’ lady who then, was supposedly his girlfriend but a year later chose a businessman’s wasted kid over my friend ( quoted reason was ‘he has a golden heart which you don’t’ , we happily concluded that the heart lies close to the wallet!) Ani confesses, emotionally most of the times, that I literally ‘dragged’ him out of the ‘mess-of-the-millennium’. Well, I tried if I recall, over the long early morning or late evening walks, which Ani later coined as ‘revolutionary walks’. Anyway, that was about us, and one fine late evening, two days through my holiday, he pays a visit. Post few pleasantries with my parents, he pondered over my stature for a minute, twitched his fingers and winced to signal, time for the ‘holy’ walk bud!

We walked for the next ten minutes or so without much of a talking between us, the sheer presence of him by my side was somehow comforting, a sense of loosening up, huge pile of tension dripped off me as we moved, floodgates of worries seemed to open up. He was the one who broke the silence – ‘Colour up, get me the details, what had been bothering?”. And I dug up all what was within – Bit by bit, explained him every minuscule detail, he did not stop me at any point. I cruised through the dark alleys of my experiences, thorough and lucid, his questionable gestures sometime made me to exemplify thoughts, rather help him to connect the right dots. By the time, I was almost done with my dramatic monologue, strange enough, he started talking about his surgery classes, about how they dissect things and segregate the problematic part which causes the ailment. Next, he started talking about his medicinal procedures, about how they start off with broad range antibiotic and drill down to the problem in a step-by-step manner – I was attentive but perplexed at his reaction, it did not make much sense to me. Then, he begun relating things, connecting the dots backward. My problem, he explained, was knotting up all the mental threads, not dealing with them on a case-by-case basis. He was at his best, citing examples from my monologue and dragging me to unclutter the threads, and it seemed as if he is redoing my life with some kind of method, a method which existed in the madness of my tired soul. He did not say anything which is unique, haven’t been told ever, the problems I stated are being re-stated to me posed as solutions, and it seemed quite apt, strangely! But the compassion coupled with courage in his voice, was slowly instilling confidence in me. We walked back home talking things out – I was smiling at his lousy jokes on the way, whilst I noticed that the strong chilly wind has magically carved the road amidst the worn out leaves which was covering up the dust – a method in the madness of the wild nature.

His presence, the togetherness of the moment, the singularity of hope in his voice, instilled the confidence in me to deal with the situation – Realised, it is true, indeed, that most times, it’s the company that matters more than the advice, and that is the power of being #together!

This post is for #together campaign at Housing

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