“Friends??”

“You love dancing right?? ” I asked him.
“Oh yes, but how do you know??” he replied, startled.
“Your moves, your gestures say that…so what are you doing??”
“I just completed my B. Tech from ******* college noida”
“Cool, see ya around.” I finished the conversation since the gym trainer was shouting at us for standing and talking.

When you look back at some conversations (like the one above), they seem ordinary but these conversations are often the start of a beautiful friendship. Sometimes you just don’t realize when a stranger suddenly seems so close.

Few days went by and we did not talk except for the routine “Hi” and “Chal, see ya” ( sometimes simply a smile, no words). Finally one day, we happened to be working out nearby so I asked him his name. “Vi*&$@t Dubey” he replied. I couldn’t hear the name properly but I have always found it too embarrassing for the person if his name is confirmed 2-3 times. So I just nodded without showing that I haven’t heard the name properly.

“Himanshu Dubey” I replied and we shook hands.

“Don’t joke with me!! ” he told me hearing the surname Dubey.

I asked him, “Kyon?? Duniya mein tum akele hi dubey ho sakte ho kya??”

He smiled and said, “Nahi aisa kuch nahi hai, but I am not used to hearing my own surname so much.”

That was it. The similarity of surnames became a common ground for alot of talks starting from vegetarianism. We UP people, specially brahmins, when discover a person of our own surname, we do clarify that how far the other one is loyal to brahmanism. We were on quit the same level.

Evening, I logged on to orkut and searched for the college community, and found his name, Vishrut. A beautiful name that I hadn’t heard ever before. But I was now confident that I will be able to pronounce his name properly.

Then we began coming to gym at the same time and then I would drop him in my car on our way back. This gave way to a lot of conversations and by the end of the week, I found myself connecting with him very easily and comfortably.

Moving from the surname factor, the next common thing that we talked about was girlfriend. He is in a relationship from a long time now (touch wood!! my best wishes to him) and I had my old ex-girlfriend story to share.

He reminded me of myself, as I was few years back when I too was in a relationship and things were just as beautiful as they could be. I couldn’t stop thinking about the good things that happened and then the not so good things that followed and finally the things that led to us parting our ways for the good.

But of all this, I had found a great friend. He is sweet, very talented, optimistic and confident, things I really appreciate in a person.

This incident reminds of the first conversations with my other close friends. Let me see how much I can recollect.

Abhishek: We were in same class when I joined jaipuria but we never spoke. Sometimes we did laugh together on some jokes cracked by Madhav, Samarth or Varun. However, I don’t remember the first things we spoke.

Chaitra: I don’t know about the earliest conversation, but I do remember our very first fight.

“Himanshu, don’t make me open my mouth. I will speak all shit” she screamed at me.
“I don’t expect anything better from you chaitra!!!” I gave her back. I can’t stop laughing when I think of how we used to fight like a dog and cat.

Anurag: Sitting on ground in school in a sunny afternoon and watching some idiots running here and there (Annual Sports Day) can be really boring. On my left sat a little kid, very cute and cheerful. He was on and on making fun of the principal of our school. I too had to laugh at some of his jokes, even though they were quite kiddish. Some days later, I saw him on the road to my home. I asked and came to know that he stays quit near to my house.
“Kal mera birthday hai, aap ko aana hai” he said while we were parting. I obviously didn’t go. I mean how can you go to a birthday party when you don’t even know the name of the boy, forget about other things. He again met me some days later.
“Aap mere birthday mein kyon nahi aaye??” he asked me. From his face I could make out, he was quit genuine and serious. “I had to go somewhere else” I replied. After that we used to meet often on our way back home.

Kasturika: I was in Gonda, in class IV. On 5th November, 1996, I went to Ankit Pandey’s birthday party. He stayed in my colony and was my family friend. I noticed Kasturika in the party. She had recently joined school. Now look at the interesting part. She never told me where she stayed. I assumed she stayed near the school and that was far away from my home. How and why I assumed that I don’t know, I was a kid afterall.
“Kasturika?? Tum?? Yahaan?? Itni door se??” I asked her.
“Arey main to yahi bagal mein rehti hun, par tum itni door kya kar rahe ho??” she asked me.
“Main bhi to yahi paas mein rehta hun” I replied. A short silence and we both laughed. Then we decided to take a walk and show each other our homes.
When I imagine that time now, I feel I was as grown up as I am today. I don’t get that feeling that I was so young that time.

Eva: I reached college the first day and saw her sitting in the sofa at reception. Vandana ma’m told me that she is my batch mate. That day we didn’t have lecture. I and Kukki bhaiya then decided we would eat something from Vrindavan (the awesome south indian restaurant near my college). Bhaiya told me to ask Eva as well if she would like to join. I asked her. “No. Thank you” was what I heard. No smile on face, no eye contact. I didn’t know how to react to that. I just left. That Eva was couldn’t survive for long. By the time we finished out first semester, Eva was transformed into a fun loving, all time laughing and dancing, loud girl.

Snehal: Again, I don’t remember the first conversation but I do remember the first fight.
“Himanshu, please don’t speak to me. I have no issues with anyone else speaking to me. But YOU please don’t ever speak to me. I can’t stand you.”

“Ok fine. I won’t speak.”
I don’t know how was I so patient not to say anything in return. Well, it helped. Later on, I and Snehal became really good friends. Then came rakshabandhan and she tied a rakhi. So she became my official sister.

Some more conversations might follow in my next post. It is always fun to relive the old moments.