Day 1: Landed in Chennai amidst rains. As usual, the auto guys fleeced me. When will Chennai ever change with respect to autodrivers charging the right price?
I straight went to the apartment where I lived. This brings in so many memories. I chose to stay with my neighbour aunty who were my second set of parents. Always go there, though the house is small, I feel more at home..Aunty, uncle and their kids are just so amazing.
Anurag Mathur, my dear friend sent me a couple of messages when I was about to leave for Chennai..are you in Chennai or are you going to come here? Anurag, Don’t tell me you are in Chennai.
Ha ha, yes I am. So, Sunday morning breakfast?
Oh yeah done! After a long chat with aunty, I set off to meet AM after a year. The last time I met him was in Bombay. Long time. We met at our usual place, Anokhee. I am going to bore for your two hours Sharada, so much to tell and I do not get an audience like you often.
Go ahead, I said and started listening.
As we spoke, he shot out a few lines of poems..one liners..
Whoa, I said.
Don’t know this happens when I am with some people. Sharada, what are you doing? I know it is because of you I am saying all this.
Yeah, it is the Sharada effect. LOL!
He suggested we should try drinking orange juice with black coffee? What, I shrieked! Yeah, its a great combo, I got to know when I was in Dubai last time.
Ok, lets try, I said. Anyway, people think we are mad, so what’s the big deal..
It turned out to be actually good!!
Spoke about so many things that time flew. The rains were heavy and we walked out..
So, I know you are becoming famous, but when will I say that The Sharada Balasubramanian is my friend?
Very soon, I smiled.
With AM, I can start a conversation I left a year back.
Realised, that is the connect. Told him, how I was away from a lot of people these days.
After a great meeting with him, headed back home to have nice lunch made by aunty. Crashed and then headed off to my loosu friend Shyamala’s house. It was her engagement the next day.
It seemed like I was walking into a total mad house. Some four grandmothers, 10 aunties, uncles, kiddos. I was like..hello?
Said hi to all grandmothers and uncles..and said can I help?
I was already full eating all day... so wanted to skip my dinner. One aunty came and said..you should eat..they did not listen to me..she actually was so sweet, she fed me..no one has ever done it to me..except mom, grandmom and yeah my brother..I had a smile everytime she fed me..i just hugged her and said thanks..almost had emotional tears from my eyes..spoke to grandfather..lady, isn’t being a journalist a risky job? Oh no, it is not. I mean you have to do anti government stories. Yeah, I have done it, its no big deal! I smiled..
Another aunty came and she wanted me to take me to her house. So, not married yet? Oh no. You must, this is the right time.
(Gosh, oh no, here I go) i did not say anything..
We sat to watch Lord of the Rings at night, but with everyone asleep, we switched of the tv and slept for a few hours.
Next day, I was all busy in cajoling my friend..aunties were coming with kilos of jewellery ..decking up S..and she hated gold..like me..somehow said, manage it..on the other hand, her mother was getting angry..finally pacified both and took her.
Met another reporter from PTI there..started talking..so next your number sharada?
Oh no, please, why don’t you get married?
Ok, deal..lets see who gets married first.. I said..
After a hearty chat, came back to mad house becoming more mad..
Me and S’s dad had a very very long chat till 12.30 am. Talking about how rigid our systems are and how times have changed and we are stuck to traditions without even knowing its significance.
Uncle, i have made my mind not to marry an iyer guy. There are very few who can stand up on their own.
Soon, S chipped in. Actually, sharada is right. In fact, my prof at Malayala Manorama told me to marry someone not an iyer..sharp minded women can never find a smart man in iyer clan..i should write a separate post on this. there are only a handful of exceptions.
Finally uncle gave in. You girls read, you are intelligent, I give up. yayyyy..success!!
Uncle, you can look out for a guy for me, but no thanjavur Brahmins and all..they are very conservative and we don’t follow all that...but given a choice, no horoscope nonsense and no iyer...please! i am tired and fed up..Dont worry, he said..
Me and S wanted to have a private conversation, so we shut all doors and started talking in the kitchen..till 2 am..and what do we talk..MEN!! the complicated creatures in the planet. God knows what runs in their mind...
Our talk went on till early morning, I crashed for couple of hours and then went to meet Radhika. S dropped me off on her bike..it was raining and the long drive was awesome..
Rads had just come back from London and she was someone who knew me well...we decided to go for a movie..Went to see Aisha at the new Express Avenue mall..no interesting, good looking men..sigh! Aisha was actually a superb movie..more of the girly sorts..and me being the big fan of Abhay Deol..loved it..and especially the manly role he plays in the movie..Rads, this is the kind of guy I want to marry..so nice na! She just smiled..
We had some yummy food and went home. Between my dear friend Inderjeet called me. I heard you are in Chennai.
Ya, I am.
And you did not call me?
Sorry yaar, was busy.
When are you coming home?
Hmmm..ok, will come tonight?
Ya, i will send you my car..
I could not go for Inder’s wedding in Punjab, and it was long he was inviting me home. So, wanted to meet his wife and son.
Inder had to travel, so he said, you go home and spend time with my wife..sounds cool..
After having a heavy meal at S’s place (it was avani avattam), aunty stuffed food and sweets into my mouth..in the evening, me and Amandeep (inder’s wife) went off to her aunty’s house. realised it was Raksha bandhan...from a south Indian family to a big Punjabi family. There was nothing different..i was fed again..phew! so much love..and one bhaiya came and thrust a 100 rs note in my hand..keep this..I was so humbled..he did not even know me..
Inder’s son, Sahibjeet is adorable, chubby, cute boy. I played with him till late night..Aman loved my company..and she was so happy..said, please spend the day with me.. I had a great time with her and Sahib. She cooked awesome food..and we talked and talked..had a conversation with the high flying Inder on the way to airport..he was going to Bombay. I think he spent half the time in flights..hey sharada, I also want to do something on my own..I am so good with work, and if i put this effort in my own business, I will go places..Said, yes do it..
He actually admired how I did things close to my heart..yaar, need guts to do what you are doing..its ok yaar, just doing what I feel I want to do..but its nice when friends offer their words of support and recognize it..
The next day, I had to meet another friend Srini. He is an actor and I still had not watched his film. Told him I would watch it! Had a cup of coffee with him and came back to meet Rads. She is so much fun to be with..and that was all the time I had. I had to come back home to finish my work. Four days not doing work felt like a big deal!
I could not meet a lot of people I wanted to. Realised many things. There were some people who were friends with me from a very long time...close too..but today, they were no where in my life. And it didn’t matter to me. at the same time, there were people who were just the same with me and I know they have entered my life,..to stay and be there..and some..just faded..and sometimes I feel...how much time I wasted on all wrong people in my life..doing things..but experience..has taught me many things..
Feel happy, with some love..long lasting love...