Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A day I'll never forget - Part 2

Sleeping in the side uppper berth is certainly not comfortable, but I tried hard to get some sleep with much twisting and contorting. Anyway it helped me stay awake to check the time on my watch. The train was scheduled to reach Bangalore Cantonment at 4.00 A.M but I think I overestimated the punctuality. I was up at 3.00 A.M and the train would reach Cantonment only at 4.45 A.M. I felt so sorry for Binny who would be waiting for me there. One of the girls who was sleeping in the upper berth almost stepped on my shoulder as she was trying to get down in a hurry when the train arrived at the station. "You should have been up at 3.00 A.M, girl", I almost wanted to say but my mind was not on any of such things. My heart was already racing anxiously to see the friend I had never seen in 10 years. As I alighted into the platform into the cold Bangalore weather with my jacket fully zipped, ears and head covered with my tuke I frantically looked for Binny. He wasn't there. I started walking towards the exit knowing I would bump into him any moment in a rapturous welcome. But Binny was no where to be found on the platform. I then passed the ticket collector on the gates of the exit to whom I gave my ticket. Within seconds my head scanning the waiting area like a radar fixed my gaze on a familiar face I had seen 10 years ago. It was Binny who was also looking straight at me. Smiling wide from ear to ear we ran to each other in an embrace that simply melted away the years of seperation. Binny had put on some weight but most of his hair had turned completely white. A volley of questions and answers about life, career, friends and family followed forgetting how tired we really were. He had also been up since 3.00 A.M that day. His normal hours at work are also stretched to hours after sundown. He had come driving and so there wasn't any hassles for transport.

We reached his roomy and comfortable apartment in Cox Town in 15 minutes or less. Binny's wife was up and the hot tea she made for us kept us awake for more talking. Seji also hails from Panampilly Nagar in Ernakulam where my wife also used to live at the time of my marriage. How small the world is. I had brought photographs of Binny, myself and friends when we were at I.T.C, in Thiruvottiyur, Chennai in 1995. How different we looked then with so much hope and promise about the future. After talking for some more time Binny suggested we drive to a place to meet someone. I thought that would be a fine idea so that Seji could get some sleep. As we drove to the vicinity of the L.I.C building that morning and parked beside the neat road there, I recalled the days when I would visit my brother in the late 80's and early 90's when he was doing his Engineering at M.S.R.I.T. It was so much fun, those days. I immersed myself in these thoughts enjoying Bangalore's early morning calm and cool weather as Binny walked across the road to do some business with a friend on the other side. On our way back we stopped at one of those tea/snack stalls that Bangalore is filled with. It was a working day afterall and Binny had to rush to work.

By the time we reached home Seji and her mother were already preparing breakfast. The little one, Prahlad was going to be up any moment. Although I was feeling a bit tired I knew I had to save all my energy for the most overwhelming moment of the day which was to happen in just a couple of hours.

To be continued...

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