It was another casual Tuesday. Out of laziness I had booked a cab for a long ride of 2 km to my office. Then I suddenly got stuck in the traffic, once again ruing my decision to not have a walk for office. Suddenly my eyes got stuck onto a number plate. It read something like HR**** & for a moment I thought I was taking a cab from phase 1 to phase 4. Then a KA number plate made me realize that no, this ain’t the ride to or from any of the phases.

So yes finally the trips happened. A much awaited one for sure. After all it was to a city I have often considered my spiritual Alma mater for some reasons. Somewhere amongst these pages, I must have written about why so. For most of the people who know about 2 months, they think it was just 2 months of fun, going on rain soaked trips, getting friendlier with people of opposite sex. Yes, well true that. But it was more. It came after a certain bleak period of my life, a not so sad but very monotonous times. Times when just to bring a change in my schedule, I had retorted to going to classes. I had close to 100% attendance in 2–3 subjects. For reasons unknown though, I have never figured out why. But for the city, I would have figured that out with some introspection. But do I give damn, absolutely not. It was fun & all, but it was mostly a humbling experience. Of my own insecurities & judgments, of emotions and hatred. Words always fail me to describe that time. I have had a propensity to always get stuck onto things I hold dear, to hold on to them. Living in past or may be in future where I assume things will fall into place. So this trip was all about present, to get out of a certain attachment of past & anticipation of future.

And as they say, “today is a gift & hence it is called present”. So the present is obviously not as good as past when it comes to relationships. May be using the word good is not the right thing. I guess different is the word. Like seeing your younger brother taking care of a home by himself, making breakfast for you, is different. Drinking alcohol with your siblings & chomping pieces of lamb was not something I ever imagined. While in past we were always inhibited by the presence of parents but not anymore. Being independent is a virtue bar none for sure. It never occurred for once that it has been five years since we all have met at once place, there was always someone missing, quite the difference this time.

I also met couple of more folks from my coaching days. Again after five years, when we had last met, we all were preparing for the dreaded JEE exam, venting our frustrations in the computer cafes watching Hollywood movies for a change. I remember in all the friendliness, there used to be a bit of rivalry. Which was essential, after all we were competing against each other. Since it was first time away from home for most of us, so we always used to find a way to bond. Luckily we all managed to find a way through the JEE exam and got into different institutes. We got to talk about the people who could not cut it “as well” in life. They too would have found some place in life. Why does it always happen in that city?

And finally a big part of those 5 days, perhaps half of it, was spent amongst a bunch of assholes. This is the bunch with whom I had practically started & lived my adult life. For some reason we gelled pretty well. For most part, we have been a group famous for perhaps not standing out in college. Never being in limelight, many in no light at all. So obviously the expectations were high for this part at least. A whole different spectrum of people, soon to-be public servants, coders, analysts, still in college & some the new age entrepreneurs.

I remember on my last trip, somebody had commented on futility of such long trips. Where you often invest a lot emotionally and you never recover that amount. Where you are always at loss. I asked her, why you always go on trips then & then decorate them with fancy quotes. Because I never have to invest anything other than money on trips with stranger/ less familiar people, she had a point. Even though I had some answer for it, as ever, can’t exactly recall. But it must have been with a tone, don’t expect anything, do what you want to do. But skeptic inside me was scared. What if the long trip were to be futile. When I look back, I don’t know whether I recovered my end of investment, but for some reason I don’t care. May be because I did recover, hence it does not matter anymore.

There was a supporting cast as well, did not know how many will turn up. But as ever they played their part in appropriate capacity. A night out, an awkward birthday party, an unexpected visitor, well played folks. Then 5 days went just like that. It was the day fifth day where it was bit low on adrenaline, excitement because of the inevitable parting of company. Said byes to my brother in morning, see you soon gestures and the next plan to visit me in Jan. Rushed for other good bye rituals at the other house. All formalities but it did not feel strange for once in life. Then munching at a very awkward birthday party. I for sure do not vouch for two strange groups to come together and have fun all of a sudden, but again I kept it to myself. Soon, it was like counting minutes. A fear of losing flight, a contentment, a tempting thought of meeting someone & then ridiculing the thought at the same moment. It was all there, the different facets of personality.

Then on the way back, the usual reflection, why so and such? Again or not, what is the point, and the whole package of doubts? Is this justified? The splurge, the extravagance, the futility of living in past (sic).

The HR number plate has disappeared, there is a right turn to be taken for my office, and else I will end at the food court where I am supposed to go less often. Only when I need food not in morning when I am supposed to attend office. Quite rightly so, such right turns are essential for living but for once if you forget your way there is no harm ending up at food court. “Food” is there, it costs money, effort in the sun, you will be late for office, but sometimes it is definitely worth. No matter what anyone say.

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