Sunday, August 19, 2012

A car journey to remember

I hadn't met her for 35 years. After school, we went our own ways. Our leaving school was chaotic- we were not even supposed to leave that year, but the powers that be, changed the rules and packed us off to college. Literally overnight we had to run; for the town we were from had no college and we had to go to the big bad city. There was no time for goodbyes. No time for farewells. We simply ran.

Thirty five years later I got a call from another ex schoolmate giving me a number. She's at this number ; call her there, the friend said . I did  and discovered that she was in the same city as I am in. Fancy that - no contact for such a long time and then all of a sudden, here she was not more than 5 miles from where I lived. I called her and was delighted to find the same old voice of the days when we were school kids. We were planning for a reunion back in school in a month's time and would she come ?? She took literally 30 seconds to say yes. 

We drove down  together to our old town , a fair drive of some 7-8 hours and B joined us for the trip. The two ladies brought  all the old memories back and we marveled at both how time had flown by and yet how we were going to set the clock back for the next two days. We had a reunion that would stay in our minds forever and when it was time to come back, she and I were the last to leave. The heart was heavy and I don't think I would have survived that drive alone. But she was there and we fondly recalled every moment of the time we all had together. As we reached Bangalore, we promised to be in regular touch. I dropped her off at  her house, had a cup of coffee with her mother and reveled in the knowledge that we had been through something very special. That was the last I saw of her.

We kept in touch on the phone.  We knew that when any of our other mates happened to visit, we would probably get together again. But imagine my shock, when I got the dreaded call three days ago. It was from another mate who had somehow heard of the news. 

How does one reconcile with the passing away of a schoolmate with whom you had shared many a moment in school, lost touch for decades, rediscovered recently and had spent a magical time together. All you can do is reel in complete shock. This is not supposed to happen, is it ? School mates are eternal, aren't they ?

All I have is that magical car journey to remember you by.

Rest in peace my friend.

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