The places might be thousands of kilometers apart… but the feelings are so close to be as one. The circumstances stark different… but not the view.
The mind races faster to connect two seemingly insignificant events into what might be a pleasant walk done memory lane. The power of thought or the memories of the days gone by… hard to judge. But it’s strange isn’t it? Why are old days always good? Is it because we are so occupied that we forget our greatest joys… our existence? Is it the promise of a better tomorrow that strains us from admiring the present? Or are some incidents in life meant to be savored from the future?
The time 10:15 PM.
The place: Naini Chauraha, Allahabad District.
The Period: April 2003
Our end semester exams were quite close and the frequent power cuts along with the chaos around us had become a part of our lives. The yellow lamp did little to sway our concentration… I had never loved studying as I had in those days. After having allowed the mosquito coil to trouble me more than keep the mosquitoes away, I glanced around. Ravi was humming one of his favorite songs while he focused his attentions on one of the algorithms. Dinner time was close and reluctantly we got ready to make the move.
The Naini Bazaar was a small town in itself. The money was short and the hunger resilient as we settled in one of the dingy restaurants. “Bhaiya, char roti aur bhindi ki sabzee do jaghe mein” Ravi said over the counter as we found an empty bench to ourselves. It was quite dark out there, cannot expect much from the street lamp or the lantern hanging near the wall. We seated ourselves among all who came from various walks of life… mostly truck drivers. The garam garam rotis instead of receding our hunger had flared it more. “Ek daal tadka laga ke yahan par” said one of the drivers and we held onto the aroma for a bit longer. A minute passed by and then another, “Bhaiya yahan bhi do daal tadka laga ke” I said as I looked at Ravi. It would cost us seven rupees more.
The time 10:30 PM
The place: My room, Schumacherweg 47, Zurich.
The period: August 2008
The day was tough, a client meeting ensure I had enough work to keep my coffee breaks and lunch as short as possible for the week. But I was at home. A half an hour call to my sweetheart with a cup of hot tea made the day lighter. A cursory glance over the financial sites told me that the day was lackluster with no wild swings. Orkut showed me a couple of friends’ updates. Gradually it was time for dinner. “Sourav, khana khayega?” Libin asked me. “Kya bana raha hai?” I asked. “Mujhe to bus ek hi cheez aata hai… daal, tadka laga ke”.
The places are thousands of miles apart… but the thoughts are not. That evening while walking back with Ravi to our room we would have discussed about either the exams or a movie. Could I ever in my wildest dreams expect the “daal tadka” memory to make such a remarkable comeback when I would have least expected it.
Old days are always good and so are the memories. One day… one day, I would want to go to the same restaurant… sit with the same people in the lantern lit place while I would say, “Bhaiya, teen daal tadka yahan par”. Ravi, lets relive the old days. Libin, a bit of Ganga jal will do you no harm.