Vantage point

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Aniruddha Kane must be in Bombay right now. He leaves for Virginia tomorrow.

Anya has been one of my closest friends since childhood. I can still remember those days when we used to go together to school in 8th standard. We used bicycles and we worked out this novel scheme which only lazybones like us can conceive. Only one of us would take the cycle and the other would ride doubleseat. So it was a free effortless ride for one of us and we took turns everyday. Later of course, as we grew up, we started putting on weight and growing in height and double seat became too cumbersome a proposition. But when we graduated to two wheelers, the double seat thing started again as we went to college. Luckily, we've been in the same schools and colleges throughout. Until now that is. I can't imagine life without Aniruddha.

We've shared many secrets, had some fights, and done many things together. He lived very close to my place and we were always very close emotionally too. I'll miss that.

One thing common to us were our blasphemic non-hindu eating habits. Both of us loved to go to Shivaji Market in the Pune Camp area and have dinner in this place called "Shahi Dawat". It is famous for its beef rolls and beef tawa gosht and parathas and we used to hog beef so very often during the past year or so since we discovered the place. Beef is very very cheap in India, almost 1/3rd as chicken (all that demand-supply thing Banerjee keeps talking about in class), and we could afford to visit it very often. We were the two real die hard beef fans and though others often joined us, it was mostly 2 of us. We would sit downing the forbidden meat, talking of everyday things, sharing jokes and what not.

The other day when we met on MSN, he said he would gladly travel a thousand kilometres to Lucknow if he could, just to have one beef roll with me. I felt like I would cry.

We also fancied ourselves as great chefs. Together we've cooked almost the entire menu of any restaurant. be it bhajiyas, kheema, fried fish, chicken (really hot as Ameya would testify), burjee (spicy scrambled eggs), china grass, ice cream....the list is endless. It was fun to cook stuff with him in the kitchen, with him in his exuberant enthusiasm to put as much spice as possible in everything. I remember when he bought a new microwave, and we cooked lunch for Shilpa, a friend of ours, since her parents were out of town. Met her on MSN the other day too and she still remembers the lunch, fondly, I might add.

If I decide to write about Aniruddha and my friendship with him, it will take me hours. So I'll mention just one more thing.

He was never punctual. He used to keep me waiting outside his house, be it those days when I was on a tiny BMX cycle, or on my motocycle recently. He would come to his window and say "Aaloch, ek minute" (just wait a minute) and redefine the whole concept of a minute. He has played a large part in tanning my skin by making me wait for a long time under the sun.

Now he leaves for a foreign land, returning, I know not when. Again, he leaves me waiting for him. But I'll gladly bear all the heat of the sun as long as he comes back.

Do come back soon, Anya.

I'll miss you. Thanks for all those wonderful times together.