Monday, June 05, 2006

Sean, Chantilli, Myself and Vodka at Tian's

Last Sunday, I met with an old friend of mine from high school days. He and I were boarders in a renowned Catholic school in Mumbai. We were in the same school from the 7th to the 10th grade, after which we graduated to junior college and went to different institutions. However, my years in the boarding school are still among the best years of my life. I enjoyed the life, the people, the friends, the curriculum, the teachers, the academic activities, the prestige of the school - everything. Life was truly an adventure everyday! Moreover, being that we were boarders living by ourselves there, I believe we each had a sense of being "grown-ups" in some ways. We tended to "look after" each other, talk about "life issues", think big, think independently, and think freely (in some cases). Anyway, so I was meeting someone who I've been friends with for over 10 years now. Even though after moving out of high school our lives took us to different places, we maintained contact occasionally, and prior to my moving to the United States, we even managed to hang out together often. Needless to say, it was an absolute delight to be able to see him again - this time, it was almost after 5 years! I was looking forward to Sunday evening… we met at the train station. Sean (his name) had suggested that we head over to a nearby "pub" (that's what they call bars here; very British); he had been there only once before but was impressed enough with it to try it one more time with me - Tian's at Juhu. We got into a rickshaw* -- these rickshaw drivers are extremely picky about where they wish to go, so it took us a while to find a driver willing to take us to the place we wanted to go. Along the way, and the whole evening really, our conversation flowed quite smoothly; mostly it was I who did all the blabbering. I guess I was overly excited that evening. I had good reasons: I was meeting Sean, and I was going to a bar for the first time in more than two months since I came to India! I was almost thirsting for some Vodka! It was such a heavenly delight to finally wet my lips with a ruby-red cocktail mix of Vodka and Cranberry juice! :) The bar was surprisingly nice: the ambience was mellow, rustic, almost Irish-like. They played oldies music - Richard Marx, Eagle's California, etc. It was a nice respite to listen to these long-forgotten songs… the sound level was just perfect for a conversation to occur without much effort, as well as to smoothly fill in those moments of transitory silence between sips of a drink or changes of conversation topics. Oh, and we actually started off with a glass of wine each. It was some Indian brand wine - Chantilli Merlot! Lol! :D It was not too bad… though it was incredibly thin, and lacking of any texture. But, I couldn't complain. Hey, I was at a bar, with a great companion, having alcohol! Sean suggested we also get some appetizer to munch on while we had our drinks. I agreed. Food always sounds like a good idea to me. However, the sheesh kebabs that we ordered weren't really that good. They were quite flavorless, actually. I did mention that to the attendant who made the mistake of asking me how I liked the food. I was honest, but polite - I think. Something I noticed about our conversations struck me as certainly worth noting. Given that he and I were high school buddies, we have had years of some very juvenile topics of conversation… like our 10th grade classes, exams and papers, our teachers, homework, gossip about friends, hardrock music bands, mystery novels, Agatha Christie, Hardy Boys, Stephen King, etc. This time, however, our topics were about our jobs, our careers, our goals in life, marriage (yes, marriage came up a quite a bit), bank accounts, financial processes, etc. I didn't happen to notice anything unusual about our conversation while they were happening… I just happened to note the fact later on as I reflected on the evening. It's not that I don't usually have these kinds of conversations with my other friends, but just that being that it was Sean, who I've known since I was much younger, talking to him specifically about such things really highlighted to me the stage of life we are in now. Of course, we talked about Ayn Rand. He had never heard of her, but mentioned that he vaguely remembered hearing about The Fountainhead. I said I would buy him the Atlas Shrugged. He protested slightly saying he could buy it himself. I said, no. I really wanted the pleasure of buying this book yet again, and offer it to him. Sean is a mostly reticent man; but he laughs gaily, with much innocence. And that is a very good thing. He is highly intelligent; loves reading, though he says he is losing the habit now because of his busy work schedules. He strikes me as a person who is utterly self-confident and secure, and because of it, he finds no need of making sure the other person realizes it. I like the fact that he doesn't play conversational games like refusing to answer you because he wants you to insist; or feigning anticipation and interest because he knows that what you want him to do. I don't do those things… and it was superbly delightful to talk with someone who followed a similar discipline. All in all, it was a delightful evening. As we both work all week (Mon - Sat), we decided to meet up again next Sunday - possibly for a movie or some such thing. I look forward to continuing our friendship. He is a rare man of honest integrity. It's nice to surround myself with such wonderful company. *rickshaw: an enclosed tricycle with a motor in the back. Also known as an "autorickshaw." Moves along at a top speed of about 30 miles an hour. Ubiquitous outside the downtown city area. Very cheap means of transportation.


Blogger innommable said...

Awww... that sounds great!

6/05/2006 04:39:00 pm  
Blogger innommable said...

You know, when you said rickshaw, I imagined some wooden box with two wheels that had to be carried by some thin, barefoot, Indian man... I pictured you two going through some hot dusty road, like Geisha girls!

6/06/2006 12:38:00 am  
Blogger Ergo Sum said...

haha! Yea... it used to be kinda like that... minus the funny japanese hats.
Infact, in some parts of India those kinds of rickshaws still exist... actually, when it's an old, emaciated, tired man pulling a cart along, it's called a rickshaw. But when the same thing is done by a beast, it's called a cart or carriage.
In essence, there isn't much difference between the two.

6/06/2006 05:13:00 am  
Blogger Tyrel said...

"mostly it was I who did all the blabbering."

I see not much has changed!

6/06/2006 12:39:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tell it to someone who GIVES a fuck.

7/17/2008 09:08:00 am  

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