Hindi movies were not the only topic we disagreed on, of course. She always put on a fine display of boredom and amusement whenever I started talking football, or politics or Hollywood. She wouldn’t say anything directly. She just uttered the “hmm”s and “ah”s in the appropriate moments in such a tone that it was easy to visualise her expression on the other end of the phone. It was that typical female expression of condescension, amusement and resignation that since eternity has preceded the sigh and the smirk, “Men..”
We used to disagree on most things, and yet, that never resulted in any bitterness. We both always kept trying to convince each other of our view of things, and we both enjoyed the good-natured arguments that resulted. It made for good conversation, and it made for a good friendship.
Gradually, the date of her departure drew nearer. Strangely, I wasn’t as disturbed by the prospect as before. The friendship with her had settled things for me somehow. I was no longer worried about losing her. Till then we had been friends for no longer than a month, but I could tell it was going to last. And in that confidence there was peace and comfort.
Things were settling down for me at home too. By then, I had accepted my parents’ idea that trying out the state engineering/medical entrance tests next year would not be an entirely dumb option. On the other hand, they had also accepted my position that doing nothing but preparing for those exams for an entire year would not be a great idea. Once this agreement was reached, the three of us could work together on the plans.
There were only two colleges in town, and one of them was for girls. I got admission in the other one with, I’m not sure why, Zoology as my subject. It was decided that I would primarily be preparing for the entrance tests, and also continue with the Bachelor of Science course in Zoology in case that didn’t turn out so well. I know, it doesn’t sound like much of a plan, but we didn’t really have too many options left at that time. Yes, even with my pathetic rank in the Engineering entrance I would have gotten a seat in one of the private engineering colleges. In fact, I could have gotten a seat in a college in the same city she was going to, but there was one thing wrong with that beautiful plan. My parents couldn’t afford the fees. My dad, who used to be the regional sales head of a big MNC that sold beauty products, had given up his job about a year ago. His firm wanted to send him to the North-East states with a promotion, and he had decided he didn’t want to be so far from his family. My dad is beyond a doubt the family member I have had the most fights and disagreements with, but that one act of sacrifice continues to humble me to this day. Yes, that he could walk away from the job at a day’s notice was also because of the support of my mom. She was, at that time, a senior nurse in the government hospital, and it was her income that kept our family fed for those few years while my dad struggled to establish the FMCG distribution business he had started.
- The Road To Ithaca – 12 (thecleverdog.wordpress.com)
- The Road To Ithaca – 11 (thecleverdog.wordpress.com)
- The Road To Ithaca – 10 (thecleverdog.wordpress.com)
- The Road To Ithaca – 9 (thecleverdog.wordpress.com)