Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Part 3

Rohan was great fun to be with. Chitra soon found out that people came to him with all kinds of problems. Under his “I-couldn’t-care-less” demeanor, Rohan was hard working, sincere and really patient. Chitra had heard him explain an entire module to a colleague without getting irritated on being asked irrelevant questions.

Chitra was really surprised how her opinion about Rohan changed and how they became friends. And the day she learnt that he was an MBA, the last grudge melted away!!

Laughing heartily at his jokes and making faces at his not-so-original one-liners, Chitra wondered when was the last time that Rohan was really serious.

Knowing that she didn’t have her group of friends in the city, Rohan introduced her to his own gang in office. Chitra was thrilled to find friends who were just what she had been wishing for. The best thing about everyone in “The Gang” was the amazing ability to laugh at oneself. There were weekends of trekking, theater workshops, volunteering at NGOs, movies, etc. The girls from the gang even went window-shopping together when any other activity seemed tiring after the long week. Chitra no longer frowned at being called Chi by the group. Not because she liked it. She however found Chi much more normal than names like Sonic, Jamun, Tank and Piddu.

“Hey Chi, what’s so interesting thing there? You look like “concentration” personified.”

“Ron, please don’t try to break my train of thoughts.”

“So are you thinking about the zit on your forehead?”

“Zit? Where?” Chitra frowned and started feeling her forehead.

“Isn’t that your worst nightmare come true? Relax, I was just kidding!”

“That gets recorded in the Guinness’ Book as the most pathetic attempt to sound funny.
I need your help in writing this email Ron. I want to inform this client Jason about my planned vacation next week, without giving him a chance to dump assignments on me. This guy has already ruined my last two planned trips.” She rolled her eyes.
“And I WANT to go home for Diwali.” Chitra screwed her nose.

“You look like a cute piglet.” thought Rohan

“Ron! Why are you smiling like that?
What should I write? I want to be tactful.”

“Hmm…let me see. First of all, don’t sound desperate Chi. Don’t ask his permission for leave. Just tell him that you won’t be available the whole of next week and you will take care of the assignments when you are back.”

“That sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? I think I was getting scared for no reason. The manager has already approved my leave. By the way, I am off for 2 weeks not one! Yuhoo!”

“2 weeks? What will you do at home?”

With the email drafted, Chitra felt relieved. “Spend some time with family…good escape from strangers like you! Whew!” Chitra teased Rohan.

“Strangers, incidentally are just family you have yet to come to know.”

“Interesting.” Chitra said and looked up to see what Rohan meant by that.

“Hellllo! This time I am not original…just a line from some book.”

“Five people you meet in heaven.”


“The book, stupid!”

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A week's trip to Kerala

was more fun than I had imagined.
Kerala's beautiful. And I realized that pretty early in the trip.
I woke up at 6.30 and looked out of the window of the running train and saw tiny slopping roofed houses lined along the railway track amid lush greenery. I just couldn’t go back to sleep again! So till 10 am when we reached Ernakulam I tried to see as much as I could.
There has to be a separate travelogue written to describe our trip, but till I find the motivation to do that, here are the highlights.

Banglore- Meeting A's friends, his neighbours and checking out the neighbourhood where he grew up. I have not spent more than 5-6 years in one place, so my school and college memories are made of different faces and places. But I could easily sense A's happiness of being back where he's spent 22 years. Yeah, I know I digress.

Kochi- Visit to the Synagogue, Jew town, St. Francis Church, Marine Drive and the Hill Palace.

Alleppy- The stay on the houseboat for a day. Memorable. Nothing can be more relaxing than being on the boat and gazing around at the backwaters. Hmm...I miss that.

Thekkady- Visit to a spice garden, seeing a Kathakali show. Spending a day in the Periyar Tiger Reserve- trekking and relaxing on the bamboo raft. And trying to get rid of the leeches and imagining them to be everywhere for a day after the trek.

Munnar- Tea, tea everywhere! Visit to the Eravikulam National park to see the Nilkurinje (how do they spell it?) flowers in bloom. Sadly, there were not many flowers but the park is great. And it looked amazing when it started raining. Spotted the mountain deer.

Strangely, coming back from the holiday was not as bad as we dreaded. I think that's a good sign. We are getting used to the idea that you can’t run away from your routine for too long.

Alleppy backwaters

Periyar lake, we are on the other raft