Monday, April 7

Whiskey, Mystics and Men

I don't know whether it's me or the beer, but it occurred to moi that there are less than 3 weeks left to the end of the semester & possibly, my stay in this apartment. Sure, this place is nothing special. It has the required number of walls and windows, strategically placed, with the kitchen and bathroom thrown in. But, this house was home for 2 years. And, it takes a few things, events, people etcetera to make that transition.

I shifted here from my temp accommodations on a Sunday afternoon at 4:00 pm. I remember a flutter of trepidation in the pit of my stomach as I contemplated the front door to Building 1509 - Parkview Apartments, no. 6. Having never stayed by myself before, I wondered whether things would work out... I'm afraid that vague thought cannot be elaborated upon further. I opened the door, expecting to be greeted by the typical 'new place' smell and instead reeled back a couple of steps, having been assaulted by the fragrance (if one could call it that) of garlic. At least none of the guys I was sharing the place with was a vampire. Not in the accepted sense, anyway.

The moments pass quickly when you are setting up house; one minute I was unpacking my clothes and other stuff and before I knew it, a week had passed and I found myself eating dinner with the guys at 1:30 am by the glow of the kitchen light. That was our first semester... we actually ate lunch everyday, were in the computer lab till closing time i.e. 1:00 am, made our way home in a group, laughing and joking by the light of the autumn moon, cooked and had dinner by 3:00 am and sleepily opened our eyes to realise it was 11:00 am. Those were the days of experimental dishes, discovery of culinary talents or the lack of it, and importantly, the first tentative understanding of each other as people.

Eventually, everyone settled down to their individual routines and the semesters flew by. While we didn't meet everyday, each of us in the house knew that we'd be there for each other if needed. That's about all we expected from each other, since we were probably the only bunch of Indian students who didn't have a fixed schedule for who'd cook, who'd take out the garbage and who'd buy the groceries. We're pretty casual people, all four of us. We enjoy drinking, listening to music and cracking inane jokes. It's be nice to say we got along famously all the time, but Shangri-la is a myth, an ideal. While appreciating each other's individual quirks and alcohol consumption abilities, we occasionally saw the beast flash in each other's eyes. And acknowledged the kinship, even as we swallowed the revulsion. That's what alcohol is for, right ? Discovering and dancing with demons ?

The good and the bad have together made the past 2 years real. Unlike students in most other apartments, we lived with each other. I'd like to think maybe we learned something from each other along the way, but that would be wistfulness on my part. But, I do know that the odds of finding four quirkier people living together in Birmingham are rather slim.

Here's my literary doff...

to that first spicy daal-chaawal + beer combo, all those many months ago
to the 25th of February 2007, to 5 guys and 48 beers from 12:30 to 6:30 pm
to the beer wall of fame... 35 varieties and counting
to the messy kitchen & unforgettable food
to never taking each other seriously, especially when the going got tough
to not sweating any stuff, never mind the small stuff
to the incidents I can't mention here, but know we'll remember for a long time
to the house in Birmingham, AL and to the guys who made it home
to us.

Song for the moment: Old friends / bookends - Simon & Garfunkel


singhs log said...

you didn't mention your first wank.......
Im sure that came round the first night!!

Ketan said...

Hey chief,

Sorry man... my flat mate has cancelled the phone line and buraucracy here has set its own standards... much worse than the international one's so I'm still without a home phone number. I dont know when you're leaving to go to the forsaken lands of combodia... but mail me a phone number I can reach you on and I'll call you when the kiwis figure out how to re connect phone lines... I think we might have to wait for them to discover fire again but I've heard gods/aliens help with that so it shouldnt be too long...

bhumika said...

what do i say? i miss Pune...