Wednesday, September 29, 2010

An Unexpected Party

I had invited Sanjay home last evening so we could 'listen to some music together'. Now Sanjay and I go back many years - approximately 26 years now - since I met him at the Osmania University Engineering College. He was in the Civil Engineering department (I was in electrical, at least for the first year) and he was a friend of Koni. I remember meeting Sanjay for the first time near the famous steps - he was on his way to meet someone on his Yezdi. Sanjay was from Nizamabad, carried all the flair, style and sharpness of people whom I met from that town.
Ram, Ramesh, Don, Me, Suri. Kiran and Subbu at the back

Sanjay was a state level athlete in the 800 m and 1500 m events and a very good basketball player. He had a great knowledge of songs, Hindi film songs and ghazals. He understood urdu well and would translate and explain to us what the words meant, what the complexity of the verse actually conveyed, something the he had learnt from his father. He loved good cinema, good literature, a lark, was quite intense and focussed in all that he pursued and was great fun to have around. And he was a foodie which was one area where me and he bonded, he was an expert of sorts on motorbikes which was where he bonded with Koni I guess, was keen on studying well which was where he bonded with Ram Narayan, was fanatical about his fitness which was where he bonded with Ali. You could leave Sanjay in the Himalayas and he will discuss vedanta with the yogis and become fast friends with them. So very soon we all got together and did some of the most fun things in college.

On a bet for example, he and Velu liked each other's trousers so much one evening while we all waited for a bus and they both went behind the bus stop, stripped down their trousers and exchanged them at the AMS bus stop. On another day he dared Prasanna that he would sit in the little lawn below the college steps (directly below the Ladies room coincidentally) with his trousers down at his ankles and we counted the five minutes down. He was part of the student's group that fought against the University for changing its backlog rule. He was instrumental in the Hyderabad-Goa-Hyderabad trip on motorbikes, with Ram, Koni and Vinod. where they merely stayed on a Goa beach for an hour, had a beer and returned instantly, mission accomplished. He was among the first to drink rum and whiskey comfortably, to smoke a cigarette with the consummate ease of a professional - in the back benches of the classroom. He drank but never held his drink well, and in our second year, we found that while there was a scuffle going on in the college, our man was drunk out of his mind and in our attempts to get him to the safety of the hostel, we all landed up with the cops at the PS, the hospital and it all culminated in a late night middle distance run from the Osmania PS to the hostel where he slept soundly after that. He would drive his bike, any bike, with the expertise few had, nay, none had. He was among the first to have a girlfriend, and the first to have a breakup. He tolerated no nonsense from anyone, as the rude bus conductor found out, while he hung on desperately to the bus bumper, trying to escape the ire of Sanjay and a few hundred hostelites when he was unnecessarily rude to Sanjay. He was also the one who went up and got Koni nominated for the post of the General Secretary when they tried to get Koni to back off from the elections. And he was also the first to team up to bash the guy who posed as a topper but was in fact a molester who lurked in the lonely stairs. Sanjay has a wonderful gift of being able to merge into the crowd in seconds.

Many were the capers we had but the most enjoyable were the ones with music. Once when we were at home there was a heavy downpour for a few days. Sanjay and I were lolling around in my room singing songs prompted by one another, and we sang for a whole afternoon. On bikes, on steps, at dhabas, we sang several songs. When he got bored Sanjay would change tunes, change lyrics and make them really funny. Once, much after college, when we were all married, I got this mad urge to listen to music at 1030 in the night. So I called Sanjay and told him that I was coming over and we'd listen to music. He was game and I landed up at his doorstep by 1130 on my scooter. Since the family was asleep we locked ourselves up in a sideroom, played all our favourite music on his system and at 330 in the morning, I left for my house, contented. It was one of those crazy moments. Well, we tried to replicate that yesterday and he agreed instantly.

Don, Me, Sanjay and Kiran
Don also said he would come by with great enthusiasm so I figured the more the merrier. Kiran came as well and Ram joined us soon after. Suri, Ramesh and Subbu, my cricketing friends from MCC, joined us as well and much into the evening Sanjay joined us. We played music of course but we could not sit and enjoy it like we did owing to too many people around and when he left we made a promise to meet up for a music session again. But it was a fun evening, everyone doing their own thing and enjoying themselves - just like the old days!

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