We talked for about forty minutes . I could have talked more but then his dad is not yet into smuggling charas/brown sugar/garam masala and he very clearly said "Chal saale.Ab fone rakhne de.Isse jyada baat kari tho pappa meri khaal utaar ke dubai mein bech denge." Not very pleased with the thought of my friend's skin being sold in some flea market in Dubai with a stallwaala yelling "Indian khaal Indian Khaal , sirf teen rupye per square metre , le jao le jao", I agreed .
But long after I kept down the phone , one question which he casually posed to me during the conversation kept goonjing in my ears -
" Yaar Abhi , tera jaisa banda akela reh kaise sakta hain ? Tujhe dekh kar tho lagta hai jaise tune paida hote hee nurse se gappe maarna shuru kar dia tha..tu akela rehta kaise hai kerala mein ?"
Now , the guy does have a point . Aaj main mika ke baalon ki kasam khaake admit karta hoon that it has not been an easy time for me in Kerala over the last nine months ( Ek tho yeh nine months bada hee khatarnaak time frame hota hain , sunte hee mind mein bacche ke rone ki awaaz aane lagtee hain ). The boy who landed in Kerala on the 20th of June 2006 was possesed of nothing more than seven minutes of cumulative experince in the kitchen , had ironed a total of three shirts , seven chaddis and one handkerchief in the 24 years 8 months of his life , had no sense of a biological clock and did not know how a man in a lungi looks like.
And today , on the kaali amaavas ki raat of 21st Farvareee 2007 , I can proudly smirk and claim to be a man who can prepare maggi , sandwiches , neembu paani and an occasional thick brown liquid which I call coffee . Mujhe pata hain aap mein se kuch kaafi shakki mizaaz ke hain , unke liye maggi ki foto bhee chipka bhee dee hain .bilaady disbelievers.And I have ironed enough baniyans , shirts ,trousers , chaddis and other chote chote kapde to get a wildcard entry into the All India Dhobi Association of Kerala . And now I know how a dark wiry malayali man looks wearing a lungi which is threateningly high and revealing . And trust me , that is one sight you don't want to know about .
I have been staying in all alone in an ajnabee shehar , in a land where I am thousands of miles away from a single soul who actually cares , in a place where I am no more than a north indian novelty who speaks gibberish . And if all this has taught me one thing , it is this - Do not take the 'saath' of your family for granted . Yeh jo aapke ma , daddy , bhai , behan hai na , inn logo ka saath ek saaye ki tarah hota hain , jiska ehsaas tabhi hota hai jab aap dhoop mein nikalte hain .For many of you , it would be so normal to hear your mother calling for you with a "Aao beta , khaana kha lo" . It would be so normal to watch a cricket game on the telly with your dad sitting besides you . It would be so normal to find your sister eating the last bar of chocolate in the fridge and attack her with a "drop that bar and put your hands in the air you vahshee bhooki !!! wo main khaaunga !!!".
But all this seems as precious as RBI locker ka password once you move away from home. Beta door yahan lungiyon aur sambar ke desh mein jab office se wapas ek 'kabristaan sa sunsaan' kamre mein aaoge , when no one will be around to care if you are seven minutes away from dying a maut due to starvation , when you have to watch every cricket game alone and when Dhoni hits a six , even do the little bhangra alone , then you realise what a family means .So while you are with your family , relish every moment , walk into the kitchen and try to pick up a hot aloo ka pakoda while your mommy scolds "Uff ! Thanda tho hone de ! Yeh ladka bhee na bass !" . Watch every match with your dad and argue if sachin should have left that ball outside off stump alone . Fight with your sister over every chocolate she eats . Because kya pata , kal ho na ho .( Uee ma , karan johar mujhe sue karne aa raha hain , bachao ).
But some good things have also popped out of this tanhayi tanhayi ki mp3 which has been playing in my life over the last nine months . Umm..like I have read more books than I ever had . The most intelligent piece of literature I had read before coming to Kerala was "Super Commando Dhruv aur Pratishod ki Jwala" . ( It was the one where "Grandmaster Robo" kills Dhruv's mom and dad when they strayed in Robo's garden playing chupan chupai , which in turn , forced Dhruv to turn into a "Super Commando" from a nanha munna boy who used to watch Pogo all day ).But now I have read books which involve more than parental murders and revengeful kids . Also , I have learnt to be comfortable with myself . I can spend 120 years in a dark dungeon locked up all alone now , although the company of Sushmita Sen would not be a problem . And I have learnt to eat stuff which is called "Mutter Paneer" but looks more like Fried Ostrich balls ( Eyeballs , you insensitive animal hater ) floating in the blood of Jackie Shroff . ( You dont believe me ? Theek hai , iss mutter paneer ki bhi foto chipkaaunga agle blog mein ).
Anyway , chalo mere gol matol desh wasiyon , main ab apna pallu tuck in karke wapas "Crazy Kiya Re" ki dance moves practice karta hoon . Yeh blog tho maine apne personal "Nach Baliye" ke commerical break mein hee likh diya . So all righttttt..3..2..1....Crazy kiya re aha aha..:p