Standard Deviation

After my split a month ago, it was a little difficult letting myself out of the city.  As if the fatigue of simply getting someplace got to me.

So apart from the self-mandated Diwali trip to Baroda, I've been avoiding all travel.  Even a biking trip. A lot of people have been complaining.  But since the complaints are seldom in words, I chose to ignore them all.

Something turned around last Friday. Anubhav called unprompted, and we fixed up for me to travel to Pune. Pune, of all the places!  I've always associated Pune with the Shivneri Volvo, the drive through the Pashan DRDO road, E-Square, Not Just Jazz by the Bay, Pizza Marzano, Tareef & Punjabi Tadka, MG Road, Camp, Aundh & Parihar chowk.  Before that, with Kothrud, and Chandni Chowk.

Pune's returned* to me often.  More than once.  It's been my resurrection destination.  Like a pilgrimage that I take to relieve myself of yearning, longing, nostalgia, boredom, pain, loneliness...

It made me nervous all the three times that I've had to make this return.

The first time around was right after high school, when I was seeing my first crush after two years.  It was nerve racking because I didn't know how he would react, how he would behave, how awkward or comfortable it would be.  Always one to obsess about having perfect moments, I was in for a huge disappointment.  D. and I had both moved on.  He didn't quite care, and I thought he walked like a transvestite.  I don't know which was worse.

Meeting Ad. in Pune was insignificant, though it was with him that I discovered the newer parts of the university town.  With him, I experienced Pune in the winters, for the first time. Weather in the city seems to be a constant reason for me to go back and soak some of it in.  You can smell burnt wood in the evening, a little smoky.  And the air is dry, yet a mist seems to kiss your earlobes as if to remind you of what clean air feels to the senses.  Of course, when I was riding pillion with Anubhav back to his shack, I kept wheeeeeing (like the Bombay gaonthi that I have become) about how clean and lovely Pune is and how I was already in love with the decision to spend the weekend with an old pal over alcohol and music we both loved (thanks for Aaj jaane ki zidd na karo, Bunnz).

My most extensive touch-n-feel of the Marathi culture hub though, was with Ni.  Of course, even with him being there, there was never initiative to venture out to watch a play or two every month or music concerts or attend a weekend workshop together.  It was always pizzas and films and dinners and other regular riggin' things IT techies do to kill time over the weekend.

But last weekend was different in such myriad ways.  I met Meenakshi. I mean, I've met her before alright, but I spent time with her.  Saw the vulnerability of a woman dying to get out, but stuck at home with of parents who aren't exactly conservative, but not quite willing to let go.  Get out Meera, get out'a that place, I maintain.

It was also the first time ever that I've actually slept with a guy.  Slept.  Like snoozed off listening to his snoring and sleep-chattering (yes, Bunnz, you talk in your sleep- Meera will vouch for it). What's poignant about the fact is that he made sure I was absolutely comfortable.  The razaii,  the food, the alcohol, even letting me mop the floor when I broke the glass and allowing me to prepare dalia next morning for breakfast (at lunch time :P).  The champi was my tiny thank you note, Bunnz.

Parallel to my physically being in Pune, I was also living the nostalgia of a boy who spent his most precious moments in this city.  My first drink went out to him.  In my thought, in my sip.

To be in the warmth of a home with pals can be healing.  It's like phoenix tears or vampire blood.  Mytically healing, yet unexplainable.

I'm ready to start traveling again, come January+.  Make the most of my quota of PLs and explore places on my list.  Being in Bombay only helps - you can get anywhere within a reasonable time frame, whether by train or a flight.

I'm finally solo. On a trip of my own.  Single and Unavailable, as my Tantra tee announces!

*It is remarkable how I'm so full of myself to talk of places returning to me, and not me returning to them. But it is the idea that visits me, that makes them return in thought, and therefore, beckon me to revisit. Not to revisit a past memory or an old haunt, but to explore it in its all new avatar.

+Pondicherry is first on list in February.  I'm afraid it will have to be solo. No tag-alongs this time. Heck, they might all end up solo trips to pile on friends to take me around and show me their place of thrive.

Kolkata | Chorwad | Kutch | Pushkar | Gokarna | Cypress | Vizag | Greece | Sicily | Berlin


ujjwal said...

Piu!! well written!i love it!Now since i have publicly praised u,i hope kolkata will rise up in da order!

PrianCa said...

Ujj! this is too meagre a bribe!

Veeresh_Milind276 said...

Very well written. Looking forward to read your autobiographical book some day.

PrianCa said...

Veeresh!! tumhaare muuh mein ghee shakkar!

neel said...

new template and all.... moving with times we are!! :)