As I removed the last part of cake strategically plastered by DJ in my inner ear during my birthday celebration and soaked in a good hot shower my mind went back to the scene on day 1 of ISB, and day 1 of Sec B in particular.
Seemed a lot like first day at pre-school! Lots of new faces from different parts of the planet, and a bunch of super-smart brains to boot. I started out by facing this mythical beast called the core group (we’re still doing fine–touch wood) and this most mysterious aggregation of specimens under one roof – the quad.
Quickly coming to grips with the idiosyncrasies of both, it was time to know the folks of Sec B. I have to thank the Insti for giving me ample opportunity to do that. Sundry games of little consequence but a lot of pride value, singing, debating, you name it Sec B did it all. And the best bonding of all – the time honored ritual of dunking the birthday boy/girl and then slamming luscious cake all over their face (and pate – if you include my fate today).
And why only Sec B? All across the batch, I came across people I found interesting, likable or preferably both. There’s something mysterious about this process of finding and making friends. Complete strangers then, but the first people you want to be sitting down with for coffee now. The person you want to be sharing the latest salacious gossip or scandal. Your crib partner. Your counselor. Your fellow Maggi cook. Your co-dunkee in the pool…
6 months back, U would have passed me by in Mumbai without a glance. Today, she shyly mumbled a “Happy Birthday” in my cake-filled ear. R would have looked up from her comp in her software company, seen me stride into her office and got back to work without missing a beat. Today, she giggled and took a picture of me in all of my cake-splattered glory. V would have brushed past me at the airport, and caught the return flight to his consulting office. Yet, he spent time with me in the pool tonight, shivering to the bone. DJ would have given me a horribly handwritten prescription for my cold. Today he licked the chocolate cake from his fingers and wiped them on my shirt (yuck!)
F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Thanks for being there guys.