As the tales of all writers, and my conscience pricks me to immediately add, wannabe writers, go, every story has a seed in some real life instances. Some become stories and some, well, in a non-imaginative day; they just become accounts, to be reflected back on, someday, and somewhere. And as any wannabe writer trying to avoid writer’s block will tell you, one is always searching for that real inspiration, not mundane instances in one’s ordinary life.
Yesterday was yet another ordinary day. What you did on weekend, people ask. Well, us, we like to spend all the time at home, attending house-hold chores, lazing around, indulging in pointless talk, sitting with empty plates, long after lunch and dinner, and just talking. And just once in a while, someone drops in, a sudden guest, before you could call your simplistic life boring.
And yesterday, it was a college-mate, not a friend, but, husband’s friend. Should I mention that the husband and I were classmates and are now house-mates.? J The husband mentions him and I travel back in time, yes, nostalgia is almost a hobby now. This friend, A, was unique, one of a kind. Any day that he was absent, was a boring day. He was a trouble maker, yes, but students were always fond of him. He was a back bencher, and a nightmare to many a professor. My husband and I still recall some of the funny things he did back in college and laugh like it was just the minute before. I remember he came to my house once, a day before an exam to ask me to tear out some papers from my text book, so he could Xerox it. He almost bullied me into doing it. I wonder if he ever feared anyone. Anyone at all. He was flamboyant. He would give roses to random girls and yet he was not a flirt. Everyone said he was a good friend with a good heart. I only observed him from a distance, and was always driven by curiousness over his uniqueness.
We were so different. He stood out and he liked it. I tried hard to blend in. If I could, I would have dissolved in to the crowd that was the classroom. Attention made me blush. I liked the sidelines, went to them like steel to magnet.
I was upstairs, getting dinner ready, when my husband rushes in and tells me, he’s here. I walk in expecting him to be same, the same way I remembered him from college. I see him and smile and start talking. And in his shyness, I see a totally different person. It’s like we have swapped characters. No, I could never be him from college. But he has become a minor version of me from college. It doesn’t occur to me till he leaves that he has spoken only twice to me, and only four times in general. We had good conversation with his wife and his kid and Sanjay got along very well.
They leave, and I want to go and continue dinner. But I stand still and think to myself- What had time done to him?
What has time done to me? What has time done to you?