Lucky to have friends- Bachapan ke saath

I write this blog from my train travelling to Purulia , my hometown. I am taking a train journey after almost 18 months last time was also when I had gone to Purulia. I was well in time at the station keeping the security going on these days. Nothings changed it seems at the station. Its still dirty and you don’t feel safe and secure somehow. So many people , so many. It looks like the whole of Delhi is travelling. I reach my seat and unfortunately this is an old coach so there is no power point. Thankfully the train is not full and I get myself changed to an adjoining coach so that I can plug in my laptop and work.I have been feeling sick for some time and the doctor wanted to start my physiotherapy immediately but I had this urge to go to Purulia over the weekend. Somehow I didn’t want to cancel that. Why?

The major reason for this journey is to meet my friend Rajesh Saraogi , my first friend & my only childhood friend. I heard on the radio today morning that 3rd is Friendship day so I though let me write about my friends. I met Rajesh when I was in classXth. He is a year older than me and was in Class XI. He was friendly with a guy called Akhilesh in our class and used to come to school to meet him. There is a place called ‘Dharamshalla More’ in Purulia and all the school friends used to meet there in the evening for some fun time. Rajesh was from a humble family and used to help his father and brother in there small retail shop they had. I don’t know what attracted us to each other but we started interacting more. I used to accompany him in all the stores he used to go to sell his products after school. We used to share the same cycle and he would paddle me along. His brothers shop used to sell matches and he used to go to all his customers to take orders and also collect money. I still recollect one incidence when we had gone to one cigarette vendor whom he used to sell the matches complaining that the matches were damp and would not light up. Rajesh dipped one whole box into a bucket of water lying in his shop and lighted up the wet matchstick. It was an amazing and courageous thing to do as if it failed the vendor would return his material back. I liked his confidence. I still recollect the hot summer season when at 40 degrees plus temperature we used to fly kites through out our summer holidays. It was the time also when I fell in love and he used to be privy to all what was happening. I moved to Nagpur for my higher studies and he to Calcutta. Unfortunately he had a bad jaundice which forced him to abandon his final CA exams and return home. I also completed my studies at Nagpur and came back. In between we went for a holiday to Puri and had a great time. Rajesh accompanied me to Delhi when I came to meet Minoo for the first time. I still recollect our lunch at The Ming House at Taj Palace in Delhi. Both of us had gone to a five star hotel for the first time and how he some how drank the Chinese tea. I ruined his honeymoon . On his way to Manali for his honeymoon he stayed with me for a day at Faridabad. I was all alone at that time at Faridabad. I was running fever at that time. He called me up from Manali to find out about my health and when he came to know I was in more bad condition he & Rekha drove back to Faridabad to take care of me and they spent there next 5 days of honeymoon taking care of me. At Purulia we both got involved with Rotaract. Rajesh bought so much of humor and fun into the club meetings. Both of us one day wrote and composed a song “Be a friend & make your Mark” which we sang in one of the club programs in front of 300 odd guests. Rajesh has always been a great learner. As I had lived in a Nagpur, attended professional college and was born in a well to do family I was more cosmopolitan and he used all opportunities he got to learn English from me. My career took me to Faridabad and our interaction got limited to telephone calls or emails. We try to meet up at least once a year and mostly at Purulia though he has come to Faridabad 4- 5 times. I enjoy every moment when I am with him. I am sure I am going to have a blast next two days with him.

August 2, 2008

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