I’m known for such goof-ups – yeah, all of you who remember and want to recount can, leave the really embarrassing ones out of the public domain please (what would that leave us with though). And don’t hold your head like this, Mr Slightly Bald.
Today is Jash’s birthday. I have never met him. He will be seven or eight today. He does not know me. But before he was born I saw him vividly in my dream and told his father that it would be a boy. I came to Jash through Sunil and to Sunil through Papa. Bangalore, new job, new home, new friends, I was emailing Papa about all that every day. One day I got a mail from one Sunil Tripathi gently telling me that some of my mails to my ‘Mummy and Papa’ were going to him instead. Papa was tripathisn@...and he was sntripathi@... Mortified, I apologized. Sunil discerned my embarrassment and wrote back that it was perfectly okay. He may have read me and I saw the gentleman in him. So we continued writing – to each other. It’s almost ten years now. We have never met. But he’s been with me through a lot – my new jobs, friends, travels, writings and very importantly Papa’s illness and his going away. During these years he married, had a son. In 10 years we’ve never forgotten to call each other on birthdays and other days. Both of us agree that Papa meant us to stay in touch. And we will.
But the hilarious ones far outnumber. Topmost – Chotu and I traveling from Delhi to Bhopal by the night train. In those days it was common for the train to stop somewhere in the middle of nowhere like the dacoitful Chambal. The power failed. It was hot and dark. Chotu was on the berth above me. Now he was sitting across the berth from me and we started to talk about how hot it was and how sleep was impossible. Then casually looking up, in the darkness I saw Chotu leaning out from the top berth shocked to find me chatting up a complete stranger!