Writing the post about my conversation with Neelakantan, who is currently based in Bangalore, I was hungry for information about my old ‘hometown’. For four and a half years, I lived there when I first came back to India. These were my undergraduate years, the college years that we all remember fondly. Freed from the pressures of the various Board exams we were forever studying for in school, college was where we let our hair down and had the fun that most others do in high school only. Oh well, we’re a nation of late bloomers and I think that my generation is growing up.
I must be getting senti in my old age, overcome with such maudlin thoughts. How cynical we were and blase, at 18 and at 24, thinking we knew all about life, feeling immortality stretch ahead of us infinitely, like parallel lines, never to meet, even over the horizon. Adulthood hits you with a two by four, yaar. Worse than Bode Plots and Nyquist thingies, you know, from Control engineering. The only class I ever had to take tuition for. We used to live in Banashankari III stg, always somewhere in the boondocks, the only places where a bunch of college kids could find a landlord willing to rent to them. Age discrimination exists mightily in India, which is why I have stopped colouring my hair. Hopefully the chunks of white will help me be taken seriously. That too, I’m a girl. Oy vey, as they say back in the US of A.
Among other things, I liked to fondly imagine that I was a biker chick with my own gang of thugs on bikes. Yes yes I had a lurid imagination fuelled with lashings of too much science fiction and Modesty Blaise. What to do, I am like that only. Imagine how embarressing it is to find out, almost two decades later that they were only humouring my pretensions. Meh. I was also a familiar figure with the jugaad to get a) credit at the MG Road petrol bunk, b) have my mechanic let me make STD calls from his house to my boyfriend in Medras, har! c) be allowed to pay for books by hire purchase by the fellow at the bottom of Double Road where it meets Richmond Road is it? the other end from Lalbagh. I prefer Cubbon Park myself. More shady trees to climb.
At one point I was lodging with an Italian lady, whose young sons I would give lifts to college on my moped, or to rehearsal practice for their heavy metal band [don’t roll your eyes, that was Millenium, I was there, when he first started doing that, with a hairbrush, in front of the mirror in the kid’s room. ] Today he’s in wikipedia! And once he opened for Deep Purple, I was there. So I sat backstage for Cats, as the band played Memories and Mephistopheles the Cat, and waited for practice to get over for Starlight Express. How much Andrew Lloyd Webber can you take to play your soul’s music?
It seems to me that perhaps misspent youths carry their own value, feels like our weight in gold or diamonds.