I found this old note a few weeks ago. It's about nine or ten years old. A note that we were all made to write about our classmates on a training session at Khandala (or was it Lonavala? back in the days of XIC.
I don't know where most of them really are. Not that they wanted to be my friends - not many people do. Plus I had issues. Plus I was paranoid - trusting, but paranoid. It sort of happens when all you are doing in your early 20s is battling with rumours that people spread only because they have nothing else to do. Or best friends tell on you because they perhaps missed a date. Or maybe let you down/stab you in the back/lie about you simply because that day, and just that day, they didn't find anything more interesting to kill time with. Or maybe they just thought you didn't deserve anything more.
Anyway, a couple of them remembered. A couple of them still do. They make it a point to perhaps drop a line or even make that call, take time out to meet me. Whenever they are in town.
But that life is gone. It's so far away in the past that I can't even look it in the eye anymore. I still go back to Bombay. Hang out with a few remaining friends - the ones who didn't care how I really looked, what I wore or whether I said intellectual words at meetings to prove that I was ready to be part of their circle. These guys are there, no matter what - sort of omnipresent, psychologically speaking.
So for me, Mondegar never changed, and neither did Leo's. Or Tea Centre. Now, I can actually afford more than a few beers. Just that I don't drink beer.
Every time I go back to Bombay, even for a few days, I wish to relive a few of those moments. Walking around alone - hunting, scouting for things that I had perhaps only imagined. Nothing existed. The romance of that city continues to breathe into my lungs thoughts that won't survive a nano-second outside my brain and yet I can't seem to want anything more.