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My older wonderful friends

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If you were to ask me what an idle classroom would be like. I’d say, it would be filled with a room where minds would match not the age.

I say this out of my own experience with few wonderful older slightly older friends.

The year was 2008. I completed my engineering. And recession stayed around.

And, as most of us know:

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Thankfully, I began writing (or atleast I thought it was) in 3rd year of my engineering, owing to a number of factors, my folks encouraged me to go ahead to pursue what I liked.

While my peers were preparing for US and the work place that they would be joining, I continued writing poetry. And that’s when I stumbled upon a community on Orkut called Ah! Poetry where many minds that were alike, met.

Here, people did not differentiate you on your GRE or GMAT scores or your background but they embraced you for your love for poetry. Different age groups. Different back grounds.

If I had met Sunita ma’am, younger than my mother but who had a daughter almost as old as me, who knew about everything under the sun and her articulate verses that stood as a testimony of her proficiency then

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I met Raj who was slightly older but his childish nature created a ruckus when we met. Our love for words and my pursuit of learning it helped me understand what it meant to be in the company of different people who were not of my age group.  Whenever we spoke, we spoke at length.

 

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Months later, my new classroom where I was pursuing my PG Diploma in Mass Communication turned out to be a canteen of learning where people of age groups 18 to 70 sat under the same room. Sometimes, the teacher was younger but that did not matter. The love for the subjects preceded it all. I met wonderful people who were slightly older than me but experienced in various matters. They offered me fresh perspectives. For the first time, I learnt what it meant to befriend someone for his or her intellect. For the first time I learnt that listening to someone can be such a valuable experience. There I also met Ravi who became an important part of this learning phase of mine. I met many people who altered my life in a positive way. I just swayed to this magic called life.

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At this place called college, abstract nouns like jealousy, ego were gulped down with trips to nearby places and occasional treats.

As time passed by, my parents became my friends and their advice on patience and endurance made sense now. My granny’s advice to do what I love without giving up and my grandfather’s thoughts on secularism and his carefree nature helped me understand that beyond their thick rimmed spectacles and their walking sticks they were retired teenagers and their deep love was a volume of reference for my own romantic alliance later in life. (Love never dies.)

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As I pursued what I liked and loved, I met another great friend Chandrasekhar Singh (Thanks to Ravi). He became one my greatest confidantes and helped me achieve the things I could never dream of. Meeting his family and children helped me feel that relations don’t see any blood group. Sometimes relations where the pulse rate matches ignore the blood group.

1510952_10202867313797526_7666673060739568068_nIn the pursuit of  unknown whispers (dreams), I met Anuradha Goyal. We met at the Literary Fest where I saw her expressing her thoughts, freely. She was one of the few people who evaluated situations in a balanced view. Her easy-going attitude, her maturity yet a child-like quality and a commitment to whatever she did, always amazed me.

I miss her deeply as we used to meet along with Sriram, another good friend for Kabir classes. And, the lessons I learn along with Kabir ke dohe remain undocumented and in my heart.

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To learn more about poetry, one fine evening a friend if mine and I attended Anand Vishwanadha’s book reading session at Lamakaan.I never attended such an event earlier.

An excerpt from my review:

Attended a poetry reading session at Lamakaan, Hyderabad, where the attendees were only few [5 to be precise.] reason could be Tuesday or could be lack of interest. But then the way the poetry was narrated and the entire atmosphere of just a few people yet the genuinety with which the poet continued was worth emulating.

Often heard that even if the hall is empty, perform your best but today I have seen it. On few occasions, I actually turned back to see if the hall was full. The way Vijay Marur, a well known poet read the poem and with the writer , Anand, sitting right beside him was heartwarming.

A engineering and then an Mba graduate, his love for words made him quit everything and take up writing full time. A copywriter now and a nature lover, Anand made me think about my genuinity!

For seldom do you see a 39-year-old owning up his failure, the empty seats and more importantly accepting his flaws.

Much later, Anand and I were to be good friends and shared many evenings filled with honest conversations where he shared his thought honestly, unabhashedly.

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Poetry has helped me meet people who I never thought I could connect to. And one of them being a older yet a teenage-like rebel, wise yet quarrelsome, good yet sometimes evil, Amiya Chatterjee. Can’t believe we have said more goodbyes, we shall never meet again to each other than welcoming each other into our lives.

Look at him standing like a  grumpy man yet his eyes twinkle with a spirit that I wish to own for a life time, a treasure.

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I never knew the purpose of my blog where till I attended a bloggers’ meet in Hyderabad and met benevolent Subhorupji. Visiting his home and his family only reinforced the belief that simplicity is not extinct and joy can be found in simplest of things, people and pursuing simple acts.

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Recently, I also found a friend in my father-in-law who advises me on my publishing and poetry prospects.  Perhaps, it will take time to cement our friendship.

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But in the company, with all my friends slightly older than me, I find a level of comfort and the confidence to share my feelings without the fear of being judged or my views being marred. They have, with open arms, always heard me, nodded a yes/no with poise and given me freedom to think beyond my prescribed curriculum.

In the best interest of the readers, I stop here and I urge you to read this article that inspired me to write this: Open Page, The Hindu.

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