Moments of Truth

That every day we face. And being honest about it!

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TeeBee for many, Manthru for some, Sunny for a few, Myna for selected, Suresh for record. Hailing from Thrissur of Kerala and now lives (read survives) in Monroe Twp, NJ with wife and daughter.

Friday, December 30, 2005

One Step Ahead, Always!!!

Island (Bangalore - Kanyakumari) express entered the Bangalore central station at around 4:30am in the morning. It was a cool morning in the early December in 1998. I was travelling from home to join Wipro Infotech, a job I secured through campus interviews in IIT Madras. Without taking my luggage out, I got down and looked around for Prince bhai. He was supposed to receive me and I will be staying with him and Varghese Panikker for some time in HAL 3rd Stage. I acted easy as if I am not new to the place just to fool the porters and thieves. I had heard stories and was not very happy with it. Every single one from the train had left the station. I searched him along the full stretch of the platform. No signs at all. It was still dark outside and the cold was getting inside. Was there a miscommunication? I traced phone calls in mind and was pretty sure that it was this day that I am supposed to be in B'lore. There can't be a mistake. Something would have happened to him on the way? He had to leave town for some emergency which he could not communicate? What to do? Mobiles were not popular. There were no phone numbers to call early in the morning. The station and the place looked like a totally new world. No sense of direction. I thought about the emails exchanged and it suddenly struck me that I have a way out. I went inside the train again and took out a folded paper from the side zipper of a carry bag. It was the printout of an email that read almost similar to what is given below. As can be seen, it was from a true friend who goes that extra step ahead always when it matters.

"Dear Manthru: Welcome to Bangalore. Although I know that you will be staying with Prince and that you do not want to disturb me to receive you, even after I promised the same, I think that you should keep the following information handy in case of an emergency. I am staying in an apartment in Tippasandra, the address of which is given below. It will be x kilometers from the main railway station and y kilometers if you are getting down in Cantonment station. The rickshaw charges will be roughly this much although they might ask you for double or even triple. Make sure that you bargain the price before getting in. Be alert and act as if you know the place. There are these and these landmarks, depending on your travel, on the way and when you reach Tippasandra main junction, you will have to take a left. In just 100-200 meters you will see a water tap, you may not get water of course, and see an apartment with a balcony and stairs on your left. The entrance to the apartment is ..... and the door will look like ........" The message went on for two pages with detailed descriptions of how to reach his apartment. It was a message from a friend who could foresee issues that I might face and willing to spend some time so that I would be in a better position. Name of that friend is Rajeev Gopalakrishnan (Rajeev G. for short). The mail saved me on that day and I did not have any problems in reaching him on that morning. Surprisingly he was expecting me. We had breakfast and contacted Prince bhai who had returned from the railway station. He was late because there were no buses to reach the station that early.

I was supposed to join the next day. It was my first job. First time in Bangalore. I wanted to go from Tippasandra to Mission road where my office was. Rajeev stepped in as he knew the place very well and so decided to give me a live demonstration of how to reach the place. He was also working in the same company but in a different department. We went in a bus and on the way I learned the name of stops, exact amount for the trip, a bit of Kannada that the bus conductors will use to request passengers to move inside (it sounded Ulagada Pani and in Malayalam it might pass for Move You PIG!).I did not ask but he kept on teaching me as if I am going for an exam the next day. He wanted me to know everything before I move on alone in the mad rush of Bangalore city. Finally we got down in a stop and pointing to a big building he told me: "See! That is the famous Mallya hospital. I wanted you to see it. Mallya, you know? Kalyani (Or King Fisher?) Beer? Okay! You got it. Now this is not the stop you will be getting down tomorrow when you go to office. Actually you have to get down in the previous stop. We got down here because I want you to see another route to your office in case you miss that actual busstop. Don't worry. When we come back, we will use the other route." How many friends do you have who will care you this way? Rajeev is special and he has a special way to treat his friends.

In IIT itself, we had found out that our wavelengths were same. We were there to represent our respective hostels, cross borders to join other hostel members on their tour trips, to arrange the screening of malayalam movies, to go for movies outside IIT, to explore Parris (a place in walking distance from Madras main railway station) for bargains, to walk along streets commenting on the huge cutouts of Tamil movie heroes (not many heroines) and probably the same tastes on commenting the women occasionally. We married during the same time period (almost) and both of us have a cute daughter each to speak of. We explored Poondy bazaar of T.Nagar, subway system on the entire stretch of Guindy to Madras station, Vadapalani and Anna Nagar. We sat together with the entire gang of Tapti at the open air theatre on every possible occasion, generally on all saturdays, and created every opportunity to make others laugh. So it was almost natural that both of us decided to leave existing room mates to find out another apartment for ourselves. Rajeev has a habit of reading the advertisements and with a budget and correct requirements, thanks to him again, we searched the breadth and depth of Bangalore. We were promised a good two bedroom apartment in Domlur by one gentle man and later he said sorry to leave us with a cramped apartment in Vivek Nagar. We had to live there till we got our advance payment back. I got one more person, again working with Wipro, to share the apartment. He was my BTech classmate and his name was Ansar. Rumour is that Ansar and myself had woken up early to take bath and get ready even before Rajeev to go and see his would-be wife for the very first time.

There is a saying: "You can't choose your parents, but you can choose your friends". Everybody has friends. But there are few who would go that extra step ahead to care for you. To take the effort and pain to spend some time willingly. And more importantly, not expecting anything in return. Rajeev is one of them. I am glad that I am one of the many who can claim him as a true friend. An hour and plus long conversation recently with an old school mate of Rajeev brought out some interesting characteristics of the training in Sainik school in Kazhakkoottam and I now believe that there are some true qualities that is inherited from that curriculam.

4 Comments:

Blogger Pradeep said...

Hi, I stumbled upon this old posting of yours when I gave a search for Sainik School on Blog search. I am from Bangalore, and I am also from Sainik School, Kazhakootam. Thanks a lot for those nice words about my school.

8:33 AM  
Blogger Myna said...

Pradeep,

Your blog did not make me to change my opinions. Keep the good work.

By the way, you might know my friend Rajeev from Mavelikkara and is in B'lore now.

1:51 PM  
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12:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Want to tell you..
Eeer

Later

6:47 AM  

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