Saturday, June 22, 2024

Love looks like an old friend; who's always stopped shared public transport to bring me ice cream. He doesn't eat sugar anymore so the Sundae was all mine. 

Ten years ago, there was peanut butter caramel ice cream between work. This time it was a local specialty, "Ice Apple Sundae, just try and tell me"

It's about surrendering yourself into the hands of someone who knows the city and knows you. That's the spot where magic happens. "If I can't take you around the city I've known all my life, what else am I good for?" I did the same, I would have done it for anyone, but he always surrendered, always gave in and trusted me. That's why we made a great team. 

Team work makes the dream work. 

There's nothing an elder child (daughter) likes more than someone pre-empting their wants and turning them into an expression of care and providing for them. "I'm hungry, can you pick chips on the way? Or Vada Pav?"

Thirty minutes later, I met my pal. He was the closest thing I had to sanity (questionable) in Master's during the film school and just seeing his face made me feel like I'm home, in my safe space. When you travel with someone to Bulandshehar in a car, or go for recce together to work on a film you don't want to work on, you are bonded for life. We bonded about 12 years ago; I hadn't seen him in 6 years. Last I spoke to him at length, I told him about the man who broke my heart, a deviation from our regular conversations. But he remembered everything; including how I like my snacks.

"I'll get you Samosa and Vada Pav"

What the fuck is wrong with him? I don't fucking want a Samosa in Mumbai. "Leave it to me, please."

Surrender, I did. 

The Samosa Pav was bomb dot com. Crisp, tart, sweet-spicy, it was an explosion of flavour and textures. "You like it? I told you, trust me, I won't get you anything you don't like. I got this from my school canteen, there's a shortcut to get it outside the school and they won't give it to anyone and you wouldn't get this in Delhi"

That's the thing buddy, you are in the minority. I'd kill to have one person like you in my city, who knows me better than I know myself and gets me without me having to explain myself. 

We chatted like hungry souls, but there was no food. Just anecdotes, memories replayed, new stories hurriedly recited, "How do I get around with a girl from Faridabad?"; "I need to get the fuck out of this job."; "It's Kareena to you and Bebo to me"; "Last time I came to Mumbai, you took me to the Asiatic Society and told me about the songs shot there."

How is it that your old friends know you better than anyone else in the world? My food, habits, fixtures, everything was unquestionably palatable. I was unapologetically myself- unbearable, impulsive, chaotic and loud and he complimented my ways- validated my unbearable lifestyle, and added to the impulsiveness with bad ideas ("Let the expert among us figure where to find a spot to smoke"), he was the calm to my chaos. Made me feel cared for (No, you need to eat dinner, just get something; Let's go to Town for breakfast, it'll be worth it) when I had abandoned myself (I was on ibuprofen, coffee and two Vada Pav). 

When you meet people from back when you hadn't undergone severe traumatic events one after the other, your old self comes to life for a hot minute. Bombay, between work, felt exactly like that. I was on fumes and caffeine but this man and his love for me kept me alive. When I look back, we befriended each other over a work project and little did I know I'd have found myself a person who'd be a walking antidote to my severe depressive state in 2024. "My mum can't make you Sabudana Vada on such a short notice but she's sending yous some Puran Poli you can take home."

I am so glad the butterfly effect of not having to go to the UK meant I met my old friend during this work trip. I realised that I must have done something right in my life to meet a friend who went above and beyond for me years after I dropped nail paint on his bed during our initial work meeting. 

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