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College days - light with infectious mannerisms

There is nothing innately wrong when one appears to be 'grave' looking but one is not. It all depends on the company you keep. I feel deeply indebted to two of my friends at college - Shyamala and Mandira. The former, a born joker, blessed with big, bulging, roving eyes. Of course, that never let her be wayward. She was a good student, less noisy, never giggled but left us giggling and somersaulting (mentally) with laughter. How can you somersault in a crowded local train in Mumbai - impossible!

Mimick specialist

Shyamala was a keen observer in class and in trains - as these two were venues for us to be together. She mimicked all our professors and delightfully walked out of the class as she was a perpetual disturbance in the class. In the train it was not possible to shut her out of the compartment as trains are too crowded and always moving. Once she mimicked a perpetual 'sneezer' for which she had to pay a heavy price. The 'sneezer' happened to be a ticket inspector who politely asked her to get off at the next station asked her to pay a fine for imitating a Government servant to attract (distract) a crowd.

Shyamala, true to her name, was dark but her cheerful disposition compensated this drawback (if I may say so). I called her 'Black' beauty but she took it in her stride. She once slapped a neighbour's son (a brat) who kept singing a song in an irritating tune 'Gore rang pe na itna....' whenever she stepped out from home. Once her back was turned he would replace the 'Gore' with 'Kaale'. One day she slipped off her sandals and slapped the fellow. Wah! Shyamala you have guts!

Mandira, another dear college pal who was short for her age but went to the most expensive shoe shops to buy stilettos matching her attire. Quite a hobby. Even then she had to tilt her head three inches to speak to me.
Mandira at times smiled at jokes for... so long..... that it got imprinted on her face for at least two minutes. We had to shake her and tell her, 'Mandira, we are sane'. All in an instant her jaws would drop like a boulder off her shoulders. It means, making her smile was a Herculean task.

Yesterday talk....always laidback

Another close friend with whom I still keep in touch,Nirmala was adept at narrating what happened 'yesterday'....the previous day.Even before greeting she'd begin....."Yesterday you know...." Our teaching faculties differed but our lives are like parallel lines on the same track but with different goals.If and when we (four friends) met at the same place, our WLs (wave lengths) went in different directions, then it would be a laugh riot.How can I deny that gratitude to Nirmala who managed to squeeze a little space to include my name in the 'acknowledgement' of her latest book 'Singing Earth'. Not that I started singing but it feels great when somebody thinks of you for long in a small way.
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