Over the weekend I met up with a friend with who I go back a long way. In fact, when I returned from Delhi, she was the only one who came to meet me at Vashi. My other friends would be willing to meet me half-way to some place to talk or whatever, but she made the two-hour trip to visit me at home.
Living in this city for this long, I understand that convenience generally tempers enthusiasm. So it was definitely moving that she, who probably doesn’t even consider going to a place that can’t be reached by auto, would hop into a bus and cross the great divide (also known as the Vashi toll bridge). I remember we had a simple lunch and she just asked me stuff straight-out, without any preamble. In fact, before she had reached my place, I was wondering how awkward it would be to answer her questions (and Lord knows, she has plenty of those…). I felt myself getting agitated just thinking about how I’d have to fence off unnecessary (to my mind) comments.
But she stepped in, looked at me, and simply asked, “What’s going on?” And it felt like the most natural thing in the world.
Saturday, I met her. I took along the belt I’d bought for her from Bangkok. She opened the door and hurried inside to get juice and also informed me that she’d make tea for me later, so I shouldn’t bother to ask for it now. (I don’t think we’ve said ‘hi’ to each other in a long, long time.) Later we went to Lokhandwala and she happened to spot a shop that had a great collection of chic, affordable clothes…and that’s a combination one doesn’t see too often nowadays. Yep – no one knows Lokhandwala more or better than she does.
I still don’t understand the scant divisions of Oshiwara and Lokhandwala and Versova and Yari Road and seven bungalows and four bungalows and (oh geez!) four and a half bungalows…but every time every time I see Fame Adlabs all big and purple and crowded, every time I spot Fun Republic and giggle over all the crappy films we’ve seen, every time I walk down Lokhandwala market and see slinky tops with bling and feathers, every time I notice people posturing with laptops at the Versova Barista…I am reminded of how she changed these streets with no name to familiar places.
Over time, we’ve had sharp, ugly fights. She finds me very temperamental and I find her too inquisitive. I think we’ve both push each other’s buttons quite a bit. And still, nothing felt easier than curling up on the bed, sipping juice and telling her that I definitely wanted tea by 4.
I was probably meeting her after ages. And I know it’s a cliché – that feeling of picking up where you left off…but it never surprises me. As if this gap of time between two people can be erased so completely with a simple text: “If you’re free, come over.”
As demanded, there was tea at 4. As expected, there were drives around those familiar streets with no name.