One of my closest buddies and partner from IITK, Ajit got married yesterday. Apart from being excited about it for the obvious reasons, I was also looking forward to it coz I had a chance to meet with few people whom I haven't met for quite a long time. Some snippets –

  • Met Atul after a gap of 5 years. Spent the night talking about his business. With 550 students Momentum is the No.2 institute in Jabalpur in just 3 years of existence. We talked about the growth and the issues he is facing – personally as well as professionaly. (Btw, if you know someone who is good at teaching Chemistry for IIT-JEE and is looking for work then let me know. From what I gather, Momentum has a vacancy and pays quite handsomely)
  • Met Abhijeet Bhandari. He has joined Techspan, the company I was in a few years back. We talked about his career plans about the work at Techspan, and the changes between the time I left and now.
  • Met Niraj Nandan – he shared some of his 'wants' in life. My advice, give some time to yourself and figure out what makes you happy. You'll do well in that. Also know that there are more than one things that will make you happy.
  • Met Mayur. An easy-go-happy person. I hardly had five minutes to get him talking about his plans. He likes the concept of Tendulkar's and the way they have named the tables (after famous cricket venues – The Oval, The Eden Gardens and so on). I shared my idea of a "War Theme" with him. I want to see how exciting it will be to eat sitting inside a bunker, night time battle scene, dim lights, with tanks rolling and grenades exploding around you, and enemies crawling behind thick bushes. I am very much for a theme restaurant, I have some ideas in mind ("War" being one of them). And I am willing to discuss it with anyone who is putting up a theme restaurant. When Mayur has his food business up and running, I am surely going to give it a shot. Esp if he has a War Theme in it πŸ™‚

And now some memories from the marriage.

  • It was the first day-time marriage I attended. And even though the barat was out in the sun at 1pm I liked it more than I had eariler thought I would. It was the first time I saw Lalitpur and met all of Ajits family (brothers & sis & jiju). The marriage was warm, the closeness – very visible.
  • I 'met' Romi. Why 'met' (quotes) and not just met? Actually its a bit strange. One year back we had chanced at a mall in Gurgaon, where we had both bought books at Galgotia's, didn't talk anything except the customary 'Hi' and that was it. Really that was it. Back then I had left the mall with a feeling that I will want to talk to her some times in future. Many months later I spotted her on Orkut, dropped in a line and things took off nicely. Now about fifteen months later from our technically first meeting, we met at Ajit's Marriage. The first words she said, 'Hi. We met again,.. finally!' Yes, we did. And I liked the way she put it – with all smiles. Picture perfect, kodak moment.
  • Atul tells me – 'Ajit means one who cannot be won. Vijeta means someone who won.' Ajit – jisko jeeta nahi ja sakta hain. Vijeta – jiseny usey bhi jeet liya. I liked the idea. Later I learned it was obvious for many people there. How come it didn't strike me? Dumb me.
  • Saw a cute little girl. Wanted to talk to her. So I just make a wild guess, 'Bete, tumhaarey chachu ki shaadi hain?' She says in a defiant tone typical of a small child, 'Nai. Chachi ki shaadi hain'. DING!
  • 'Okay, I'm wrong. She is from the ladki waala side', I thought. And carried on with the gang. But something was amiss. Chaachu is a blood relation. Chaachi is by nature a matrimonial relation. Then how can anyone's chaachi get married? A chaachi is only when you are already married. Half an hour later, when 'saat fere' was over, it struck me, if Ajit is her Chachu, then Vijeta is her Chachi.
  • Ajit and Vijeta on stage after jaymaal. Photographer to Vijeta – 'Thoda smile kijiye please'. She smiles a bit, still maintaining that poised demeanour of a 'dulhan'. Someone says something, and she slips into a wide smile, then a hearty laugh, then hides her face in her hands, and then back to normal smiling again. I liked the drama.
  • We on the stage with Ajit & Vijeta. Atul hands over his handycam to the guy who is doing the video recordings for the marriage, and asks him to take a 20-sec shot for us, before he takes the 'official' version. A minute later we all descend after wishing the couple, and see the recording on Atul's cam. Its a simple recording, starts with all eight of us on the dais. Zoom in. Atul, Mayur and myself fall out of frame. Zoom more, Abhijeet and Neeraj are out. Keep zooming, and move the focus next to Vijeta. Ajit & Vijeta also knocked out of frame! But the photographer doesn't seem to be worrying about that. He focusses on the prettiest face in the party – Romi! Haha, 'Nice photographer, perfect focus', we chuckle. 'O that means, I haven't lost my charms', she entertains. Too good!
  • After the 'saat feres' Ajit puts sindoor on Vijeta. The moment he applies the first bit, tears well in her eyes. Ajit takes some more sindoor and applies the second bit. Tears roll down her face. Why? I wondered. I still don't know, but I was moved by the moment.

The Delhi gang left at 9pm. One day in life..  one final goodbye, and some memories for a lifetime.

Few minutes later my train arrives. As I lie down on my berth, and stretch myself out, Romi's introduction appears in my mind. 'I am I, and there is no other I'.

So true. Closed my eyes, and tuned into Echoes.

'Strangers passing in the street
By chance two separate glances meet
And I am you and what I see is me…'