How I grew up singing country songs and studying stars…

I don’t know if its a common trend in India or its just my family, but my ma and I would spend the summers in “her” home. By this I mean her brother’s home in Jabalpur. I am not going to go on and on about how we had an awesome time there, a dozen cousins, playing in the big open garden, swimming in the Narmada, playing pranks on the elders, roaming around everywhere aimlessly. The one thing I recall all the time is how my mama brought my brother and me up. He was the big guy in our life. The one who taught us to fight the mighty Narmada, swim across its currents, worship it and feed little fishes. The man who taught us everything there is to know about each Indian bird, making sure we remembered the Latin name with the common name. We watched Superman and Star Wars every year!!! We knew all the dialogues by heart and owned light sabers and tried to fly wearing red scarfs. At night, we would watch stars. You can see a lot of those because Jabalpur was a really small town at that time. On a clear night, he would open up his book and teach us all the constillations of the North summer Sky. But the best part was when mama would turn on his music player, bring out those self-recorded cassettes and play his favorite American country songs. Oh those Kenny Rogers to Big Bad John And I’m just a country boy. Every evening, after dinner, the three of us would surround his player and sing out loud those songs. Till today I remember most of those songs and every time one of them plays in a music system somewhere, I smile.

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A story I never thought I would tell…

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Let me write this story like it never happened. There is no proof that it did, except it lies buried in the wild hearts of three friends. There is a disc with a few photos & videos, but that disc has long been lost. Anyways, back to the story. I never believed it was one to be passed on, in case it got jinxed.
You know how in movies they have characters, who have met only once or twice, to be separated for decades. Later, they search all over, to finally get united and alls well in the end. This story is very much of that sort, only we don’t know how it ends. So, let’s recall the day she decided to have an adventurous Sunday, as adventurous as it can get in a quiet yet interesting city of Kolhapur.
She biked to the shopping district and walked right into the most popular bookstore of KOP. I could go on and on about how she met the owner, discussed their common love for reading, he took her to coffee, gifted her a tulsi plant, introduced her to his human love, the third guy in this tale, and on and on.
But the important part of the tale was, in an attempt to say goodbye on her last day in town, those two took her out of town to a nearby hill station, a fort, Panhala. They sang songs along the way sitting on his car’s windows, danced for her on the fort walls, pretended to fly away in those strong winds, told her not to leave, did all crazy stuff from movies, taught her some beautiful lessons in love and life. They formed a bond that is supposed to last this lifetime and maybe the next.
The next day she left. They never met again, except for their irregular chats in the virtual World. But somehow that never mattered. They will always remain close to each other in a time and space that is incomprehensible. Just looking at sunsets can transport her back to that lovely evening, where she learnt that love has no boundaries, needs no explanations or character test and no need to spend more than an evening with complete strangers to emerge as best friends……. For Life.
P.S. Vishi and Niki, we shall meet…… Soon. Love always, Ishi.

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