Talked with Abhi on phone yesterday and felt very nostalgic. We were talking about our ‘historic’ project meetings at L&T where we held ‘landmark’ discussions about ‘important’ stuff.
Day: A typically dull Saturday in 2005
I wake up to realize that I have a project meeting with 3 other groupmates and Mr. Venky, GM at L&T at the L&T campus at 9:30 am and the only way to reach there in time would be to airlift myself. Since, 3.5 years in engineering in general and mechanical engineering in particular, had taught me the principles of a concept, more robust and powerful than JIT, a concept which is still helping me and millions of other Mumbai University students and pass-outs, a concept called S.H.I.T (SomeHow In Time).
I catch the 9:45 baara dabba fast local to Thane and then change to a slow local to Kanjurmarg and reach the station at 10:20 a good 50 minutes late already and still we have a bus to catch. As I get down from the train, my eyes frantically search for Santo in that crowded station and at the same time, my brain is working at double the speed to come up with a new believable excuse for coming late on the 89623489623120th time in my life.
Ah! Found my saviour! He has been my trusted lieutenant throughout my college life from 11th Standard to BE, 6 long years; he has served me, in times difficult and tough, in moments happy and sad, in situations challenging and simple. He has been my Brahmasthra, my armour, my trump card, my Michael Bevan. He is
‘There was some technical fault in the train. It stopped near Kalwa for 25 minutes. So, I am late. Sorry!’
Santo gave me a knowing grin. I think he secretly counted how many times I used that excuse. But then, little do I know that he got down from the same train just two compartments away from mine.
Moving on, we pass through Huma theatre, which is currently a swanky multiplex, but back in 2005 it was a different the‘A’tre. We catch a pretty crowded bus and somehow cling on to the rod as it moves and turns swiftly over the Powai Hill.
‘L& T, uthro’, yells the conductor.
We get down and calmly walk towards Gate no. 6. Calmly because there is no difference between being 85 minutes late and 90 minutes late, and we might as well conserve our energy to handle the barrage of questions we will face from Amit, who would have reached there at 9:15 in spite of travelling double the distance travelled by us.
‘Hi Amit! Hi Abhi’
‘Yeh aane ka time hai kya? Maine Times of India teen baar padhliya’
‘OK OK! Ab time nahi hai. Chal ab phone karte hain.’ (Master of Brushing things under the carpet)
After futile attempts to remember the extension number and finally Amit finding it written at the back of a BEST bus ticket folded to the size of a finger tip, one of us makes a call.
‘Venky ne andar bulaya chalo.’
As we walk towards the building, Santo is explaining how Sehwag dropped a catch yesterday and laughing about it. Amit is asking Abhijit about whether he had sent the email to Dutta about the design sheet we were supposed to submit. I am thinking about my missed breakfast.
(to be continued)