On a lazy Thursday afternoon, Srinivasan was sitting in his easy chair in his beautiful house that overlooked the beautiful Cauvery river. He was reading a book written by the man that inspired him the most: Scientist and President Abdul Kalam. His wife had an appointment with Lord Vishnu in the temple 4 blocks away. Six months had gone by since his retirement, but he had no complaints of life slowing down. He had just been visited by his elder daughter from the
after 5 years. Before that, he had the time of his life with his younger daughter and her little bundle of joy, Maya. Now, he was ready to live life in slow motion in his serene hometown with his ever lovely wife. US
Srinivasan had lived a fulfilling life. He was a successful man, a respectful son, a loving husband and a doting father. Reading a book often takes you into a reflective mood. Srinivasan’s thoughts took him back in time. He watched the movie of his life through the camera of his mind and the projection of his eyes. A wave of nostalgia swept him over. He got up suddenly and went to his study. He opened a big cupboard and took out an old dusted carton. It was the stuff from his college. He pulled out an old slam book which was a parting souvenir from his “Rockers” gang. He started reading all the silly and funny comments made by his friends and wondered how none of them knew anything about separation. Had they known that they might not even see each other again, they might have written a lot more. He felt really sad for not being in touch with many of his friends anymore. "Wish I had more time to catch up", he thought.
He sat there reminiscing for a while and finally when he was about to restore it, he saw a small letter hiding in the last page of the slam book. His hands went cold for a moment as he saw it was unopened. It was from one of his good friends in college, Hemant. It was dated 5 months after graduation which was about the time they had their last phone conversation. Emails went on for another year or two and that was it. Life took them to different worlds whose orbits never intersected.
His hands shivered as he opened the letter. How could he have missed it?
“Dear Srini.. How are you? Been a while, I am sorry for not writing to you before. With the job scene, I have been a little stressed out lately. Wish I was a stud like you daa. Anyways.. how is your job? Have you already started making semiconductor chips? Please name one of them “Uncle” chips for my sake daa. How many patents have you filed till now? Kidding man.. anyways.. how are you liking it?
Thank you so much for the lovely birthday card and that inspiring letter. You know what.. I saw it yesterday morning just before my interview with CTS. And you know what. You are my lucky charm man. Here’s the big one my friend: Today I got a call from them.. and guess what: CTS is one damn lucky company man.. Yes daa. I am unemployed no more. And thank you so much man.. I couldn’t tell you this before. But you have been a wonderful inspiration for me throughout. You don’t know what a difference you made to me in college. So.. thank you. Okay.. won’t bore you more. Say my regards to your parents. Take care.. Hemant.
P.S: Call me if you want to hear the latest gossip about our college!”
A sense of awe and grief gripped Srinivasan as droplets started accumulating in his eyes. In the mini battle that ensued, gravity emerged the winner as Srinivasan burst into tears. How many times he had thought of mailing Hemant and had postponed it to another day which never came. He had never felt so naked before. But now it was too late. He read the letter again and again and felt more miserable. He wanted to!
Finally he put it back. He head the door open. His wife was back from the temple. Time to get back to life! His wife Krithika came to him with a smile on her face and prasadam in her hand. You missed the puja today. Was so peaceful. Srinivasan didn’t say anything. “By the way, who is Hemant”, she asked. Srinivasan was taken aback. “How do you know him?”
“You just got a letter from him” she said. Srinivasan just pulled it from her hand and ripped it open. Krithika had never seen him so excited in a long time.
“Dear Srini.. I might be a little too late in writing to this letter. But you are to blame and you know that. Anyways. I sincerely hope you are still at this address. Can’t believe 25 years have passed by. And just after college, I had thought that I cannot spend a day without all you guys. Life is cruel man. At least, I was reading about your patents in the internet!
It was exactly this day 25 years ago I wrote you a letter when I joined. And today was my last day at CTS and I just had to write to you. Wish I had done that earlier. Anyways.. I am still in
. You should come up here. You owe me a chai, remember. Take care and my regards to your family.- Hemant. Calcutta
P.S: Saala.. you designed 365 chips. Not one of them was named “Uncle” chip! You cheat.”
Srinivasan hadn’t believed in second chances till that very moment. And he had never been to
. He read the letter once again. He noticed the broken alphabet “T” in every place in the letter. Hemant had still not gotten rid of his old Remington. He laughed. He then realized life’s biggest paradox: People don’t change but yet the world around them does! Calcutta either
- A short story by Raj.