I was panting. Beads of sweat trickled down my back. It was hot. It was the summer of 2005. And that definitely was not the best day of my life. As i lay on the cold tiled floor of my apartment in the ninth floor worn out and exhausted, my head swirled and my eyes drooped. Dont pass-out, i said to myself. Just hang on. This will get over soon. It finally did get over. As the merciful sun faded down its usual nest in the west, i recuperated from the wounds of the day. It was one of the hottest summers i had ever seen in my life. That particular day and half a dozen similar ones that followed left a scar so deep that i sat down to compose a post on the depressing heat of chennai. I called that a 'dreadful melacholy'. Now, exactly seven months later i sit in my hostel room not very far away - in bangalore - totally craving for that heat, the sunshine and the sweat. Dark and gloomy skies, a permanently cold bed and floor and an eternal shiver can do that to the best of us. Well as they say, the grass is always green on the other side.
Going back to that april, life was completely different from what it is now. I was working, not literally though. At least i was in the payroll of CTS and that brought certain liberties. Money, for one, seemed to be always available. I flaunted the new found freedom of debit cards everywhere. Dinner meant exploring new restraunts. And there was always a movie dvd to be enjoyed later that night or a trip to 'satyam' was always on the cards. In between i sometimes went to work! I had by that time got the good news of the CAT results and my spirits were soaring like the temperature. A great apartment and interesting roommates. I always forget how pseud the flats look for a new-comer. I still remember the first day when i came to check it out. My mouth was permanently prised open in a wow. It was nothing like a bachelor hole i had imagined. It was a proper two bedroom apartment , on the ninth floor, with a beautiful view through huge french windows that adorned the balcony. When booby (one of my room mates) said "Well?" , I said "yes". And that was how i shifted from the little cell where i was put up far away from chennai to this cool place in tiruvanmiyur.
Well it all started at the little 'training camp' that cts puts us through before being launched into the battle field. On june,2004 i was officially an employee of cts but was placed at St. Joseph's college for a training period of two months. It was class room all over again. Girls sat in the front rows and guys at the back. Some things never change. Session after session we sat through technical lectures and organisational seminars. That was where i met the three guys who were to become my roommates later. Arjun, Boobesh and Pradeep. Well, i met a lot of interesting characters there and we had a common passtime during those tea/snack/lunch breaks - appraise girls from the various other batches that were having their training. Well, it may sound pathetic, but it was fun. There were also sessions of fiercely competitive NFS fights between me and Arjun which he always ended up losing(Well its my blog ;) ). Well, one thing got firmly established during the two month period - that i was crazy. When i started looking for a place to stay, they popped up the question on whether i want to stay in their place. I said i needed to evaluate. And that is how one day i took this long bus trip to tirunmiyur to check out the apartment and said 'Wow' seeing the beautiful looking apartments.
Interestingly, two of those three guys were also aspiring for CAT. So we made a pact the day i moved in to work regularly for the same purpose. The pact stayed a pact - it never materialised. We planned to wake up at 5 am ever morning to work. I always managed to get up three hours later. Soon this infection spread among everyone and in the end CAT lay forgotten. Meanwhile, CTS threw up rather dull projects that forced us to go to movies and do other things that helps you live. A few months later i transported my bike from coimbatore to chennai and that resulted in a new mobility. The trouble now was who got to take it out. Meanwhile CAT was nearing and a new urgency gripped us. In a mechanistic flurry of action, i joined 'time' for the test series but ended up bunking quite a few of those too ( i bunk everything!). However, it became a sunday routine to go to adyar and write a mock cat and have a good lunch at a restraunt we had identified there whose sambhar tasted exactly like annapoorna in coimbatore. It was motivation enough to go for the mock cats. Well by now booby had also joined the fray.
Meanwhile, Arjun was having his own pursuits. I briefly mentioned about our passtime during the training period. What happened was Arjun took a liking to one particular girl and kept calling her kaaka for no apparent reason. He got so hooked on to her that he began investigating her and in less than a month had her whole biography with him and in less than two months he had started having those long conversations through cell phones. His motive in life then was kaaka, booze and generally having fun and working a bit. Its an altogether different matter that he got bored off her by the summer of 2005. Wel life meandered for all of us with no motive but filled with fun and enjoyment. Around march the f1 season started and in chennai you cant get to watch it unless you have a set-top box. So we bought it. Weekends were awaited in anticipation of those races. Lunches would be skipped or planned so as be there from the beginning. There were two camps : intially started with shumi vs alonso then morphed into kimi vs alonso. Well, i am not going to bring f1 into this now. Enough words have been spent on that. Sometime during 2005, arjun got himself a bike. A brand new, pulsar 180cc with its gleaming bulge, alloy wheels and nitrox shocks. I just spent a lot of time oggling over it. And it was great to drive especially on the ECR, in the night.
(to be contd.)