People often say that high school days are the best days of your life. Most of my school time was spent trying to muster up courage and English sentences to talk to the opposite gender and getting thrown wet paper balls at for being an unpleasant-to-eyes nerd. So in my order of best time ever, that time would feature near the bottom, just above the time I fell in love in play school. She was so cute and fair and had chubby cheeks and a strict father, who was incidentally the first person outside my family to have beaten me up.
My best time in life (till now, because I have great expectations from the concept of honeymoon and the reviews for Stay-On capsules) was my undergraduate college days. The ingredients to great undergrad memories are a good college with a good location (anywhere in the world except Pakistan and Eastern Delhi), better friends and a few embarrassing incidents of which you will get a reminder at every subsequent reunion, louder and spicier than the previous time.
Another thing I realise now is that had you set any particular criteria for choosing your friends, most of your group wouldn’t be there. Your friendships aren’t based on mutual likes and interests, they are based on mutual dislikes, hatred for one particular human being or sometimes the fact that you had a drink with someone and shared too much and can’t kill him now, so you got to keep him close. Just kidding (Of course I killed him)! Sometimes you form a symbiotic relationship for study purposes, which is based on the made-in-India concept of distribution of labour, called ‘sitting near each other, hence half course each’. The fact that both of you contributed 25% each in your quest to score 50% passing marks is something to cherish for life, or at least till the professor taking your viva makes you realise the demerits of that system.
They formed your support system, and were there for you in good as well as bad times. In hindsight, they had only one way of handling any situation:
In good times: Hey dude congrats! Party’s on you tonight. Blender’s Pride? Bhak Saala Baniya.
In bad times: Don’t worry bro. It will all be better soon. Daru Piyega? (Or “let’s go shopping” or “let’s have ice cream and do some bitching”, in case of fairer sex)
There will aways be that one friend who will get too drunk and make the “She was a slut anyway!” statement and you will know whom should you not offer another drink to, unless you want the get-together to proceed on the lines of Khap-Panchayat meetings.
Your undergrad friends enjoy a high level of inclusion in your personal life, mostly because after college you feel mature enough not to share anything with everyone, and all the personal life you had in school was fashion TV and the ‘accidental’ act of touching yourself that made you realise what puberty was. Of course, your college friends handled your personal life in a very sensible way of “Bro you’re a Chutiya, only I know everything.” It also meant that they knew about your love life also. No matter how good or bad it was, they treated your girlfriend in one of the three ways:
1. Pleasant tolerable woman who has taken our friend away.
2. Stupid intolerable woman who has taken our friend away.
3. Vengeful bitch who will probably murder him and then will come for us and slowly take over the world as we know it.
My undergrad mates and I have come a long way, from hostel mess food to reunions at Connaught Place fine-dining restaurants, from Royal Challenger to Black Label, from “ladki pati ya nahi?” to “Get married and give us a bachelor’s party”, and from smacks at the back of the head to the bro-hugs now, which help us to say a thousand words without actually speaking.
*Insert Summer of 69 guitar interlude here*