Walking beneath the huge and gothic sructure of the Mumbai's CST terminus,i feel strangely out of place.This time though I am not alone.I am walking behind three guys.The only creatures in my book, who i can classify under the title of freinds.We go back a five years in the past.They know me from the first day i entered college as a gawky teenager .Back then,as now,I still felt out of place.
We are as eclectic a group of people as you can hope to meet.Eac one of us was,is and will be different.Till the end of time.Though today i hold them in much more esteemed eyes than when i saw them 4 years back.As we walk out of the station,past the bombay High court and a thousand cricket playing kids at the maidan,I can't help but wonder at the change.
I hit off wth them from day one.We were the 'outcaste five'.Outcaste because we were so not 'cool'.each one of us came from the middle class.The economical denominator even negated out cultural diversities,though we all belong to the same part of the country.The western part.Three of us are gujaratis.I put that in a common term,as i still am unable to recognise the various lingualdifferences in them.One is from near rajasthan and madhya pradesh.I belongto the south,but as i have spent 20 years of my life here,i think i am an eligible mumbaikar.Together we were the 'obnoxious middle benchers'.
But i was much more outcaste than they were.At least they were extrovertive and suave.I was neither.I still remember watching their bags after class as they ran out and tried to show off in front of the girls.I thought them to be silly.I guess i had grown up too fast,too soon.and then when i decided to become a kid again,the world looked at me and said,"Grow up".It was as though i was caught in the ultimate complexity of youth - caught between the danger of growing old and the immaturity of staying young.
"Hey,buck up.Sloth!!",they call out to me.We are now walking past Eros in churchgate.Nice name for a theatre.The roman god of love - attraction guaranteed.The first time i bunked lectures was with these guys.We had gone to a silly theatre in kurla,and watched what i'd call one of the most degenerate films made by our country.though they thoroughly enjoyed the skin flick.Boys,i had thought.Today,i am the boy in the group.each one of them is a man stepping out into theworld knowing its complexities and threats.While i ponder,arge and discuss on what it would be like.
We are still different from each other.Even in our career choices.Three of our group chose to graduate in commerce,one went in for hotel management.I,meanwhile,chose to stay in my 12th standard.Today,except me,they have moved on.One works in the hustle and bustle of the Bombay Stock Exchange as an intern,Other is employed at a CA's firm.The hotel management guy is going off to ITC in Kolkata,the leftover dude has his father's business.I,stay where i am - lazy,stupid and stubborn.
What happened?where did i go wrong?why haven't i started my career yet?As we walk along the promenade of the Queen's Necklace after buying the tickets for the movie,my mind is still stuck on my failure to be something.My friends call out to me.It is still a long way to the end.I ask the nearest guy ,"How long is it going to take?".
He takes one long look at me,smiles and says,"Just Keep Walking"