Well! Anil said if I wrote about him, he will have to read the first draft; so here it is...
We were about 20 odd, who had joined Capgemini. A bunch of 20 over enthusiactic, aspiring Management Assurance Consultants in Bangalore. Out if these 20, about 15 were placed in a company guest house till the time we found a roof of our own. I still remember very vividly that evening when, one of us had got a map to pin down where we were located and then where the office was and which were the suitable areas to live. Our dinner time, when 14 men would walk on the road guarding the only girl in that lot. Honestly, each one of these 14 deserves one story of his own.
The biggest shock of my life came when they all turned out to be vegetarians. Now, to make you understand how grave the situation was, my mom used to call every evening before we went for dinner, and baby-talk me into appreciating the flora instead of fauna. And I used to manage to survive that meal.
Anil was one guy who had appreciable table manners, and I couldn't help noticing that. I guess its just a fallout of being an army officer's daughter. When the Delhiites, and Puneites were busy being boisterous, Anil was a soft spoken, everyone's guy.
Meanwhile my vegetarian ordeal was at its peak when the weekend came. I had not smelled meat for a week, which meant I would have lost interest in my food if I missed this weekend. My mom, sent out an SOS to my brother, who came down and took me to this amazing place and I simply cut-loose. In the evening I came back and my face was evidently fresh and lively. The dinner wasn't so depressing after that. On the table, everyone asked about my day. I mentioned chirpily, "I went out with my brother, had some amazing chicken curry at this dhaba..." Suddenly, I hear Anil shrieking as if he saw a ghost... "what the hell, you are a non-vegetarian??" I was like Is he Maneka Gandhi's supporter or something? But if he comes up with some 'vegetarian bano, achha hai!' shit... I'll kill him. "Yes I am! Any problem?"
"What crap! I was thinking everyone is a veggie here and I didnt have company to order meat..." My expression changed from 'attacking' to 'melting'. It was like God saw my plight and sent a saviour; maybe he just turned into a non-veggie 5 mins ago to save me from this 'all grass & leaves' world. After that we struck a chord instantly :) If he preferred mutton over chicken, so did I. If I didn't like omlettes, even he didn't. And finally that One thing that sealed our friendship was KFC. Our office canteen food wasn't something you would die for, maybe you could die if you had it continuosly for more than a couple of days. So me and Anil, would stash our sodexos in our pockets and head towards KFC.
He had travelling job, so he would go away for weeks together and I would wait ardently for him. If he was online one thing we never missed discussing was our 'menu'. Infact, once he just pinged, "so whats special today?"; I replied, "Chicken Biryani !!" "No you duffer, I was talking about the day, its friday the 13th". That was our obsession with our grub! So much that we came to a conclusion that our tummys were siblings. And like all siblings, there was a bit of sibling rivalry too. I hated when he visited Europe and had ham and bacon and what not EVERYDAY, and to top it, he would religiously tell me too, ofcourse to make me feel jealous.
One day, he came and said, "Hey Deeps! I am shifting base to Chennai." It came out quite casually and even I didn't react too much. And we still keep going to KFC like two best friends from school, hopping down to the candy shop. But one fine day he did go away. And like a fool, my tummy realized that the sibling had gone! Tummy didnt feel like going to KFC after that.
Slowly, tummy got used to eating without the sibling, We still discuss food whenever we get the opportunity on the net. But more than anything else, I realized, it was not just about food. Its his friendship that I will miss and we keep consoling each other that distance doesn't matter, but I am unsure of it, and I really hope it doesn't. I wish Anil wrote this, he is brilliant with words. And right now, he must be wondering what a moron am I to write this piece now, coz even if he does earn some brownie points with the girlies, he is married now :D