I don’t know what’s worse, leaving a place, or going to that place and finding it empty, devoid of anyone I know, of any activity whatsoever, of any music, or any light emanating from any of the windows.
Each time I go to the gym, I just look at the building adjacent to it, and there’s nobody there. No one poking fun at me from the Saint Thomas balcony for trying to lose weight, or anyone calling me to play badminton and my forgetting all about the gym and playing hours of badminton and turning up at the gym the next day with a sheepish grin. I turn up at the gym pretty regularly now, but there’s no sheepish grinning on my part, just a sad smile on looking at the gym noticeboard full of photographs of my batch mates working out. It’s mostly empty these days, just a few of the GMP regulars who come in the evening for an hour. I miss waiting for the treadmill to free up, for the right set of dumbbells to be let go of, for the right sized exercise ball to be there, for space to do my stretches.
I miss seeing anyone to say hi to every time I step out of my temporary office at the TMDC. I miss getting drunk enough for someone to lend me a shoulder and take me to my room. I know I won’t get as drunk as I did that night, when I was on my way back to my room from the wet night on JLT after 10 odd drinks, and suddenly hungry and tired, I sat down in front of Bishuda wondering whether I should go upstairs and get money from my room, because in my drunken state of mind, I didn’t want to take anything on debt from him, when suddenly somebody asked me, ‘Bhai bhookh lagi hai kya?’, I nodded, and someone was actually feeding me a paratha with their own hands. Yep, I don’t see this happening ever again.
I don’t see myself being woken up by frantic banging on my door in the middle of the night by someone who just wanted to say ‘Hi’. I don’t see myself being robbed of my bucket because the neighbor’s bucket was leaking. I don’t see myself opening the door every morning to see a poster on the door opposite mine which said, “Do not disturb, Hangover in progress.” I don’t think anyone will ever explain Economics to me again the way someone did by dancing while explaining the concepts to me, nor do I think I’ll have anyone borrowing my king-size mirror from my room to get a haircut. I don’t suppose anyone will ride my scooter almost into a gutter at full rev on the first gear, and I definitely don’t think anyone else will ever be game for tea at 3am.
All the crazy things I’ve experienced in these two years, each surpasses the other, and I don’t know what’s more painful; forgetting them or remembering them.