I glanced up as a gentle ping announced the arrival of a new message on my WhatsApp. I tapped my phone open and smiled as I checked the message. It was from my childhood friend Savita.
Apparently her son was relocating to Chennai and she was wondering how he would adjust in the hot humid South Indian city after a long stint in cool and pleasant Pune.
“Hey,” continued the message. “Isn’t your son in Chennai too? Where does he stay?”
I typed the name of the area and added “It’s somewhere in the suburbs.”
“Wouldn’t it be nice if they stayed close to each other?” came her next message.
“Absolutely” I wrote back. “We could meet if we visit our sons at the same time.”
We both exchanged smileys at that and agreed that it was unlikely. Chennai is a big city after all.
Savita and I go back a long way – since our school days actually. We lived fairly close to each other in Goa and we would walk to school and back together most times. Savita, from a classic Goan family and I, from the neighbouring state of Karnataka – we remained close friends through the years.
Savi married early and shifted to the sleepy little town of Bhatkal. Years later my dad retired and moved back to his home town in Udupi. Soon I married and moved off to the UAE. With all this, it would’nt have been surprising if we had lost contact. Those were the days before FB and WhatsApp after all! 🙂
However inspite of all this, we did manage to keep in touch through intermittent, sporadic and random calls and once-in-a-blue-moon visits.
Her two sons did their Higher Secondary from a College in Udupi before graduating and moving to Pune.
My twin boys did their Higher Secondary in the same College before graduating. One moved to Bangalore while the other took up a job in Chennai.
The four boys have never actually met!
Some days after the above conversation, Savita messaged to say that she was in Chennai to help her son set up his new home. At first reluctant and half-hearted about his move, she sounded quite cheerful now after seeing the beautiful Colony where he had rented an apartment. She sent me a few pictures of the tennis court in the colony, the Gym and even a small theatre. It all looked pretty cool and I was happy for my friend and her son.
Some days later, over a telephone conversation with my Chennai son, I mentioned that my friend’s son had shifted and was settling down in his new home. I went on to tell him about the tennis court and theatre and all. He didn’t seem too impressed with it.
“My Colony has all these too” he said.
“Oh!” I said a little deflated.
I forwarded a couple of the pics to him anyway.
A few hours later he sent a message demanding to know where I had gotten these pictures from.
“My friend’s son… remember….” I typed.
“They look familiar” he typed back. “What’s the name of this Colony?”
I scrolled through my friend’s messages, found the name of the Colony and forwarded it to my son.
“This is my Colony.” he replied.
“What???” I typed.
“Yeah” he wrote, “this is where I live.”
I sent him a couple of shocked/surprised/astonished emoticons and immediately informed my friend of this latest development.
She was suitably astonished too and instantly sent a picture of a Badminton Court.
“My son’s building is opposite this,” she wrote. “Which building is your son in?”
I forwarded this to my son and he replied, “Oh this badminton court is right in front of my building!”
I reported this to Savita and she sent me yet another picture.
“This is the building where my son stays. 1st floor on the left.”
I sent this one off to my son and waited with bated breath for his reply. A moment later I got it.
“This is the same building in which I stay. 2nd floor on the right.”
Well! If this had been a scene from a Bollywood film, at this juncture there would have been a clap of thunder and an almighty clash of cymbals.
But we weren’t done yet.
A ping. Another message from my son.
“See that blue T shirt drying in the balcony? That’s mine by the way.”
Typical of him. It’s raining coincidences here and it’s simply “by the way” for him! 🙂
I zoomed in on the pic and took a long look at the blue T shirt before sending this bit of Breaking News to Savita.
We don’t care if neither of the boys concerned are dancing around in excitement at all this (boys will be boys after all), but my dear friend and I more than made up for that. We exchanged surprised emojis and ‘I don’t believe this!’ messages and lost no time in exchanging the contact numbers of our respective sons.
The numbers have been forwarded to them with suggestions to call each other.
And now …….. the ball is in their court!
Or should I say shuttlecock?
Both of them live right opposite the same Badminton court after all! 🙂