Monday, January 14, 2008

I think Gunpun was my first "best friend". Whatever "best friend" means these days. Sometimes you find yourself confiding personal things to colleagues, neighbors or just acquaintances because they're available to listen! S, one of my closest friends, is in India and I hardly get to talk to her these days. So last week, my colleague poured out his kids' illness woes to me and I found myself telling him about my visa problems, green card etc...Anyways, but I do think that Gunpun & I would've grown up together as fast friends if we'd been in the same town.

He moved to Stuart school a few kilometers away from home since Bhagavanlu school was only a nursery school with classes only till Preparatory. I was disconsolate for a week and even cried in class. Besides, I was in Preparatory now (next to UKG) and I had a horrible class monitor called Likki. She was a really thin girl and kept calling me "moti" in class. I even believe she secretly made fun of my plump cheeks. To make things worse, she always made first rank beating me by a couple of marks. Suffice to say, we didn't see eye to eye.

But serendipitously, I got double promoted as well after a couple of months in Prep! So I got to skip 1st grade and go to the 2nd grade. And I was to join Gunpun at Stuart school. Yippeee! I threw tantrums and got into the same section as he was in. I think he was also elated to see me. Mrs. Das, the class teacher, made me sit next to some weird girl. I got all upset because I wanted to sit next to Gunpun. My father told me to be a "good girl" and articulate my request to Mrs. Das myself. But I was terrified of being denied. So I complained loudly to my parents and cried so much that my Dad came down to school one day and told Mrs. Das that I had to sit next to Gunpun. I think he was very annoyed at having to leave work and rush to school mid-day because of his temperamental kid. But it turned out that Mrs. Das was my father's colleague's wife and they had a nice chit-chat about me and everything else under the sun.

Everything turned out OK. Gunpun and I remained best friends. I spent a lot of time at their house. His younger brother, Tathu, was a particularly fun kid to be around with! For a change, Gunpun & I could boss him around because he was younger to us by 2 years. Hehe. He was eager to please us both and he'd do anything we asked him to. Apart from all that, Tathu & I had a bond. I felt all protective about him and he was very affectionate to me (called me his elder sister and all that!). He was a bit naughty though and used to get in trouble with the colony dog -- Balu.

Balu Dog was none's dog in particular but everyone in the colony loved him. He was kinda common property and ate at whosever place he wished to. He was also the protector of the colony. He'd bark and chase down any strangers at night and I think, once, he even caught a thief. Tathu, being the boisterous kid he was, would throw stones at Balu or tie tin cans to his tail. Balu was a very, very patient dog and put up with troublesome kids better than most. Once, my brother put one of his building blocks into Balu's mouth and stuck his hand in to retrieve it. Poor Balu still had his mouth wide open when my Mom rushed out to find my brother happily fishing in his mouth. But Tathu drove Balu nuts. He'd harangue the poor thing so much that Balu would bark loudly and chase him madly down the street. Anyways, none would believe Tathu when he complained against Balu. Such was Balu Dog's standing in Acharya Vihar!

The night before we left Bhubaneswar for good, Balu came to our house and slept in our verandah with a sad face. Somehow, he knew we were leaving. My dad gave him food but he refused to eat. He stayed with us until the last minute when we got in a car to leave. As hard as this is to believe, my parents thought he had tears in his eyes as he watched us go..:(

I don't know if Gunpun & I would've been good friends if we'd grown up together. One never knows about these things. But I'd definitely love to at least know where he is and what he's doing right now. So, Devidutta Panda, if you ever land up on this blog and remember me, do drop me a line! I'd love to catch up on life with you!

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msr said...

Been a regular visitor here for quite sometime now.
Enjoy reading (most of) your posts.:) The gunpun series is very interesting. Keep them coming...

Red Phoenix said...

Oh How sad that u dint get to meet him later in ur life... I'll remember that name myself. If I meet him, shall remind him of the plumpy cheeked lil missy name subha... Nway, by what name does he remember u?

Tom said...

i stumbled onto this blog while googling "subhashini". interesting... i had an old friend named subhashini when i used to live in india. she's from chennai and is also a virgo. she was the first subhashini i ever met, but now i wonder how many virgo subhashinis from chennai are out there. well, definitely fewer than toms ;).


Dear Subhashini, This is Gunpun (Debidutta Panda) here. I was really very very happy to see your write up after Two and a half years since you wrote this. In fact this wite up was discovered by my wife and she told me, that one of my very good old friend Subhashini is remembering me very sincerely. So Subhashini as soon as you read this please mail me yours mail Id to Hav got a lot to tell u