Full Circle

Part 1

Re Connecting

Chitra was feeling very nervous at the way Pammi was pressing down on the accelerator. She checked her seat belt. Yes it was fastened securely. So no likelihood of dying if the car crashed into another vehicle!

“Stop being so nervous Chits… learnHand drawn two schoolgirls friends with backpack Vector sketch to enjoy the ride” said Pammi with a laugh!

Chitra looked at her friend in exasperation… Pammi hadn’t changed. She was still that careless teenager from school. Who would believe she was fifty. Okay, correction, Pammi was actually fifty one. It was she, Chitra who was fifty as of today. Pammi had been one class older than Chitra at school but given her general disinterest in studies had to repeat a year in the eighth standard and that was when they had met and become the best of friends.

This visit to Delhi had been something that Chitra had been looking forward to for some time now. As a chartered accountant who worked along with her husband in his firm, she rarely got an opportunity to travel out of Chennai where she lived now. Seenu, her husband, handled all the out of Chennai assignments while she was left to deal with the maama and maami accounts (as she referred to them privately)! And the maximum distance they had travelled for a holiday was to Ooty. Her Chennai born and bred husband was extremely nervous about going anywhere beyond the Deccan Plateau.

It was sheer providence therefore that had got her to deal with this assignment in Delhi all by herself. Seenu had to travel to Bangalore on some urgent work on the same date and since the Delhi assignment had been planned well in advance and couldn’t be cancelled, she Chitra Srinivsan had travelled all alone to the city of her childhood and youth! The three day business trip had been extended to five including the weekend.

That she would be staying with Pammi was a non-negotiable.  What with Pammi constantly hounding her on WhatsApp and Facebook there was no way that she could visit Delhi and not have Pammi know about it.

Not that she minded… She was actually loving it except for those times, when Pammi decided to get behind the wheel of her Maruti Wagon R and drive her best friend around Delhi. It was bad enough when she sped down Lodhi road like that but it seemed worse when she drove at a similar speed around the by lanes of Lajpat Nagar…

Pammi stopped at a traffic signal and lowered her window with one hand to buy something from a street vendor. Chitra’s nervousness surfaced once again….

“Chits look some Jamuns for you… You used to love them” said Pammi extending a paper bag filled with the dark purple fruit. Chitra felt overwhelmed!! Who would have thought that Pammi would remember these small things?

But remember she did. Every meal that she had eaten at Pammi’s house in the last few days had proved that. Pammi had taken care to cook all that she liked… She had taken her shopping around their old hang outs at Lajpat Nagar, Connaught Place and bought her gifts.

Pammi was so full of warmth and love… It was pity that she had no husband or children to lavish it upon. Her husband had died within the first few of their marriage and after that Pammi had moved back to her parents’ house. A natural entrepreneur, she had started a small business selling salwar suits which had now grown into a boutique in South Extension.

Chitra wondered how on earth they had become friends. She the nerdy, shy, nervous introvert South Indian and Pammi the carefree, gregarious, extrovert Sardarni!

But they had hit it off from day one! They had travelled to school together and back and sat next to each other in class. They did that for five years after which college and higher education took them their separate ways. But they still managed to meet on weekends until the academically non inclined Pammi dropped out of college after a couple of years and got married.

Chitra still remembered a beautiful Pammi dancing at her own wedding. She had seemed so happy .. Daljeet her husband was a businessman. It was clear he adored Pammi. To Chitra who had attended their wedding it had seemed like something out of a Mills and Boon romance.

Their lives had taken different directions after that. Chitra’s father had retired and their family had moved to Chennai where she got married. Delhi and Pammi for Chitra had by then had become a happy past as she began  dealing with a challenging present-  studying for her Chartered accountancy exams, coping with her in laws, helping her husband with his work and a couple of years later, bringing up her son Anand.

Address books and school albums with their teenage photographs got lost somewhere. The odd friendship between Chitra Venkateshwaran and Parminder Kaur had buried itself under the demands of day today life.

It had been Pammi who had reconnected with her. She had traced Chitra through a common friend and they had reconnected a few years ago. Chitra had been saddened to hear about Pammi’s loss but Pammi herself seemed to have come to terms with it and moved on in life. She had also lost her parents over the years and now lived alone in her parents’ house. Her two brothers had immigrated to Canada but she had decided to stay on in Delhi. A brave girl… life had toughened her but had kept her inner core soft thought Chitra her eyes welling up with emotion.

“Chits, don’t let those tears fall down your cheeks while eating the Jamuns. They will mingle with the purple colour and ruin your beautiful pink chikan sari” Pammi teased her with a grin.

Chitra pretended to punch her… And they started laughing!

“Tell me something. Why have you taken to wearing only saris” asked Pammi.

“Well, there was no option. After marriage, my in laws did not like me in salwar kurtas and Seenu did not have the guts to tell them to stop interfering in our lives” said Chitra.

“So I guess they will not approve of you in trousers either?” asked Pammi with a wink.

“Are you crazy!’ exclaimed Chitra looking shocked.

“No I am not. I was just thinking how nice you will look in trousers. You are still so slim and petite” said Pammi

“Okay, keep thinking. No harm in that “said Chitra crossly, looking out of the window

“Chits… don’t be an idiot! You are only fifty years old. Your hair thankfully is not very grey and is still long and beautiful. Why do you dress and behave like you are seventy?” asked Pammi

“Pammi, it is expected of me as a wife of a leading accountant in Chennai and mother of a twenty two year old boy to look and behave in this manner” said Chitra.

But the moment she said this she felt like biting off her tongue because she realized that Pammi neither had a child nor a husband.

“Sorry Pammi” she said.

“Not enough if you say sorry. You need to make amends” said Pammi winking at her.

“Amends”? Asked Chitra wondering what was coming up next.

“You must allow me to give you a makeover this evening and take you out for your birthday dinner” said Pammi laughing loudly

“Okay… but nothing drastic” said Chitra doubtfully

“Drastic or not is a matter of perception. And you, my dear are not going to look at this like some Aunty. Look at it like how you would if you were in school once again” said Pammi

Chitra laughed..! Alright, why not.

(Ater all it was her fiftieth birthday today! Golden Jubilee of her life on this planet.

“Give me a hi five” said Pammi letting go of the steering wheel for a moment

“Hey watch out” said Chitra laughing as clapped her hands with Pammi’s

Both of them were now excited about Chitra’s Birthday Dinner

( Readers please stay tuned and  join in the Birthday dinner in Part 2).



4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Anu syngal
    Sep 08, 2018 @ 16:01:22

    Dying to read the second part. Looks lije story of my friend Madhu lakhanpal very shy haryanvi girl and me very naughty and bossy.Class ix memories have come alive.wonderful piece of writing meera


  2. Parthasarathi K
    Sep 08, 2018 @ 19:27:55

    The well written first part kindles reader’s interest to know how the story would unfold.Waiting for the birthday dinner party eagerly


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