It was the summer of 2000. We were three 20 year olds, bursting to tread into the grown-up universe, enjoying our ‘neither kids, nor adults’ hostel life in Coimbatore. Russ already had a college sweetheart from her undergrad college and had followed him in this PG course. The other two of us, thoroughly enjoyed her escapades, tales of travels and mountainside stories. She hailed from the beautiful Kalpetta of Wayanad, set high on the Western Ghats.
A trip down the memory lane
As the course was about the end, we were direly in need of campus placements to reputed companies which landed in the campus towards the close of the third quarter. We decided we needed divine intervention. Our destination was the Friday Cross Church in the heart of the city of Calicut, where it is believed that all prayer requests are fulfilled. People from all faiths pay their respects at this place- the road is chock-a-bloc with exam facing kids some days.
Sim’s father was kind enough to send us their car and the driver. We embarked on the trip of a lifetime, not many girl gangs travelled alone those days. Sim had given us ample warnings not to natter in front of the family driver as all our girlish gabs would find its way to her papa’s ears. But Sim did the most inspiring deed that drew our admiration to no end. She recorded a CD with the latest romantic numbers and in silence we soaked in the lyrics of Dhadkan (heartbeat) and Mohabattein (love of a lifetime). It was a rainy day and the trip stole our souls. It was pure bliss listening to songs inside the confines of an AC car. The car sailed smoothly on the Coimbatore Kozhikode highway via walayar. Those 4 odd something hours both ways is perhaps the most remembered high point of the trip. Even today, whenever I listen to the songs of Dhadkan, it takes me back to the cool calmness inside a white Ford Icon car.
I honestly don’t remember where we stopped for food or what we ate, but I remember walking through the colonial corridors of Russ’s UG College. Russ showed us the classroom where Josh had proposed to her, the Gulmohar trees which stood privy to their many clandestine conversations and her teacher’s affection for an outstanding student like her. Sim and me, we imagined the same happening to us in our current college corridors, both in academics and in romance. Even though we both got placed in good companies, we still share many a disappointed messages that a charming Mr. Handsome never actually swept us off our feet or dashed to our parents to ask for our hands. We both opted to marry suitable boys our parents found for us. We wandered the whole morning and part of the afternoon in the streets of the city of Calicut. Tolkien was right, “Not all those who wander are lost.”
Why do things not happen?
Thither are those trips, with your closest girlfriends, that are forever locked in planning stages. We truly believe that, no true friendship is complete without an epic road trip. We have all imagined ourselves as characters in the coming of age movie, Dil Chahta Hai (The heart desires) which features the epic road trip to Goa taken by Akash, Sameer and Sid!
All in plans, nothing happens! Life just goes on. The travel with friends bug whines inside you. There are many trips we take throughout our life with excitement, tension and trepidation. But most often, it’s the good company that makes the journey seem most endearing.
Footprints in the sands of time
Remembering those moments brings joy and youth back to my heart, for in these times I feel like an old grumpy grandmother most of the day. We are now scattered across the many borders of time, oceans and continents. But, we must do that car ride once more, Russ the romantic, Sim the adorable and myself the dreamer. For sometimes you need to remember David Mitchell, “Travel far enough, you meet yourself.”
Feby Imthias is a freelance writer based in Abu Dhabi. Twitter: @Feby_Imthias