This was a long due blog, believe me. I was supposed to write this last year.. Yup last year when after my trip to Ladakh I stayed in Delhi with my friend Dupinder.
Dupi as we fondly call her, we go a long long way back. We met when we were in college, different colleges but studying in NIIT – yup the go to place for ‘Computers’ way back in late 90’s.
Our friendship bloomed with another girl Tripti. We were a trio those days in one bike riding, watching movies, eating, in general goody two shoes girls having fun. Those days the ‘wild thing’ was bunking a class to watch a movie or hanging out somewhere having a sandwich and cola 🙂
She was one of the few people who knew everything about my life and also one of those rare of rarest persons who never judged anyone. She saw everything I went through in my life, the good, the bad and the ugly.
I still remember that year of 1998 when she was permanently moving back to Ludhiana. Her father who was in the army took voluntary retirement and was moving back. My life was in a turmoil during that time and I remember how we hugged each other and cried out loud at the station.
She was also one of my close friends who got married very early in life. Her husband Loveleen is a gem of a person.
She was truly blessed for in an arranged marriage she found a friend, a true companion in Loveleen who understood her, gave her the freedom that her parents never gave her and let her be.
I remember when she was getting married in 1999, how myself and another friend Manish went to Ludhiana to attend it. It was an adventure and so much fun. We were the only South Indians there. I remember how much we ate in that one week!People were so amazed that we came all the way from Hyderabad for a friend’s wedding.
Those were the good old days when all these whatspp whatnot didn’t exist, no selfies, no friendship posts promises on facebook, it was only action, just going ahead and doing it.
As time went by, I moved to Singapore then to New York and our common connect was our friend Manish and we knew we were all fine.
Finally when I moved back to India, I kept in touch with her. After almost 17 years we met! yes 17 years! Dupi came with another friend Anjana last year to Hyderabad just to meet all her old friends. It was a reunion truly.
Imagine all of us were in college with dreams in our eyes and here we all are now! Most of them, actually all of them were fathers, mothers, kids, marriage and whatnot except yours truly.
Dupi always encouraged me, always telling me to do what I feel like and not to care about anyone. She loved the fact that I led my life the way I wanted and that is what I realized true friendship was all about.
No judgement, no bitterness, to let people be. Manish was another friend who kept in touch with me no matter how busy we were, always.
So last year after Ladakh trek, I spent time with Dupi, Loveleen and her two gorgeous daughters. The older girl Harnoor was close to my heart. The younger one, Simar has the most innocent eyes and smile I have seen. We had such a fantastic time last year as we went around Qutub Minar, took a tour and Dupi packed a picnic sandwich lunch.
I remember us all sitting under the shade and having a picnic. When did life’s simple pleasures get away like that? I remember becoming like a child and posing in front of each and every monument with them.
Loveleen was in the Air force. He was a Wing Commander and just last year they had moved and were still trying to adjust to Delhi and it’s sordid city life.
Being in the air force station with all the amenities and protection was good but getting out of that station meant being in big bad real Delhi. It was true as I have never felt comfortable in that place so I could understand the lukewarm response Dupi had towards that city.
Coming to the present, I was looking forward to meeting her. One more night with a dear friend.
As I got down at New Delhi station and hailed an Ola Cab, Dupi with her cautiousness warned me to keep my eyes and ears open. I was on an alert as it was past 9.30 pm and this was Delhi, no less.
Maybe I was being paranoid but I would rather do that than be sorry later. The guy had no clue where the air force station was in spite of GPS and he was constantly looking at me through rear view mirror, this itself put my antennae on alert.
First I called my partner and purposefully shouted the Car number and asked the driver his name and details then I messaged the same to Dupi.
It feels bad that I had to do all that but what other choice does a woman have here? It was a huge difference between being in the mountains and here.
There I was taking a shared cab to Almora with strangers and feeling completely safe in an unknown place and here in a big over populated city I felt totally unsafe.
Finally Loveleen guided the driver to the destination and I was so glad when I saw him at the entrance of the air force station.
I was finally here, safe and sound with my friend.