I’ve never talked of SG. I spent a lovely evening in Hyderabad with her family, and the funny thing is, that at the end of the day, there was no recurring bout of nostalgia.
SG was my English teacher for a few years in high school. But our connection went deeper than that. We used to talk about random things, and one day discovered that my dad and her dad worked together in the same regiment, and were posted in Meerut. And that a particular couple that I saw in old photographs was actually her mom and dad. SG was one of those few teachers I got along with. I conspired to get out of every possible biology lesson, and went for a million debates through the school year in random schools. And she would come along. It was on those long bus rides to other school that we became friends.
She’s a big shot in a school in Hyderabad now. I met her after a long time and to my eyes she hadn’t changed a bit. I had stayed with her family for two weeks eight years back, and when I saw her babies again, they were all grown up. Her chutku son who used to hang on to my waist and hated it when I went out in the evenings is now six feet tall and listens to Pink Floyd.
Monday night it was pouring. Cats, dogs, cows, and water. SG and I took two flimsy umbrellas and walked out in the rain, giggling. Me taking her photographs, and her rejecting a number of them. Half drenched we ran inside, and her dad gave us a towel with a stern look. Her kids who refused to get out in the rain looked at her with total amusement. I got the family to listen to some funny stuff on YouTube. We looked at old photographs and I discovered one with both her and my mom in it. Probably from when I was about a year old.
She asked me on the phone, how could I have been your teacher. It’s unusual, this friendship. I stopped calling her ma’am. I am more vigorous and shameless with my puns. We sometimes trade gossip from the old years, but there’s absolutely no yearning for that arrangement. No nostalgia, just chai.