I spoke with a woman called Tahira on the phone this morning during the course of my work. She reminded me of another Tahirae who studied with me in college.
Tahirae & I were in the same class for BA ie. 3 yrs of degree. She was pretty, outgoing with a loud voice which everybody recognized in college. When I say everybody……its like 98% of the college knew her either by Name, Sight, or Voice.
By the end of 1st term we both happened to be in the same gang of eight girls. Though we were in the same gang, she & I just interacted in a general way…..actually we had common friends & so landed in the same friends circle.
She was a bit too hyper-active for my temperament…….. a total extrovert, not afraid to draw attention towards herself but having said that much, I have to add that I was very fond of her……..as she was like the joker in our pack, a sort of mascot for our group.
One day, the 2 of us found ourselves in each other’s company as the rest of them were absent for various reasons. We attended 3 hrs of classes & then we had a 2 hrs break before the next class started. We sat together on a bench in the college grounds & for the first 15 minutes covered all the topics possible on College, Friends, Family, the status of World Affairs, etc. The conversation dried up & we realized that we had nothing much in common.
After a pause, she suggested that we go for a movie.
I was like “Good Idea, but I didn’t carry cash today, you pay today & I’ll pay you tomorrow”.
She looked at me surprised “You know I never have much money with me.”
That fact, I & more than half the college was aware of.
She got up decisively & said “Let’s borrow”
I was like “Do we really need to do this?”
Tahirae turned & gave me a surprised look “you mean, you’d rather we sit here & stare at each other’s face?”
The subject was closed.
I trailed behind her amused & unwillingly……….amused coz anybody who gave money to Tahirae once, never gave her again coz she never believed in the concept of repaying her debts.
But not many could directly refuse to give her what she wanted. She would especially target the Juniors.
She would stare directly into their eyes & say “Look, we want to go for a movie. Lend us some money & we’ll pay you tomorrow”.
Many of them said “Have no money, Tahirae”.
“Ok then just gimme 5 bucks” she would demand & put out her hand.
She led from the front while I tried to merge with the surroundings. Once in a while, she turned back to see if I was behind her & I would beam at her supportively.
Curiously, almost everybody she approached gave her whatever small change they could, apologized that they couldnt spare more & told her not to bother returning it.
At the end of 25 minutes we sat & counted our earnings……….a princely sum of 82 rupees….…more than double our movie cost.
We had lunch first – 2 jumbo burgers at Indiana’s for 28 rupees, watched the movie “Dil Ka Kya Kasoor” [starring…Divya Bharati who died & some vague guy] for 40 bucks[balcony tickets at Galaxy], bought popcorn & pepsi during the interval for 12 bucks & generously donated the remaining money to the 1st beggar who approached us.
We had a really good time & 3½ hrs went by, ever so quickly. Our rapport strengthened & multiplied by the end of the day.
One would quite naturally assume that both of us became better friends based on that day’s event but we very matter-of -factly went back to what we were.
Hadn’t thought of her in many years….surprising how just a Name conjures up a host of memories.
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