The usual clutter prevails between the ears. I am trying to make up my mind on which colony of thoughts I should write about.
A is leaving town. He is a much loved colleague and we decided to give him a send-off party. He would continue to work with the company but in another town with other people. He is a valued member of my direct team and is honest, reliable & diligent. Not once in the last few years have I heard a "no" from him for any work asked of him no matter what the time lines. So, its only natural that I am sad to see him go. But this is what he wanted. He wanted to be closer home to his folks. Am happy that we could make this happen for him.
I had left the city two years ago and only visit the branch when meetings are scheduled. This send off party brought back the old sense of security one feels amongst old friends. Surprisingly this is one branch where inter/ intra departmental politics have little space. These guys believe in having fun together. I haven't laughed as much as I did last evening for months. I thought about what makes one set of people stick. Maybe, it has to do with the fact that one always wants to be with those where one has most fun. What makes these guys unique is not the absence of things needing correction; rather its the atmosphere where light humor (and sometimes heavy humor) is used to convey precisely what is being objected to. I was offered a box of sweets by the office boy. I enquired about the occasion and the person who has taken the initiative for the same. Was surprised by B when he said - "S Madam is quitting, so I am distributing sweets". I laughed and blinked at the outrageous audacity of this guy. He laughed back and said - I have announced this many times that when s Madam will quit, I will distribute sweets. Every one was chuckling and I was trying to imagine the scenario being repeated given that the lady in question has put in her papers for the fourth time (as I was told amongst peals of laughter).
However, at A's farewell party B chose not to drink and saved himself from being the butt of many jokes and kept quiet. Deathly quiet. Strange fellows. I can't understand them. Then there was this other guy who never said a word since he arrived. Promptly had three stiff ones and then suddenly when we had forgotten he was around, he got up and in that small bunch of people looked straight at me and said - Madam! you know... I love Bengalis!!! I am not saying this because my boss is a bengali but I really love bengalis. Madam I am from bihar but when I take leave from work I first go to West Bengal. You know why?? Because that is the only place in the world where a man can eat a full meal of fish curry rice in ten bucks! But madam I am not saying this because my boss is a bengali. (His boss - another good friend - was sitting right next to me and laughing.)
In all this tamasha someone called A and said why don't you sing. A who is usually rather shy, agreed almost immediately and sang that old fav - "Baat niklegi to phir door talak jayegi". More than his voice it was his expressions and body language that took me by surprise. He was so totally into it. I had a face-splitting grin on the whole time. Of course A didn't stop at one song.
We had stuffed ourselves with starters but now it was time to eat dinner. Later the good byes and farewell hugs and speeches got longer, Eyes were watery, more hugs and more sweet words, more stories of episodes in drunken stupor in other parties and then it was time to perilously ride our bikes back home!
I was horribly beyond the curfew time. But you know what they say about home - when you come home, they let you in.