It is the 25th of March, 2010. The time is around 5 PM. The last paper of the Board Exams had just ended today.
‘Before he leaves, all three of us must write down our names together somewhere in this room such that it remains imprinted there forever, for all the future occupants of this room,’ Bangali told me. Yeah, everyone ought to know the legendary story of the 3 people who once lived here!
|Room #303, Boys Hostel, DPS Vasant Kunj, New Delhi|
Right now, we were standing outside the hostel gates waiting for Hitman to get the out pass signed from the warden and come here to the car. His luggage was loaded. He came around soon. A slow round of goodbyes and hugs followed. He got into his car and left.
I knew it right then that I was going to miss this guy. What I didn’t know was that I wouldn’t be seeing him again...
More than 3 and half years have passed since my 12th Board Exams ended. From a time when I, and virtually everyone (that includes my 5 hostel-mates- Bangali, Hitman, Dr.Cricketer, Abhi‘neta’ and Flubber), had no clue what we were going to do in case we all managed to cross that big ‘board exam’ hurdle succesfully, to a time when we all have almost decided what’s going to be good for us and are doing something or the other which is well, good for us, it’s been one hell of a long journey. The best part of this story- we, the 3+3 Idiots, had no clue 3 and half years ago what we were going to do and right now we are not sure what exactly the future holds for us (Well, who am I kidding?), but those two years that we spent together, they were legend…
wait for it…
So one day last week here I am sitting at my room after a not-so-tiring day at college and browsing wearily through my facebook newsfeed. I get a chat message. It is Hitman. He asks me if I am free a week from now and if I would like to meet him. I laugh. All my plans of meeting him had hardly ever seen the light of day and all his plans of meeting me had well, been postponed indefinitely by him! And so, we haven’t met ever since he left the gates of the hostel. If I remember correctly, a total of 2 times we have spoken over the phone, during and after his 2-year hibernation period and the only conversations we have had have been some facebook chats.
You might be wondering what the hell I am trying to say. Or probably, where the hell is this story leading to. Well, wait for it; let me try and get to it soon!
So yes, the chatline from Hitman. I immediately start a group chat with Hitman and Bangali and name it ‘Three-O-Three’. A not very long but significant chat follows. I tell Hitman, ‘In case this happens for real, which I really doubt, I am going to dedicate a blog entry to you.’ He laughs. And it is decided, a week from today, the three of us are going to meet, well, finally!
Yes, I am excited. But I am not telling it to anyone until it happens- what if again it gets jinxed?
When the three of us had been at the hostel, together, the situations had been sometimes so weird and so strange. Hitman and I were classmates. Bangali was in another section. The three of us were the only Computer Science boys hostellers. We were roommates. We were Dark-room players. We were ‘Switch off the lights, tell a horror story, and be scared to go to the washroom alone’ buddies. We were the ‘Goosebumps’ reading competitors. There was just one slight problem. While Bangali bonded well with both of us, Hitman and I shared an almost ‘Given a chance, I would kill you’ bond. We hated each other. Well, at least for the major part of our stay in Room #303.
|The School Farewell, 29th January 2010; DPS Vasant Kunj, New Delhi|
It had been a really stupid thing that had started our cold war right in the very first weeks of our entry into the hostel. Well, let me not get into the details there. What is important here is even after our definite number of trials to sort things between us, somewhere or the other, something or the other, almost all the time made sure that we follow the properties of our ‘bond’ strictly. Damn Chemistry!
As the time of our leaving the hostel crept in, we grew more mature (That’s what we thought, we were at the end of our school lives!) Even two enemies left together in the same cell for a couple of years would grow a fondness for each other right? Well, I am not sure about that but yeah, something like that did happen to us. We did add a few more properties to our bond, mostly unintentionally. Eventually, well, the board exams were over and we were out of the hostel.
Almost a month after that, we met on a facebook chat. For the first time, we talked about things that now actually made sense to both of us. We laughed at how stupid we both had been. We regretted the angry times we had spent together. I had always given priority to all of my other hostel-mates, not even thinking once about him. I had never valued that bond, our friendship. The innumerable times quoted quote ‘You understand the value of something once you lose it’ was materialising.
Over the coming months and well, years, Hitman vanished, appearing only a few times suddenly, with surprises. (He even started a blog!) These were times when both of us would chat endlessly about how things have been. Now and then I would learn about something new that I haven’t told him, but he knew about me and then he would try to give me super-philosophical-gyaan. All I would do is urge him to come out of his semi-hibernation and meet me ASAP. Yeah, this meeting was important and something I seriously looked forward to.
Since leaving the hostel I have met Bangali, Abhi‘neta’ and Flubber a few times. Dr.Cricketer has been in touch over phone and has constantly said, ‘I might be coming to Delhi soon’ but hasn’t yet [:P]. I shared a very good bond with all of them when I was in the hostel and it has carried till today. The only thing that changed was my relation with Hitman. I wanted to meet him. Talk to him. Live the good old days all over again. Because, somewhere I do believe that had we not been the kind of roomies that we were, the course of history would have been drastically different! True Story!
It is the 9th of November, 2013. The time is around 8 PM. Bangali and I are in the Metro, on our way to meet Hitman.
‘I am not going to believe that this is really happening until I see him standing right in front of me’, I tell Bangali.
We get off from the metro. Exit the gates. Climb down the staircase. There he is, standing, waiting for us- Hitman. THIS IS THE EPIC 303 REUNION I HAVE BEEN LOOKING FORWARD TO FOR SO MANY YEARS! IT’S ACTUALLY HAPPENING!
What follows is nearly 24 hours of the best moments of my life which includes endless hours of talks, including a phone call appearance by Dr.Cricketer and late entry by Flubber. I was happy. Extremely.
|Jab 'We' Met, 9-10 November 2013|
Later, back at home, I told Hitman, ‘I am proud to have known you as my roomie’. He asked why. I couldn’t explain, not even to myself.
I forced Bangali to send me all our self-obsessed pictures of the day immediately. I had something on my mind. You know, ever since First Frame happened, I have been telling people that it was the biggest and the most life-changing event of my life. There was nothing else that I could rate at a scale higher than I would rate the moment when I entered the auditorium from the backstage after the event and everyone welcomed me with a thunderously huge round of applause; or probably the moment when the Director of my college pointed at me and said that my dedication was one of the biggest reasons that she let us conduct the festival at the first place. I was proud. Four months of hardwork without giving the slightest thought to my personal life, did give yield! The photograph that I had with my team members became the Cover Photo of my Facebook timeline and it has stayed that way ever since. Only something that is ‘bigger’ and ‘grander’ than First Frame, can take the place of this photograph, that’s what I have believed. Yes, right now I had something on my mind.
I skimmed through the photos that Bangali sent. I chose one particular picture- one which defined the present moment and at the same time, in a way that I guess (and hope) only the three of us would understand, represented the legendary story of our days in Room #303. It didn’t feel for a second that we had met after so many years, no awkwardness or silent moments that even the best of friends tend to have at times on meeting after several years because they haven’t known what’s going on in each other’s lives. But at the same time, there was a superb level of what I would like to term as ‘maturity’. I did wish for a moment that we could have had a similar time in Room #303 all those years ago. But right now nothing mattered. I was happy. I love these guys! I was proud for being a part of the legendary tale of Room #303!
And in case you were wondering, this is my Facebook Cover photo from this moment on…
|When Legends Meet- The EPIC 303 Reunion; 9-10 November 2013|