Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Remember the book buddy!


First day in a new ‘old’ school,
fears and all the childish whims.
I meet you and what ye do,
make sure I got the welcome cane.


Foes we never could be,
as from then on we are in it – a pair.
The first it was of many to come,
teachers spanked, but together we stood.


Then came the days of love
- of music and of the fairer kind.
Books, cassettes videos and all,
we saw it and learnt it whole.


Remember your finger spins,
and those late night fitness runs.
Those were the days we never cared,
of jobs, life or even losing hair.


Splitting ways – you went on your own,
to learn the art of nursing wounds.
While I stayed put to live a lie,
in the cheap thrills of campus fame.


You became hard and strong,
but remained honest deep inside.
I learnt from you buddy of mine,
to look beyond and dream things big.


I never tried but things changed,
I flew away from the nest I grew.
The day I got a job of worth,
I remember you were amongst the happiest lot.


Up and down, life went on,
you never flinched, as things got bad.
now that you’ve got your call,
to reach the shores were Caesar once ruled.


You will flourish in the Roman land,
and will reach a higher plane.
Look you will to these old days,
Of rains, pains and joking pals.


The you will open this book,
the first you used to learn your new tongue.
“Parla pocessino Italiano,” you’ll smile;
remember this book buddy, Oh yes you will.

- Leslie Xavier
( for Bobby, on the day he left for Italy and a new life - a friend forever. The book mentioned here was a 'learn Italian' book we both had brought to study the language during our college days. Things didn't work out but today when I was searching my dusty table drawer I saw it and thought I would give it to him with  a few lines...)

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Dew Drops

It's just an appreciation of two special friends of mine...

The younger one follows him,
sparks of faith, trust and hope in her eyes.
Things which could only come,
through years, a score, of being around.

It's not the face she reads,
but also the person's thoughts;
who else could get it right,
who else other than his sister own.

Behind him she enters the House of God
- High Noon at Santhome Church.
Prayers, wishes and love all round,
Sibling bond shining through.

I befriend them, talk to them;
but could never figure their silent words.
Thoughts which one would only know;
by knowing the other for "18 years".

Gods sure are smiling on 'em
- they have each other in a lonely world.
But we all seem to have someone,
what matters is whether they'll be there.

That's what makes 'em special so,
big bro he'll always be.
He says it between the spoken lines,
words which I could catch with ease.

They are making my day for sure;
lonely Sunday's will never be there.
Sprinkled care I'm getting now;
sharing smiles of the loving kind.

- Leslie Xavier
(... to a lovely brother-sister pair, Ryan and Madonna)

Friday, April 03, 2009

Noon flight to Bangkok? No! Friends made for each other? Yes!

A normal lunch at an "uptown" restaurant, nothing special happened. Until I realised the person in front of me, my pal, is perhaps not as weird as me, but someone who's just as close, just right and of course, she's a treat beyond words.


To be honest, it probably was not in the league where we could say, "it was an enchanting gourmet trip to Thailand". But for the couple of amateurs that we are, I guess it was fine. We had our Thai lunch, from one of the "good" if not the "best" Thai restaurants in town and we enjoyed it every bit, partly because the food appealed to our taste buds and partly, at least for me, it was a company I cherish.

Well it was yet another Thursday, weekly off, another day to feel lost, as I usually am when my body can't cope with a mind which is still on overdrive, from the previous weeks' up-and-down run in the valley of no return - my office, the ever-alert newsroom cum editorial.

It was time for the weekly rendezvous with my friend to renew the 'lunch connection'.

Checking out the different foodie joints in Chennai is what I do with her and this week the draw went to Thai cuisine and the first name that came to my mind was a small door I see every other day, while going to work.

I usually take the TTK Road while cycling to Nandanam and to my office, just because the trees lining the street protect me from the relentless mid-afternoon Chennai sun. And I sure have noticed the name "Benjarong", which they say is one of the best Thai joints in town.

But is it true? Is Benjarong Thailand personified?  I don't know as I'm not familiar with Thai cuisine and even Thai culture, though I do know a few things about Muay Thai (Thai boxing) and the bicycle I ride is also an import from the South East Asian paradise.

So Bangkok, here we come, albeit in an auto rickshaw, not Thai Airways.

The place itself, when you enter, gives a feeling you can chill, be yourself and have a nice left-to-ourselves lunch.

But then it better be, otherwise who'll bother to go there next time. I know I won't. Because for me, the ‘gastronomical’ journey I undertake with my friend here is rather secondary to the emotional joy-ride I take when I sit opposite her and indulge in talks, ranging from the choir girl I would love to fall for, to how vast her chocolate wrappers collection is.

Yes, I know what is going through everyone's head now. Who is this friend, who's eccentric enough to collect wrappers and end up having a treasure huge enough to fill up the entire cupboard in her room and who fights tooth and nail for it when her roommate tries to clean the mess.

Well, the people who know me think I myself am a weirdo at times. So I guess we are just friends made for each other.

Anyway like I said, we are in this Thai "island" in the middle of "Tam-Bram country" and I am not the least worried whether what we eat is authentic or not. It looks, smells, tastes and even sounds OK to both of us. The food was great. So our gourmet curiosity is satisfied.

But beyond that, the whole experience, at least for me, was not a flight to Bangkok, but a flight to the roof of the room we were lunching in! A trip which showed me my inner self in relation to the special friend opposite me.

A trip I took, when I was sitting in front of her, eating my desert, while she had already finished hers and was eyeing mine with suspicion. Yes shedug into my dessert bowl as well, that’s what makes her special. No cosmetic airs about her at all...

Coming back to the flight; I floated up to the ceiling, had an outer body experience so to speak. I was above the table and I could see us both chit chatting. What are we doing there? No beating around the bush here. I wanted a straight forward answer. So Leslie, what's up doc?

Can't you see? We are finishing our lunch and with it, we are finishing another page of our "Friendship Log". A page which has some weird "leaf and peanut laced in a sweet sauce" appetiser, a chicken starter wrapped all over in bamboo shoots, pan-fried noodles, lamb, and dessert - all Thai style.

But more importantly a page which also had, the speciality of the day - "the chets and molus" fermented in love, the sweetest of ingredients known to any chef, and of course, the words of mutual respect, admiration, and, how can I forget, the small fights...

And yes, the three dots mean the story will never end here, it'll continue, my hope is... for eternity, if not forever.