|The guy who talked the most is the one who had the most peanuts, points Peter.|
Last weekend trip to Corbett Tiger Reserve was significant, despite being, perhaps, the 20th in the last five years. Obviously, I can’t think of any other place to visit particularly with my flatmates.
Peter, my current flatmate, the 16th, has decided to do a trip-report, so I’ll dwell on the non- reportorial aspects of this trip and other such trips in the past. It is customary, almost, to travel to Corbett with my flatmates, former and present—the members of the C500 Club.
So, here I am, sitting in the balcony of my dear friend’s beautiful cottage in Bhimtaal, after a fairly disastrous trip to Corbett, boozing in the company of my two flatmates, Thomas, the 13th, and Peter, as sun descends behind the green mountains. The full-moon blooms, stars glitter in the clear sky, memory of the past fills the present. Conversations ensue. I was trying to be funny. That’s really funny. I was trying to be interesting. That can be distressing. Incoherent, I can get, sometimes slur, of course I’m under the influence, not of alcohol, but of nostalgia.
There’s present, will be past soon. There’s past, will get distant. So much of time has passed between the two--the present and the past. Jan and Arthur were here twice with me, seems like it was just yesterday. Johannes, Baptiste, now Thomas and Peter. Paavo, Irene, Manuel, Tarun or Charlie undertook many admirable journeys in India, but not with me to Corbett.
Last few years of my life are stored in my memory like blocks, in terms of who my flatmates were. When I had none, the intervening period, which is a block in itself, when I was looking for one, is like the dark ages of my recent history.
It’s interesting, and much more, they, my flatmates, are perfect strangers when they arrive, we dwell together, get to know each other, invariably become best of friends, and when they leave, they leave a home in Delhi, my extended family is extended by one. Many have come back. Many want to come back. Many, hopefully, will come back.
I see Thomas and Peter yawn, then force a smile. Despite, I continue the monologue, about the real and the occult—the distinction between the two blurred, I slurred, eyelids became heavy, slumberland beckoned. We slept really well, with our mouth open, though that didn’t prevent us, some of us, or all of us at some point in time, from snoring. I dreamt of a reunion party with my flatmates in Corbett.