‘Cholae Aasun. Kono problem hobae na. Shobai besh milae mishey thakbo’, said the person with honest, friendly eyes from the doorstep. Roughly translated it means’ Come over and stay with us. There won’t be any problems and we would have a good time together’.
We were looking for a rented accommodation; my third rented house in Kolkata after being told by my previous landlord that I would have to vacate my present place of stay. After the usual running about with the brokers, we got a link to one apartment through the internet.
It was on Sunday afternoon that my father and I had gone to have a look at the same. We liked the housing complex but we were on two minds whether to freeze our choice then and there. As we were discussing about the car parking space (which the landlord did not have), the same friendly gentleman popped out of nowhere and offered me his space with this invitation.
There was something in his voice and demeanour which was warm and personal. We decided on the flat then and there.
It was my start of a great friendship with Ratanda; a man with a heart bigger than
! Howrah Bridge
We shifted a couple of days before the Durga Puja and on the day of the puja, a strange thing happened. A familiar face from the memory emerged and after a lot of brainstorming and digging back into the hard disc of the mind, I found back my college mate Jayanta. And just imagine, he was married to Sarbari, another college mate of mine. Suddenly, the new apartment was something familiar and I started feeling a home. The rekindled friendship developed and blossomed everyday till we were all part of one big ‘soul group’.
Days passed and my new family grew. Gouri(wife of Ratanda) became buddies with my wife sharing titbits about shopping, cooking, dresses, handsome hunks and what not! Her cooking skills made her apartment our favourite party joint and together they really made my aged parents feel comfortable.
There was the elegant Sharmishta, educated and suave (without whose help my passport wouldn’t possibly have been done within 48 hours); there were her parents whose company made my parents fill up their friends list; there was Indrajit and Pinki, the young couple adding a zing to the forties team; there was Nirmalda and Boudi , planning innumerable short trips to picnic spots which remain etched in memory ; there was Sajal and Anindita , the multitalented couple ; there was Debasish and Debolina, the couple personifying bravery and above all there was a bunch of lovely, energetic, warm and fabulously talented kids Raja, Kuchi, Titli, Mitul and Neha, who made the life at Regent Grace such beautiful and fulfilling. My parents doted on them.
Yes Regent Grace!!!!
Two and half years passed like a dream. There was fun , games, picnics, Durga and Saraswati pujas, Holi and Diwali, daily addas and parties (planned and impromptu) and there was a zest for the daily life. There were thorns too! Awkward moments and unpleasant incidences! But the thrill and laughter trod upon these hiccups like an elephant in a sugarcane field.
Today, I have shifted to my own flat – located at a new place and away from Regent Grace. It’s a bigger apartment, fitted mostly to our taste and above all it’s owned by us. It’s an apartment of our dreams. The complex is bigger and probably has more amenities.
But the first week hasn’t been comfortable at all!! We are missing you all dear friends. So I never said Goodbye to you!! It’s only ‘Phir Milengey aagley party mein’ or better still ‘When is the next adda, friends? Count us in. Just remember that your Block II, Flat 2B is located just a few kilometres away.’