I just couldn’t believe my ears! Suri calling me after forty long years! Alex Hailey in pursuit of his root is kid story compared to how Suri tracked me down after four decades. Considering our age, we played down our emotions while exchanging pleasantries and comparing our family sizes. About the latter, Suri was closer to Abu Ben Adam than me! Suri and I were together in school for eight long years and shared the same desk in every class. Our friendship was so intense that not seeing each other even for a day would drive us to such despair that would put Damon and Pythias to shame! After the excitement of meeting such a dear friend after four decades settled down to a manageable level, Suri suggested a get together of a few classmates who he had been able to track down. I readily agreed and an auspicious day was marked straightaway for our momentous meeting. There were six of us there all bearing the tell tale marks of the vicissitudes of our journey through life. Each one had a gripping tale to tell and if I had been a gifted storyteller like many of you in IL, I would have had every one of you eating out of my hand narrating the stories that were exchanged that evening. Since no one is aware of my limitations more than I am, I would merely sum up our lives thus far as just run of the mill stuff. Our actions at various stages of our lives were certainly not above board but were not bad enough as to be ranked as skeletons in the cupboard. To tell you the truth, much of the animated conversation that night revolved more around our escapades than our achievements in our respective spheres. In fact, when Suri narrated the good time he had with a young stenographer of his some twenty years back, we could feel a stab of jealousy as if it was happening now. Those of us who did not have as good an escapade to narrate felt a bit embarrassed and attributed it to a lack of opportunity. The drinks that we ordered for the evening were expensive and classy. After all it was celebration time and we were not to crib about the expenses! They also helped us to loosen up a lot and more stories of escapades livened up the proceedings. Hearing all these, I could not help feeling that the positions of respectability we were all enjoying now were so much at variance with the kind of bohemian life we had in the past. But to be honest with you, the position of respectability is more like a crown of thorns than a halo and left to ourselves, we would be happier without it. It cramped our style and placed lot of restrictions on our thinking and actions. When the bearer came to take our order in an attempt to wean us from the liquid to solid diet, I ordered for my favourite vegetable sizzler and ginger gobi. At the end of the party which was almost close to mid night, we were all quite high. We agreed to meet more often and one of the more adventurous even suggested a getaway by the beachside for old time’s sake. When he winked at us, we all knew instantly what he had in mind and grinned in broad agreement! It was a bit surprising that there was not even a hint of protest from anyone. Finally, as we got into our respective limousines, we had intense feelings of nostalgia and feverish expectations. We drove back home to continue with our dull and eventless routine. The whole house was asleep when I tottered in and soon I was sleeping like a child in the comfort of my bedroom. When the day dawned again, I woke up early as usual and after my fitness routine, I had my refreshing bath and after paying my customary devotions to God, I made my entry into the drawing room. The recollections of my early life had taken me quite a distance from the reality of the present and I had difficulty in adjusting myself to the sage-like image I had created at home and outside. My daughter barged in dragging her son with her and complained that he was not saying his prayers regularly and even removed his sacred thread at times. She was anguished that the grandson of a venerable and erudite person like me should choose to follow a bohemian life style! I pacified her and took the boy aside. For the next one hour, I gave him a long lecture about our culture, the family heritage and the right and the wrong. And I found it quite an effort to focus on my lecture with my mind drifting to the visions of the ‘getaway’ I was planning to have with my friends!