Today I am reminded about Geeta. Donno why but today after so many years I am reminded of her. We grew up in the same place. We studied at the same school. We were born some years apart. She being senior to me by some years. Our families were friends and we met at all functions socially – at her place or at mine….. we met regularly at school. We spent the maximum time together on our own during Durga Puja which we invariably spent catching up with other friends and talking about our futures etc etc.
Geeta was awesome!!! She was very talented. I don’t know anybody who is so good in crafts like her. There was hardly any type of stitching or craft that she did not know of – from making laces in different pins to making stuff with wires to embroideries to knitting sweaters and making table cloths of lace. She knew it all and she was very neat in her work and very quick too. She used to make sweaters all by herself when she was just in school. She did her BSc from Fergusson College and then took up working in the corporate sector….. but never gave up her hobby. Later she finally did her Diploma in fashion designing….. something she was saving very hard to do and something she always wished she could do.
We used to have our jokes….. lots of them…. we always laughed and laughed a lot. All the time giggling or just amused. A very down to earth person, she always called a black pot black…. I have never seen her say anything otherwise. She was vivacious and full of life and was really very enthusiastic about life and everything in general. The best thing about Geeta was that I never ever heard her speak bad of anybody and her perspective towards life was so amazing I always held her in very high esteem.
When I was in college…. precisely in my first year of BCom…. I worked with her for a very long period of time. We worked in a Placement office. Though our job profiles were so different (me in marketing and she in admin) she used to give me tips on how i could improve. Sometimes she used to come with me in the field. We really did hell lot of business together. I used to really enjoy working with her. At her job as well she was really good.
I remember this joke of ours we used to have when we were in our twenties…. and our parents were looking for eligible partners for us (arranged marriage). She used to say “Main taklu se shaadi nahi karoongi”…..I will not get married to a baldy (her dad was bald) and I used to tease her with anybody who didn’t have any hair or whose father was bald (genetically he would get bald as well in the future) and all the proposals that would come for her would be of guys who had less hair or whose dad were balding and she would say “at least shaadi ke din baal hona chahiye” he should at least have hair on the wedding day. I would tease her that bald people are very rich (a saying in Bengali). She would say that she could live without the money.
We were of the same height and built and drove the same model of two wheeler and people used to often mistake one for the other. I sometimes never wore my helmet as it was bulky to be carried around and I used to forget about it…. but she never did that…. she never left her home without her helmet. I once met with a serious accident in Shankarsheth Road (People who know me from Pune will know that me having accidents is normal) Unlike other accidents where there were minor scrapes I had got a bad cut on my head…. lot of bleeding, concussion, and several stitches. I remember her screaming at me for not being careful and not living on earth and that I should come down from my pink cloud and walk with mortals.
Its not that we knew everything about each other but we were very close…. she was very reserved where her family was concerned. A very caring daughter and a very caring big sister to her two younger brothers. Her parents were very proud of her….. specially her mother…. which is quite unlike the Bengali community where sons are given more precedence. (not any longer though) I used to love hanging out with her. She was a great pal. She was very happy when she finally got engaged to be married to the guy chosen by her parents. I had teased her a lot about checking the guy’s hair…. in case it was not original….. and even suggested ways to do that.
It was the monsoon time and we had torrential rains in Pune…. there was thunder and lightning and as it is with Pune…… a little rain and the electricity zonks out….. there was a black out that night. In the morning I was awoken by my dad that Geeta had not reached home. The very next moment another phone call said that her body was found on the road side…. she had been dead for hours. She fell of the bike and since she had not worn her helmet she succumbed to her injuries.
I was shocked….. I could not believe it…. She was getting married in two months time. It was the first time in my life that I had lost someone whom i was close to. I really could not believe that a person who is so full of life is no longer there. It was the first time in my life i ever lost somebody to death. It was the first time I felt what it was to not see another person again….. I have lost touch with lots of my friends over the years but always I knew that they are there around…. this was my first lesson at death…….. Whenever I am in Pune in Durga Puja I look for places we spent time together in…. the places have changed but not my memories of her in them.
Whenever her mom looks at me she just starts to cry…. probably because we were a lot alike!!! She always tells me to stop driving my two wheeler and stick to four wheelers…. I smile at that but silently assure her that today I never drive without my helmet!!!!
I totally agree Pune roads are so bad that I dont know anybody who is a regular driver and has not met with an accident. It is truly a very sad state of affairs…. donno about development but it is very sad…. lost a lot of my friends to pune roads since Geeta.
In my college days( in the 60’s) the problem with Pune traffic was bicycles. Today it is the two wheelers and rash car drivers. Now Mumbai is following suit, and motorcycle drivers drive in a mad rush everywhere, totally unconcerned about pedestrians. Somewhere, an accident is just waiting to happen. And this is supposed to be progress ?
thanks parag !!!
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