8:45 pm Andheri Local
"Hey, You are Shanu right? From ****** school at Andheri? Remember me?? I am Eliza."
I gave her a broad smile while my mind started hunting through the various names I had stored under the School section in my brain. Its in times like these, that you wish life was like Google..Bas enter the name and you have all the information you need about the person right from her date of birth to how she looks to details of why you are no longer in touch.
The window seat in the class was her favorite. It allowed her to stare out at the traffic going by and on rainy days splashed drops of cold water on her. Chotu Shanu went to school in a time when the classrooms weren’t air conditioned like they are now..it was the rickety old fan that tried its best to keep the kids cool but failed miserably.
Her neighbor, a long black haired girl nudged her and they giggled. Eliza was her best friend. They shared their tiffins in the recess and played together during PT.
Eliza wasn’t like the other girls in her class. Some things about her were different..like her pretty grey eyes and her long hair..and the million lice that called it their home. The lice would jump around merrily while Shanu watched in fascination. It was like a little kingdom on her friend’s head. A couple of huge ones were called King and Queen while the chotu motus were the servants.
While Shanu played with Eliza and her lice, Shanu’s mommy spent a fortune buying Medicare to get rid of the lice that Shanu merrily brought home with her everyday. A million shampoos and 3 complaint letters to Medicare (to complain about the poor quality of their products) later, her mom gave up. Finally, it was time for the schools to close for summer and the lice finally left Shanu’s head in peace.
“You don’t remember me?? We were bench partners in Std III after which I moved to Canada. We were together again in Std IX remember?”
Shanu looked at the new girl who walked up to her in the canteen..she didn’t look like she was new here. The girl squealed “Shanu, don’t tell me you don’t recognize me!! I am Eliza..we were in the same class in Std III”
Shanu gave her a broad smile while her brain started hunting through the various names she had stored under Std III.
“Uff, this heat is making my hair all ichy and irritating the lice in my hair.” She said.
Shanu, who no longer found lice and their kingdom fascinating, suddenly remembered Eliza and the bottles of Medicare. Medicare smelled yucky..no way was she spending another school year using Medicare to shampoo her hair. No, she was way too cool for that.
That year, the school was buzzing with gossip about the not so new girl Eliza with the mini Lice kingdom in her head, who would remove her socks the minute she entered the class and folded her skirt an inch above the mandatory length. All this in an effort to fit in..and yet nothing was done about the lice and the havoc it played in the life of her bench partner that year.
Search ended…486897 memories found
I beamed “Ahh Eliza, of course I remember you” I said, while I stared at her in surprise. Her beautiful hair framed her heart shaped face and her grey eyes twinkled when she smiled.
I quietly moved from the seat next to her to the seat opposite. It was a great ride back home that day… with loads of catching up and trading loads of gossip about all our ex school mates. I reached home, Medicare in hand, pleasant and happy memories rekindled and most importantly, with the old, not so pleasant ones deleted. :)