“Happy birthday, pataka!” I screamed into the phone.
I heard Dave’s hearty, unabashed laugh and he said, “Only you can come up with such words.”
He has an infectious laugh, similar to those who make us feel hungry instantly just by the way they eat. And that’s not all. He is an amazing storyteller and knows how to add humor like a seasoned cook who adds just about enough spices to get that zing on your tongue.
Just when I thought our phone conversation was drifting towards the boring “what else?” kind of brain-freeze talk and my whining about my financial obligations and how to wriggle out of it, he told me about Sambi Reddy’s story.
Sambi Reddy was a simple, quiet guy who enjoyed his anonymous status in the gang. The sorts who would hang out with the gang in the college canteens, enjoy his chai and samosa and listen to the talks without much to contribute. Belonging to the mighty Middle Class of this country who are plagued with herd mentality, he too joined MBA in a local college in Guntur. You know, the kind of college where one is sure to get a seat if the entire world turns you down?
The friends scattered owing to their “higher studies” but they made it a point to meet at least once a year. Again, while everyone had some funny anecdote to add (mostly exaggeration), Sambi Reddy listened over his cup of tea and samosa. After all, what fun can one expect in a small town other than watching a first day first show.
Two years went by like that. Friends met again after the studies. Most of them got placements and looked excited, at least they pretended to be. But Sambi Reddy was yet to figure out what next.
At the next reunion at the same tea stall at the street corner….
A smartly dressed Sambi Reddy got down from his new car, waved at his friends while busy talking over the phone. There was an awkward silence among the friends. But Sambi Reddy, still the simple boy but no longer quiet, embraced his friends. “How did this happen?” Asked one of the friends, unable to believe the transformation his friend went through.
Sambi Reddy’s father bought three acres of land in the interior of Guntur some light years away at a very low price as that’s all he could afford. With the new capital coming up in Andhra Pradesh, Sambi Reddy, the only son is now worth Rs 15 crores, if not more. Sambi Reddy sold one acre, set up his business and has built a good network of who’s who in the area.
No, the money has not messed up his brain. He is still the simple, down to earth guy who hangs out with his college friends.
If somebody asked me if I wished a fairy tale ending to my life. Hell yes! I want the Sambi Reddy kind of fairy tale…no, not some rich guy coming in his shiny car. I want to be the Sambi Reddy of my story. .
A house overlooking the vast blue ocean with waves singing the same song again and again. I will continue to dream about my “happily ever after”.