“the most beautiful discovery that true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.” A great saying by Elizabeth Foley makes a lot of sense to me now. Last Saturday, 4th February was the day when my good old friend Danny got married. That’s not his real name. that’s what we called him. All of us who stayed in Sri Venkateshwara Boys’ Home, Park Road, Chennai in 2000/2001. In higher secondary school register his name was Alpheus Danson Sigamony.
Danny and I met in SBOA school hostel during the academic year 2000. I was away from home for the first time and hated everything around me. The bizarre world of non- malayalees around, scared me!! I was intimidated to even go and talk to anyone. The hostel dormitory was a nightmare and the bathrooms had no locks. Nepali and bihari students dirtied the toilets and most often I had to bathe in public along with many other boys. Shame and self respect were trying hard to find its space and that’s when I met Danny.
Danny is basically from Orissa who speaks Oriya, telugu, tamil, hindi, English & understands Malayalam coz his grand parents are from kerala. We met in the hostel study room through a common mallu friend and a couple of days later, he showed me a paper ad. It was about a private hostel outside SBOA school – only limited no: of students, no out pass system, no strict rules – it was perfect!!! I was looking for an option to jump coz even my under garments were stolen from the school hostel!!
Danny, myself and Aluru Rajesh [another good old Sboa friend] accommodated ourselves into the boys’ home which literally changed my life. I believe every guy or girl should experience hostel life atleast once. It’s where u grow into the person u r. The friendships, quarrels, humiliations, secrecies, revelations, ambitions.. this is the place for everything. Danny and Rajesh are actually the people because of whom I learnt to dream. They were so damn good creatively that I also aspired to be something. I still remember the nights before internal exams when all of us would sit and chat where danny would also be there. He ll have his text book in hand but ll be actively involved in all the gossips and discussions while occasionally grazing through the text book. Around 10 30 pm, we would end the gossip sessions and start preparing for the internals. Danny instead would go to sleep. He would have learnt everything amidst all the heated conversations. And he would come first in class. I used to hate that!!
12 years later, last Saturday on 4th feb, I was going for Danny’s wedding. From the hustle and bustle of Kochi, I drove into the less crowded Pala, from there to a quieter Kuttikkaanam, again up the hills into Peerumedu and finally reached my destination. Paambanaar!! That’s where danny’s grand parents are from. That’s where he was getting married.
Paambanaar looked like a fictitious place with awesome climate, small small shops back dropped by a tea estate; more beautiful than any hilly area I ve ever been to in Kerala. I was 20 mins late, so as soon as I reached, I ran into the St. James CSI church. It was the most beautiful wedding I ever saw. The hall was packed so I had to stand outside. Ceremony had already started and thankfully nobody recognized me there. I wouldn’t know if anyone did because I was just looking at danny and his bride, Sylvia. In two minutes I saw the ring exchange and then the rest of the marriage formalities. There was a light piano playing in the hall and the choir group sang all the “sangeerthanams” so beautifully. I stood there for almost forty minutes and I traveled time and space with so many memories flashing one after the other right in front of me. I never thought I ll be this happy for anyone. I prayed to god that they both should have a great marriage.
Danny & I are not the kind of friends who meet every now and then, call up and enquire the whereabouts but deep inside we have always preserved a lot of love and respect for each other. may be that’s y I am this happy for him. A few months back when I met him in chennai, he told me that he has not watched any of my films and that he wishes to watch one with me someday. In july 2012, when my next directorial film releases, if the Friday reports are good, I would watch the movie on Saturday with danny as he wished. I ve got to be more careful this time… danny is going to watch it!!
sri venkateshwara boys’ home, park road, chennai. 🙂