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It’s been now almost three weeks since appa flew down to Chennai to stay with me. This followed a development on the personal front, when Mr. Hubby took up a new job in Jamshedpur. I had to stay back owing to the impending end of long term WFH. Anyway, I digress.

An old friend of appa had invited us for tea. Since Perumbakkam is not far from where we stay, we agreed.

I’ve never seen him. I don’t have any inkling of his immediate family. But I had to accompany appa. So, I braced myself for an afternoon of passive listening.

I was wrong!

The two hours just flew by. And 99% of the talking was done by me, the son & the daughter in law. As kakima said in the end, amra shudhu shrota roye gelam. We just remained listeners.

Never have I enjoyed myself so much in Chennai before. That too, with complete strangers. But were they? No. How could they? When the Bong residing in us took over, it was a full blown adda. We talked about food (why am I even surprised?), fish (only a vegetarian from Kolkata can obsess over maach), politics (come on, it runs in our blood), and kalchaar (culture, sillies). And all this, while sipping on doodh cha and biting into samosas and puffs (we reminisced about the shingara, rolls & chops).

As the hand of the clock veered towards 6, we got up unwillingly. An unforgettable afternoon came to an end. It was then we realised that the two old friends had hardly exchanged a word. But none complained. For new bonds had been forged during those two hours.

Work constraints might prove to be a hurdle for an encore, but the memories of cha, khawa dawa (snacks) and bangla bhasha in a Tamil speaking city will linger on, like the bittersweet farewell of Maa Durga!

P.C – Kabir Cheema from ‘Unsplash’

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