So Ashma and I survived our college years. We began our careers in different places in different companies. We remained in touch extensively because obviously we could not do without that. Gradually things at my work front started deteriorating. I took a leap of faith and ventured to Bangy where Ashu was located to look for fresh opportunities. Ashu welcomed me into her home. She never let me pay a dime for all the expenses that occurred over the span of 2 weeks that I was there. It was very nice to simply be with her and in her presence. We used to have our morning breakfast together. I was friends with her room mates, so we would spend some time studying. Then I would go to the nearby internet café to apply for jobs (Yes internet was not a household phenomenon then), since the job market kept changing every day. Evenings Ashu came earlier because I was there. I used to be surprised at the amount of hard work she used to put in. She is a very lazy person. I used to joke that she can not keep herself vertical for more than 60 seconds and ends up lying down on a sofa or reclining against some body. Yet she was a go-getter at work. Just seeing her function around anything related to office, I could imagine how serious she would be at her work place. She used to pack her days so that she could be home with me earlier. After making and having dinner together, we used to watch some TV.(I know we sound like an old odd couple :D ) A couple of days into this routine, we started taking a walk after dinner. That is I am sure any sort of physical activity Ashma has every engaged in. Yup – she is too lazy(which I have just stated :D ) when it comes to doing anything related to fitness but very proactive in bemoaning her lack of the same! She used to live in a very posh area of the city. During our walks, we used to marvel at the exquisite houses there. Many seemed vacant and we used to think of the whereabouts of the owners. We would spend our hour long walks thinking if some house might be haunted or some house might be having people inside with all the lights switched off, or some might be teeming with servants to look after. We reminisced a lot about a similar locality in Rourkela where we studied and we were amazed how we had paid attention to the same houses! We were too attuned to each other. We still are. So much so Ashu says we don’t need to talk! In spite of it, we did and still do spend hours talking!
Weekends I had the support of Ashu and K as I went for walk in interviews. They would wait outside in the scorching sun hoping for a smile on my face as I came out. I was always slated to disappoint them. A change of job was not destined to happen during those days no matter how much I tried. They were always up to cheer me up with ice cream or coffee or cakes. Ashu introduced us to the most earth shattering sundae 'Death by Chocolate' at a local café near her house. It is still a hot favourite of K and mine. I remember years later when K and I made a trip to Bangy in late 2008, we made sure we booked time to have a date with DBC.
Ashu and I have moved on, had families, changed cities and continents. Yet the bond remains. I am a fan of her laid back and go with the flow nature. It would take quite a lot to ruffle her feathers. What comes along with it is her total lack of malice for anyone else. I have never seen her be jealous of somebody else's progress, take a stab at anyone personally or be vindictive or judgemental. She reinstates my belief in the fact that good things ultimately happen to good people. Ashma is definitely one of the few genuinely good people I know. Bless her!