It was 1983-84 (maybe earlier) when two friends and I had watched an English movie starring ‘God also does not know who’ in Metro in an emotional state of mind because one of the friend was migrating to Canada.
The hero used to swig out of a hip flask before every action scene and once the movie was over, we scoured the streets looking for one, in the hope that it would be hip and cool.
Only one place had a couple of them and the price was prohibitive – some 3 to 4 months salary of those days. The friend who was leaving promised to get one for each of us once he got a job and came to visit.
Time passed, except the odd talk, there were just memories and suddenly he was back for a quick visit, carry two flasks as promised. Unfortunately during that time the other friend had also migrated to the USA.
The year was 1986-87 and the hip flasks served me well for nearly a decade or more, across my journeys to Calcutta, North East, Bihar, Orissa, Punjab, Chennai, Bangalore, Bangladesh, ASPAC, London, U.S. And many more.
Just like ‘Up in the Air’ the packed bags would always be ready, the satchel or handcarry filled with gifts for people I would meet and the trusty flasks that would assuage guilt, loneliness, delays, tears, happiness.
They were also helpful on road journeys with friends, family as Car-O-Bar.
And boom one fine day One of the flasks was confiscated and thrown away post 9/11. It was as if a friend was taken away. But I consoled myself with the other one. But things changed. Finally that also gave away.
By that time, expectations had grown, N showed me a couple of samples but somehow never liked them. Mehul ordered and said please choose and pick it up, but never got around to it.
I think the nostalgia was more powerful and holding me back, not wanting to replace the memories.
23 May 2015 I got a call from Wajid one of my dearest friend called asking me if I was at home at 2 pm. He wanted to drop off something he had got. As a norm, if one of us travels we pick up some local food stuff for the family and I presumed so.
He came rushing up and handed over a square box and said, we will catch up. K was talking to him and I read the box ‘What the hell?’ The gift took me aback, particularly the thoughtfulness and uniqueness of it all.
Thank you Wajid.