A few days ago I read this gruesome news item which led me to a long lost friend.
The suburban railway station Chetpet mentioned in the report brought back memories of a friend with whom I had lost contact after an accidental meeting in 1964.
Let me start at the beginning.
SK and I were classmates between 1954 and 1958 and the school we studied in was adjacent to Chetpet station. SK’s home was also close by along the railway tracks. I had often gone to his home during lunch breaks and have very pleasant memories of his mother fussing over both of us and feeding us. In 1958 both of us got our school leaving certificates and moved on in our separate ways. I went off to Hyderabad while SK stayed on in Chennai then known as Madras. By 1965 when we again met accidentally on a main arterial road of Chennai, we had both been in employment, SK as a banker and I as a salesman. During that accidental meeting, both of us retired to a famous restaurant on Mount Road in Chennai for some coffee and catching up with each other. We parted ways again with me going off to Ahmedabad to Business School and he to continue his career as a banker.
Reading about the Chetpet station assault brought back memories of SK and I decide to see if I can reconnect with him and asked some banker friends in Chennai for help. Nothing was forthcoming when I remembered that my cousin SS was also a banker who spent his initial years in the same back as where SK was working. I contacted my cousin who in turn referred me to another ex colleague SV, who fortunately, had retired to live in Pune where I live. SV gave me a telephone number and suggested that if that was not the same SK that I was looking for he would at least be able to help me find my friend’s where and / or what-abouts.
I called that number and was totally zapped to find that it was indeed my old classmate SK on the line and after 54 years both of us caught up with each other with the assurance that we would be in regular touch now that social media makes it so easy.
The Topic of this post however is to express my amazement at the two instances of remarkable memory.
When I rang up SV as suggested by my cousin, I introduced myself by name and before I could say anything else, SV promptly said “cousin of SS from Bombay”. Apparently, when my cousin was in Bombay in the late sixties when I too was there for a few months undergoing training with my employer then and he and SV were in the same branch where he had met me once. And that was in 1967 and he remembered the name after 52 years!
When I reestablished contact with SK and said that we last met in 1965 he said yes, he distinctly remembered the occasion, the name of the restaurant where we had coffee and he particularly remembered my having black coffee which was unusual in Madras of those days where the famous degree/filter coffee was and is the more popular option.
Do you now see my exclamation in the topic of this blog post? Amazing is it not?