The process of growing up is intriguing if you don't see the subject grow up in front of your eyes. And this is so especially in the case of childhood friends (yeah, girls), who turn out to be totally, absolutely unlike their earlier selves as kids. Funnily enough, I don't know if many of you have observed, girls who don't so much as raise eyebrows as kids, tend to blow you off your mind when they grow up into fine young women.
As a kid, I used to be friends with a lot of neighborhood girls. And you know how it is right, the 'wonder-years' kinda atmosphere where you trade loyalties and even love interests for tops (the spinning ones) and marbles? Well, we used to live in a colony and there was this pesky, spectacled girl who was NOT a tomboy (as we see the transformation in bollywood movies), but more like plainer than plain Jane in her appearance. She was the no-nonsense types who could turn you to pulp with her candidness. There were other pretty girls in class who the guys would give up their marble games for, but this one - uh huh..she didn't garner enough interest. And she wasn't bothered either.
As someone who used to participate in a lot of these school plays and functions, I used to be the butt of major ribbing when it came to her. She was a good dancer ( but required a can of makeup to make her presentable onstage, so you get my drift)..And without her specs on she was...well, let's just leave it at that - don't wanna be impolite to her in case she happens to read this (duh!). And more often than not, we'd end up backstage arguing about something or the other, with her having the last word of course. But none of the other kids saw that. They only saw us onstage smiling and laughing and acting out our parts. (Now you know how those rumors about filmi pairs start, hmm?) It was frustrating, these teasers from classmates, cause I didn't want to be even mentioned alongside her name, forget having her as my girlfriend.
Years later, by which time I didn't even remember someone like that existed in my childhood, in the first year of college, I happened to spot her in Bangalore. In a bookstore. Imagine, of all the places. She recognized me first (don't ask me how) and walked up to me.
Wow, this is some girl.
Make that a trillion wows, she thinks I know her.
"Umm...sorry, I don't..." Sheepish smile. Followed by some serious memory jogging. I must've lost 10 kgs if I were really jogging that hard.
"Reena? Ummm..." Sheepish smile returns. It's embarrassing.
"From Jaduguda. Remember? The school plays..?"
A million light bulbs go up inside of my head. You could play cricket in this flood light.
"Aaaah! What a pleasant surprise. How come here?" What am I saying? I should say - where were you all my life???
"I..my fiance lives here. We're moving to the US in a couple of months."
Now she tells me. Well, to cut a long story short, we small-talked for a while, exchanged addresses, phone nos. etc etc etc..and she was out of the bookstore and my life faster than I could say Reena.
For a minute I thought, is this the same Reena? How do girls manage to do that? How do they manage to transform from plain janes to fairies?
And how come they always recognize you? Speaks a lot about OUR change, huh? And how come they always get engaged or married to someone else?
Well, anyway....that's that..
*Name changed to protect Reena's privacy.