Guest Blog Post: My Everest
Who better to follow in the footsteps of the awesome Pee, but The Boss himself. Much has already been said about The Boss here. A man, who has believed in perfection all his life. His life is ruled by logic and reason. And after almost a lifetime of such pursuits, which have taken him from Chennai to New York and then back, he talks about the thing that matters the most to him in life..
I met her 20 years ago. I was 20 and she 17. It was a hot September afternoon in Chennai and a basketball match was underway. There was this petite energizer bunny that was running up and down the court in the blazing sun, making a game of what should have been a slaughter. I vividly remember walking up to the bunny after the game – which they lost sadly – and patting her head (with close-cropped hair) and saying “good game, kiddo.”
The next recollection I have is of her at Kharagpur in December of the same year at the inter-IIT meet. I was goofing off on the athletics field since the basketball matches I was playing in weren’t on till later in the evening. I heard about this energizer bunny having won the 100 metres sprint gold. And she was competing in the shot put. I was like “What the eff?” I knew one of my 6 footer women friends was also participating as were some well-built Punjoo girls from Delhi and I was pretty sure the bunny was going to get creamed. I sauntered over the shot put area fully expecting a slaughter. She won the shot put gold! I walked over to her and said “congrats kiddo.”
I am a fairly determined and strong-willed guy, albeit quite shy back then. I vowed to get to know the bunny. Through the course of several free throw contests with a Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut bar as a prize, a couple of GFKR basketball tournaments and Mardi Gras festivals (yes, things used to be cool back then!) and several chais I did get to know her. The following inter-IIT meet was sadly cancelled due to the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid riots. But the camp was quite enjoyable. As was the rest of my final year in college. I made up my mind that I would spend the rest of my life with her. Thankfully, she felt the same way.
Two years of trans-continental separation were hard, as were the following six years of long-distance courtship and matrimony, as I pursued my professional aspirations and she her academic ambitions. She won several more golds, including a basketball gold and was the first recepient (and first girl, I was told) of the Shankar Dayal Sharma prize for all-round performance in college. She got a Master’s and a Ph.D. degree. She hung out with the French and the Greeks just as comfortably as the desis. She volunteered to teach underprivileged children and started running somewhat seriously. My love for the bunny just grew…tangled up in blue!
Our time long-distancing remains a blur of my weekend drives and her memorable rides on ugly Peter Pan buses (thankfully much less frequently than my drives). I can never forget me lazing on her bed and couch watching NBA triple headers or NFL double headers while she cooked up a storm and “ran the house.” While Sunday evening drives back were a bitch, I’d get a set of dabbas packed with food and my laundry basket filled with clean clothes. Unbelievable!
Boston in 2001-02 was the first year in our ten-year relationship then that we lived together. One of the most “settled” periods of life. Sunday morning brunches, random walks through Harvard Square and fights over whether the tube of toothpaste must be squeezed from the bottom (compulsive me) or just about anywhere (impulsive her).
Our last ten years in India have seen her take charge of our lives! While I’ve been running around, thinking I’m conquering the world, she has been running around a lot – literally and figuratively – on many more material pursuits. She became a professor, a mother, manager of our household and a near-elite runner in this phase of our lives. Her debut marathon at Mumbai this year remains my most cherished accomplishments of her several over the years. But most of all, she’s been a quiet inspiration to so many. A loyal friend, a caring mother, a passionate runner. Incredibly centered, my emotionally aware colleagues would say. Her nearest friends call her Pee – among other things, for passionate, perserverant, persistent. To me, she’s simply the “pinnacle” of my accomplishments, my Everest!
As I’ve mentioned earlier, I’m going to try to feature one guest blog post every month, so if you have a story to share, I’d love to hear from you. Drop me an email and I’ll get back to you. And if you enjoyed reading this, you can receive updates by subscribing to this blog by E-mail here or by RSS here. You could also add me on Facebook and say Hi. The more the merrier.
I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to know both these people. I’m waiting for the day when V grows up and I can ask her to write a guest blog post for me. Mind you, with powerful genes like these, that girl is going to be all over the world. Whenever we hang out, I keep telling V that she should come to Stanford. But no, even though she’s just 7 years old, she’s set her eyes on going to MIT, just like both her parents. Sigh. If I ever have a kid, I want a monster, just like her.