It was on May 14th, 1998, final episode of Seinfeld final 2-part episode “The Finale” airs on NBC to 76.3M viewers. I used to like Sienfield and all the characters. A mere remembrance gets me into a very lovely mood. After all who does not like humor? That was the case when my school friends and I met on this May 14th in a place called Truffle.
It was an identity crisis for me when my friend pulled out our LKG group photo and I struggled to locate me in the crowd. I knew I was in no way close to my old image. Apart from one school friend we were able to identify everyone else. Some even remembered their nicknames. It was a retreat down the memory lane 4 decades back.
Yesterday I called my mother and asked her, “Tell me did you send me to LKG in Arya Central School? Why was that I was not there in the group photo? Her response was we did not put you in LKG but from UKG. No wonder my nursery friends (now grown up and in their 40’s) struggled to figure me out in that black and white picture.
My friend called me a few days back and told me about this get-together plan. I promised him if I am in Bangalore on that day, count me in. I reached that place well before time ( I’m on a 66-day challenge to be on time, trying to cultivate that habit) and I saw that the place is filling up with youngsters, teenagers, and next gen. I dived inside and caught a table and then I suddenly noticed the bench. That was a perfect setting (sitting) for a quick get-together for all the school mates who have studied for 10 years together and some of us even continued till college. All of us came by 7 PM and we started with all the “how have you been’s, how is life’s”.
We congratulated one friend’s daughter’s achievement of 97% in her X std board exams and it was great to see his smile as he went to share what his daughter is planning to do. It was nice to hear how children are thinking differently about their careers. Then came the time of another friend who mentioned his friend’s daughter who got 1580 out of 1600 in SAT. He went onto describe how she was truly independent and was doing projects which got selected at the UN level. These stories were very nice to hear and we applauded as we got to know about others on another level. My friend also made me feel proud of completing my 100th blog. He also explained about blockchain (I knew blog chain) and got to knew that he learned Mandarin. Immediately one of my friends called out to blog about the truffle evening experience. He set the context that we are sitting on the bench surrounded by teenagers.
Every get-together will have its moments of eccentricities and that was on full display. One such moment was when one friend called out his age and told us that he is the youngest among us. We admitted and in our mind blessed him to grow up soon! This lead to a discussion around how he was sent to the nursery at the age of less than 3.5yrs I guess. Immediately another friend picked that item and shared a reference of Malcolm Gladwell’s book on the same. The next day he shared the article. If you’ve read Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, you probably remember the argument he makes in the book’s first chapter: In competitive situations, a person who’s relatively older than the others will probably be the one who wins. All of us were older than him.
I had to shift seats to continue my conversation with a couple of friends who were sitting at the extreme end of the table. After all, we have to make sure we connect with each other. It was time to place orders and we individually ordered our choices. It was a treat to watch how one friend was curating the menu as he did not want bread and potato. Finally, when the food was served it was only bread and potato! We had a good laugh and he is a budding food entrepreneur and he knows what he is ordering even though the delivery was out of order. Then came discussion about neurons in our guts and we all shared our perspectives.
It was a gastronomic delight with power-packed humor and loads of sharing of our life’s perspectives. In truffle, our friendly scuffle and friendly ruffle created the next level of communion. We bonded and remembered that the 4-decade old benchers have it in them to create new “benchmarks” of camaraderie.
I remembered the Seinfeld characters. I sometimes look them up on youtube and have a good laugh. Similarly, this get-together with friends characterized an evening of liveliness, freshness, and warmth. We all felt so good about ourselves, coming together, taking out our time and being there to see and hear each other’s stories.
While we were about to leave after the dutch cheque was done, in came the small pack of food which I had asked my friend to carry home as he was about to waste. We forced (bullied) my younger friend to carry that packet home. Isn’t it interesting we get to bully our 4-decade old (young) friend just because he is younger to us by 1 month?
In “truffle” we “ruffled” him as all elders had the last laugh (biggest laugh) while the current generation of youngsters were immersed in their own world of bread and banter.