24 January, 2021

Ek Normal, Purani Kahani

The uncontrollable laughter, the prose, the acclaim, the silent communion...

Ek Normal, Purani Kahani
  • Every being is a broken hymn.
  • Every friendship is an inconspicuous drama, a series of subtle wounds.

—E.M. Cioran

My dear Nirmal,

In most of the letters I mailed you while you were still here, I addressed you as 'Nirbal' or 'Nirmool' or 'Normal', playing with your first name in order to tease as well as amuse you by drawing your attention to traits you tended to conceal even from yourself: vulnerability, rootlessness, normality. Now that you are no more, I'd rather play fondly with my memories of you and our deep and sometimes difficult friendship.

So, let me start with our early angst-ridden years in dear, dusty Delhi 55 years ago. We were both unsettled then, I more than you; we had both started to write and publish stories of whose literary worth we were mostly unsure; we used to meet and loaf and laugh together quite frequently; for a while we even privately tutored the same girl and often compared notes about our tutorial torments.

My most enduring memory of that phase is our fits of...



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