What a birthday I had, Mi. Sweet 17, for the third time.

I laugh to think back on the time I was actually 17! Gosh! What was I up to then? Just finished 12th and was running back and forth from Madras to Hyderabad, and not at all happy about moving to Madras. College admission conundrums. I remember it was vacation time and our colleges hadn’t reopened for the undergrad academic year, while in Madras, they were already at the end of their first semester. So crazy that was. Finally I joined St.Francis because Gopmama was in Hyderabad.

But only a few months later, in Jan, Paati wanted me back with her. How can I ever forget the humiliation you and I went through with our folks, as if it was our fault they wanted to uproot us from a comfortable place and settle down in the place we hated the most! Then started the madness of getting all the necessary papers from the college – transfers and mark sheets and whatnot to make the transition to the college in Madras.

And what an almost Holy Grail that was! You were having a tough time finding a job, after you quit your cushy​ one at BHEL and I went nuts running around the University to see which college had seats. I so wanted to ​​join Stella Maris or WCC but our “folks” wouldn’t hear of it. They wanted Ethiraj because of the Discipline. Ha! If only they knew! Life was weird there and I was the “new girl” right to the end, I think, even though I made some friends.

The silver lining was the teachers – they were so fond of me. And the semester exams? Everyone except you was so freaked out over the 16 papers I had opted to write in one go. I came out of it with flying colors. Remember how we celebrated by scraping out our purses and buying that fabulous multi-colored printed silk sari? So pretty it was. We coveted it for so many days, hoping no one would buy it before we had the money.

Universe conspired and I started teaching one of our neighbors French, and that extra cash sealed the deal for us.

What lovely memories Mi, even though it was not the best time of our lives. But who cares. In retrospect, everything looks golden! After all, you taught me to “Live while you are alive

vidya sury memories***