All groups have that one friend who is always late. SS – no he is not a political party – is not that friend. We all have that friend who has atleast once, been the reason for us missing a train, the beginning of that movie you so wanted to see or a friends’ birthday party. Even that does not completely describe SS.
SS is that friend of mine, who if someday miraculously landed up on time, our friendship would suffer from an identity crisis. If SS someday turned up at 9am when we decided to meet at 8.45am, Vijay and I would have to befriend this stranger once again.
Just the extent of the impact that SS has had on Vijay and me is that we have over the years unconsciously developed an indigenous device called the ‘SS calculator’. So the SS calculator works something like this:
Time when we are to meet at Churchgate station: 10 am
8.30 Vijay calls me:
8.45 Vijay calls me:
Me: Ya dude just woke up. What about SS?
Vijay: Dude he is not answering. (It feels like he said the most obvious thing in the world)
Me: I have left. What about SS?
Vijay: He CLAIMS to have woken up. (We use claims while referring to SS on days we are to meet for precisely the same reason crime reporters use ‘allegedly’ for criminal activity not yet decided upon by courts: It may not be true)
Unison: Means he is still in bed.
Vijay: Dude CLAIMS to have left his house (Mira Road)
Unison: That means he is having his breakfast.
Vijay: SS claims he is reaching Borivli
Me: Did you hear the train sound in the background?
Vijay: I don’t think so
Unison: matlab saala ghar se nikal rahan hain saala . Sudhrega nahin *&#@**@@@
Vijay: SS said he is reaching Dadar
Vijay: Matlab Borivali pochcha hain
Me: Abey saala Mira Road par hoga (sometimes the calculator differs)
Vijay: Abey bol rahan hain Churchgate pohoch rahan hain. Shayad Bandra tak pohcha hoga.
Now this, my friends is normal conversation. I cannot exactly spell out how we calculate how far behind his claims SS is, but we are more or less correct. Some could call this friendship as well.
I have lost out on adjectives to describe this dear friend of mine and have told him so on his face several times. But the beauty is that he always has a smile when he comes late and this expression bordering on pride. He could well have collected the Nobel prize and walking back to his seat beaming with pride at us his friends waving out at him.
Over the years, during the time we have spent waiting for our friend, we have actually propounded several theories as well. This is an actual conversation that took place:
Me: Dude I think his psychological clock is wrong
Me: Let me explain. So dude when we have to meet at 10 and we see the clock at 9 we jump out and rush. We think oh man I may get a bit late. I think, when S looks at the clock and its 9, his mind tell him ‘arey how come I woke up so soon, so much time to go. 10’o clock does not ring a bell in his head. I think he should actually consult a counselor, it is a mental problem. (I felt like Aamir Khan in Taare Zameen Par)
Vijay: Quite possible.
For the more than eight years we have been together, as a token for his rather unhealthy relation with appointments, I also came up with an epitaph for this friend of ours. This will be the engraving on the tombstone: ‘He was late even when he was alive.’
I remember this one time when we were on a conference call and unanimously decided the time to meet and Vijay and me gave out a sigh ‘oh man we told SS the actual time to meet’ even as SS laughed in the background.
Normally if we are to meet at 10am, we always tell him 9 am. But he still reaches as late as he would have, if he knew the actual meeting time. Come to think of it, has he developed a reverse indigenous calculator as well by which he comes to know the exact time we are to meet and thereby the time he should come? Have you SS?