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Procrastination, thy name is Shail. Sigh, this should have been up a good three days back.  But better late than never when inflicting readers with an onslaught of words. *evil grin*

The highlight of my recent visit to Delhi (after 6 long years) was meeting blog pals Ritu, Ruchira and Abha. To tell you the truth, my intention had been to quietly slink in and out of the place with nary a soul knowing. But of course even as the train sped past Faridabad, meeting Ritu had been the thought that was uppermost. Of course I had no clue that the other two were stationed in and around too.

There had been a message from Ruchira soon after, “You come to my city and you don’t tell me!!” This was followed by Abha’s decisive question, “When can we meet?” Then, I knew it was time to ping Ritu. I did and asked, “Can we meet??” The rest as they say is history, well documented, in her inimitable style by Ritu. So I will not go into repeat descriptions.

I remember when I walked into Shipra Mall and was being introduced to Ritu’s #Kid 2 (who was also present by the way) he said something like ‘I have met you before’. Ritu, corrected him saying, “Beta, Shail is the one who has come from Trivandrum!” implying that he couldn’t probably have seen me before. But, he still felt I looked familiar. Frankly speaking #Kid 2, I am not in the least bit surprised!

Strange as it may seem, this is the reaction I get from almost 95% of the population I happen to meet for the first time. I have ceased wondering about it any more. And no, it’s not about them having seen a picture of me or something like that. Even before the internet or blogs, the same thing had been happening to me. Rummy, if you ask me how I seem to be like someone who everyone finds familiar!

It turns out that both Ritu’s #Kid 2 and I are born under the zodiac sign of Cancer, the bundles of contradiction as Ritu calls us. Yes, yes Ritu. That is exactly what is behind the funny posts  I write (that you love) and the poetry (that zonks you out). Haha. Oh, #Kid 2 I hear, writes poetry too which his Mom describes as ‘edgy and serious’. But he wasn’t in the least bit edgy or serious in person, really cool and fun to be with chap. See what I mean about being ‘bundles of contradiction’??

Ruchira and #Kid 2 hit it off the moment the topic of bossed over and long suffering younger siblings came up. I was quite thoroughly enjoying their anecdotes underlining their predicament, thinking how well the junior son of mine would fit in with them if he were present, when realization dawned. I sat up with a start. I am an older sibling! I  proceeded to examine their data in this new light only to find it terribly wanting. So, drawing a deep breath, very bravely (there were two of them and only one of me), I ventured to suggest,

“I am an older sibling too. But I am not bossy….”

Before I could say more to shed light on the spotless non-bossy persona of mine Ruchira in a oh-I-have-heard-this-so-many-times voice said,

“That’s what they all say!”

Uhh… Dazed I paused, realizing I needed a change in policy here. Nothing I say was going to be accepted as evidence as it would come under the category of ‘what they all say’! Hmmm…. I debated whether to call up my younger siblings and have them vouchsafe for my blameless (of bossiness) older-sibling-hood. But that seemed such a tedious a job. I guess older siblings are lazy. I am, anyways. So, I remained silent, letting the opportunity to convince them (and the world at large) of my squeaky clean image vanish before  my very eyes and have the much maligned older-sibling mantle settle on my shoulders. Sob sob. I was beaten before I had even tried putting up my claim for a place in the sun of an angelic older sibling. Oh well…. But guess what guys?! We have a saying in Mallu-land that says older siblings are simpletons (Kadinjool pottu). The ones that follow them are a cocky lot. No, Mallu-land does not say that, I do! (Read this) Hehe…

We had lots to talk about and as seems inevitable, bloggers when they meet talk mostly of blogs and blogger friends. We could have talked about a lot more too, but time seemed to have a mind of its own and whizzed past. Coming to blogs, not surprisingly, we were all unanimously agreed on one thing: we like well written blogs. No sms lingo in blogs please. The language…. yes, the language is important, very important. If it is not well written…. oh well, next one please!

A well written blog did not need a long list of comments to authenticate its worthiness, we felt. It is worthy all on its own. I wish some really good writers do not feel disheartened by the fact that they receive fewer comments. If writing is a passion, one should forget about the comments and just write though I admit the longing for appreciation does exist in most all of us. But linking of a blog’s worth to the number of comments…. Well, I don’t buy that at all. There are some really fine blogs out there which I thoroughly enjoy reading but have so few comments to it.

In a similar manner, it amuses me to watch ‘ranks’ go up and down depending on the number of blogs you write each month as if that is any indication of its worthiness! Up goes the rank when you have time on your hands or are in the mood to obsessively write one month. You slack off the next and down it plummets. So, all the rank indicates is how many blogs you have written, nothing more nothing less. Writing does not come out of an assembly line (and should not, because then it shows in the writing) and the number of blogs you post should have only as much importance in the scheme of things as it deserves. Comments, number of postings etc have their place. But true enjoyment of a blog comes from the content. Period.

Pind Baluchi, was were we decided to have lunch. I will let you in on a not-so-secret fact. I am terrified of eating outside my home. No I don’t have any phobias. It is just that I am a very poor eater and Indians have this habit of forcing food on you. Not only do people stare wide-eyed at the portions I eat (no, I don’t eat too much, but very less! Grrr….) but they also make snide remarks disguised as harmless or concerned observations, “Oh are you dieting??” No siree I am saving up for when the famine hits. *rolls eyes* And I have saved quite a bit in the last twenty years or more!

My fears were soon laid to rest as my friends left me to myself and concentrated on their plates instead. Phew. Thank you dear people, it is such a relief to be left alone. I must add though that Abha was our perfect hostess, taking the initiative to pass the food around and asking if we had enough.

By token of my statement that ‘I am a poor eater’, Ritu coined a new name for me, Pint Size, (“Pint size” it was a pleasure to meet you in person’ is a comment she left for me at FB) which now joins the long list of names I already have (What’s in a name??)!

Now here is the picture, where they were kind enough to let me stand on the higher step, to iron out the difference in height. Hehe…

‘Twas simply lovely, meeting you all. Here is to more such meetings!

Another thing that resulted from my Delhi trip was connecting with a classmate of mine from my post-graduate days. Woohoo.. that means someone from a good two decades back. Huh, who am I fooling?? Make that three decades back, a very long time indeed and reason enough to be all excited about it. Well Pyarelal, for that is his name, said he was touched that I had bothered to trace him, “you  have kept your wonderful simplicity at heart intact” and also that he read a few of my posts. Thanks buddy; it was a pleasure talking to you too. Connecting with you brought one amazing fact to the fore. A sizeable number of my friends are Aquarians. (Why is that, I wonder!) Are there more of you around?? If so raise your hands… errrrr, on second thoughts, that would do no good. So please do let me know via the comment section. Thank you.