Lucky Got 38…

Friday, August 5, 2016

“Yeah… I got 37” announced Lucky…

Jubilant with his latest accomplishment, Lucky had punched the air with his fists and eventually spread all his 37 ‘fresh-off-the-studio’ photo prints in glee…

The spread of the prints on his palms… all held down by his thumbs had a tantalising effect on me… my Pentax ME Super, never gave me more than 33… or 34 if I was lucky…

But I wasn’t… it was Lucky… who always ended up being exactly that… lucky… while Kodak’s promise was 36 prints in a film roll, Lucky always got more… one more than what Kodak promised…

——————–

Lucky… Lakhwinderjeet Sodhi… my dear friend from my school days… went on to exceed 36 in many spheres of life… on occasions as these with his Nikon FA… which he made sure he carried with care and flaunted at every single opportunity… after all it was one of the latest imported models at that time when we both were in high school in the mid 80s… and his father had specifically gifted the camera to him having bought it from the Dubai Duty Free at that time for his 16th birthday…

Like the jubilation in his 37 photo prints, Lucky always put up a brave front on all other occasions when he exceeded 36… in all his academic life that was most auspiciously intertwined with my own… you see, we were school and classmates from the 4th grade till our material lives… and later, our ethereal wives took us apart into varied walks of life… our pre-destined futures…

I, having gone to college for further uber-academic pursuits in hotel schooling… and Lucky, highly content with 37 marks (or thereabouts) in most subjects at the high school level… conveniently went to his father’s business at Delhi’s Kashmere Gate automobile spares super market…

The mark of 37 was thus, from fairly early on, etched on Lucky’s mind as the label of spiritual liberation… 33 percent marks were the target, set by CBSE – the Board of Education… 34 was aspirational… 35, cause-celebre… 36 (as was 24… and then 36 back again) was sinful as a growing up adolescent…

But 37… was the point of arrival… safe… ‘no questions asked’ zone… everybody happy in the family… including Lucky’s elder brother, Happy…

In time, we eventually grew up… Lucky and I… by some warped superlunary celestial design… stepped into the larger realms of adulthood… and 37 again loomed large in front of us… actually this time too, CHHATTEES (36) was the number in the reckoning…

But little did Lucky realise… he would always have one more in life…

Lucky had this uncanny knack of developing a ‘CHHATTEES KA AANKDA’ (Hindi – for two people who have hostilities towards each other)… he had deep rooted rivalry that he would revel in with almost the entire universe… getting into those frequent fisticuffs with other kids in the school… with people double his size on the streets… or anybody who simply did not agree to his own big and burly existence… Lucky was a 6 footer at the age of 15 and his vertical supremacy was equally complimented by a lateral expansion so that none of the Soviet satellites launched during those times ever missed his geo-strategic coordinates…

The only person who outshone Lucky’s monumental blip on the Soviet radars was his eldest brother Lovely… now, at 6’2” and with a whisky-bellied frontal extension Lovely was a misnomer… a profound lesson to all parents in how we should wait at least till one grows in full size before we name our children…

Lucky’s ’36 Ka Aankda’ would often land him in a soup… and as an inseparable conspirator in most of his earthly deeds… I got embroiled into the situations as well… so much so that the Soviet satellites would capture this big dot blipping along with one more unassuming dot alongside beating the daylights out of many other small dots somewhere in a busy street in Delhi…

But then… I needed to bring some sanity quickly into the equation… Lucky and I devised a method to tone us down… tone him down actually… Lucky would count till 37 when he got into a situation… and counting 37 would ideally bring down his Blood Pressure…

The Plan was perfect… the deal was signed over Hot Sams (Samosas) and G Jams (Gulab Jamuns) at P Bags (Punjabi Bag, Lucky’s abode)…

The Execution… hmmm… Lucky somehow managed to count to 36 most of the time… 37 was elusive in his own glossed down mental make up…

——————–

Lucky’s SUNDAY finally arrived… the day when he would go to the GURDWARA (the Sikh temple of worship)… sit in devotion in front of the Granth Sahib with Pammi Paabi (Parminder – his wife and my Paabi (Bhabhi) – my sister-in-law and wedded wife of my brother Lucky)… and vow to spend the rest of his life with her…

I said to Lucky… “Oye Lucky… tera to yaar sab ke saath ‘Chhattees Ka Aankda’ hai… Pammi ke saath toone Janam Patree milayi ki nahin? Kam se kam biwi ke saath to ‘Chhattes Gunn’ milne chahiye bhai…” (you have a rivalry with every one… have you matched your horoscope with Pammi so that you have the 36 qualities / parameters matching with her)…

Lucky got philosophical… “Yaar Kodu… Marriage is a union between my Soul and the Lord… I simply Accept and Surrender… all humans are equal…” he dropped his head… thinking… when he raised it again, it was only to add… “and so are all days of the week…Sunday is merely a convenience…”

I am glad he did not say Pammi Paabi is a convenience…

——————–

Lucky and Pammi now live in DLF Gurgaon… all 36 parameters of their wedded life are in place… blissfully for the last 20 years…

And they have now added a 37… Minta… Manwinder – their 18 year old son – 6’3” in size… and a 38… Soni… ok… Soni, their cute little 15 year old daughter… Lucky’s existential appendices and testimonials to prove to the world that he has finally been able to count to 37…

And one more…

Happy Weekend…

Ravi Kodukula

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