The Relationships, we never really think about.

I receive a call from my friend Nishi.

Hey, are you at home? I’ve got your B1 certificate from the Institute. Come near the temple spot and get it from me.

I drive down to the temple. She’s waiting in her car just around the corner. I cross the street, with a smile on my face, she rolls down the window of her car.

Happy New Year Nishi!

It’s still only the 9th day of January, so it still makes sense.

We make small talk. I don’t know, WhatsApp conversations with a person whenever we want to, make real-life conversations redundant sometimes.

Sensing that she’s getting late, I bid her goodbye and turn my attention towards my certificate. I heave a sigh of relief. The scores on my marksheet are the same as the ones that came out on result day 2 weeks ago on the Institute website. It’s silly, but I’ve heard stories of a guy who passed his CA exams according to the website on result day, and the next day the results were changed. Data entry errors! So, the sceptic inside of me perseveres.

Nishi’s one of my newest friends. For a long time, while I was still studying for CA, I always thought that I wouldn’t be able to make friends as I grew older. That we end up with the same set of people, with whom we have forged friendships in our early years was something I believed in, having seen my Dad still be best friends with Ashok Kaka, who was his classmate from the 10th grade.

This belief of mine no longer holds true. My own experiences in life have reinforced in me, that age isn’t that serious a variable when friendships are being forged.

Family, friends, lovers: Our relationships in life revolve around them only more often than not.

I walk down to the stationery shop in front of my school. Rahul Enterprises. I’m familiar with this name since the 1st grade. How I could I not be? It’s been a permanent fixture opposite my school since before I was born I think.

I ask the owner to laminate my certificate. As he’s placing the certificate between the 2 plastic sheets, he comments,

Have you lost weight?

I’m not really sure how I should answer this. I come back to my senses instantly.

Yes, a few kilos.

He continues the conversation,

How so?

I reply without any real enthusiasm,

Joined a gym, followed a diet, the works you know.

He persists,

So how’s life as a CA?

I’m kind of startled. But I don’t show it.

Oh, really nice. It’s all that was promised and more.

Hope he didn’t get the sarcasm. He decides to end the conversation cheerfully.

Oh! That’s good!  Here all done with the lamination.

I pay him the money and leave. There’s a smile on my face.

It’s not because someone complimented me for losing weight. I don’t really understand how that’s supposed to be a compliment. Taking a decision of trying to go from obese to healthy should be considered a necessity. Not an amazing choice that I’m making.

It’s also not because he appreciates the fact that I passed my CA exams. It stopped being a big deal after a few weeks after my Final results. The realities of life made sure of that.

But then my mind moves on from those silly points to a rather interesting observation. He knows I’m a CA. I’ve been laminating all my mark sheets and certificates, photocopying documents like my resume at this very shop since 2008 I guess. He knows most of the milestones of my academic life. I’ve literally grown up in front of him. Now that’s a relationship too! It’s just not one of those that I really gave much thought to, until now.

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