Last Thursday I received a pleasant surprise. My cell rang just as I was getting ready to put my daughter to sleep in the afternoon. It was an unknown number and I thought of ignoring it. But then picked it up anyway. A stranger spoke at the other end "Nilambari?", he inquired. I replied in the affirmative. "Can you guess who this is?" he teased. Now my curiosity was fully aroused. The caller sounded middle-aged yet excited to hear my voice. Then suddenly it clicked who he might be. I guessed and he was astounded as well as pleased to confirm it :) It was our old family friend from Baroda!
Uncle used to be head of the Geology department in the Faculty of Science back in Baroda. Though all his children were much older to myself and my brother, we used to enjoy our visits to their home situated in the verdant University grounds. Drawing rangoli in Diwali with their artist son, playing badminton with their daughter in the front yard (until she was lost to the world of medicine!), savoring goodies made by aunty and listening to their youngest son vocalizing classical strains, accompanied by his brother on the tabla, are some of my fond memories of that family! My hubby interrogated me about them at length to indulge my nostalgia :)
Uncle-aunty had moved to Lucknow more than 15 years ago, where he had accepted vice-chancellorship at Lucknow University. All their children too had moved out of Baroda on account of employment or marriage. Over the years, they used to keep in touch with my parents over the phone. I used to hear of the whereabouts of various members of their family from my parents and also about the ups and downs in their life. Some years ago, uncle-aunty moved to my current city where they have had a family home for years. I had even visited them briefly and shared my then local number.
On Thursday uncle called up my old number, tracked down my current one and then called to give me a surprise! He then proceeded to tell me the latest news in the family and extract the same from me. Turns out that he wanted to invite me for a family function. When he came to know that my parents too were situated in the same city he called them up too.
Yesterday, we all attended the above function and met all his children with their respective broods :) What's more, uncle had planned this as a surprise for his own family! How we enthused endlessly on this chance meeting in years. We oohed and aahed over the changes time had wrought over us. It was a warm reunion on a cold December day. Now that we are back in touch, hope to continue meeting over various other functions too! What a small world it is - we've picked up where we left off in a different city after many long years.