Paris pranaya (Part I)
And often, we tell ourselves that we should go back to visit those places again and pick up some left out memories and pack them into our bags. I rarely get to do it - It's been ages since I went back to the house I grew up in. I tell all my friends that I want to go back to BITS one more time to see the place again - But I know I would rarely get to do it. Probably because we just don't want to smudge a perfect picture inside our heads and want to let those places rest in peace. Or probably it's about the people - Those people who breathed life to the edifices, made moments out of ticking seconds and were the actors who make up memories while the place itself a mere stage. Without the people the charm isn't really there which is probably why this visit to Fontainebleau might be my last visit to the place though there's a faint hope ~C will still be there the next time I come back to Europe.
Fontainebleau is a sleepy little town 65 kms from paris. The town is famous for three things - the teeming forests which served as the favorite hunting grounds for many a french emperors, a beautiful chateau which is on par with the ones in Versailes and Vaux-le-Vicomte, and the INSEAD school of business. Not many know about this town. Some know that it's close to this town called Melun - which is another town everyone knows but no one knows why it's famous. It doesn't even have a chateau, leave alone a business school!
There are very few places in this world where I completely feel at home. Places where I am not a visitor or a tourist; where I don't need people to help me out with directions or the platforms. Feels good when you can be so comfortable with the place. Feels at home. Chennai of course is like that - Anywhere I get down in chennai, I know how to make my way home [Definitely not the case with Bangalore! I am completely at the mercy of the Auto drivers]. And so is Paris. You drop me wherever inside the Paris city, there's a good chance I know where I am and how to make my way to my old-houses in Fonty.
It's funny how little details that you can't recollect normally come back to you that very moment. Like simple pleasantries in a foreign language that you used to speak for sometime, names of the streets, the way to your favorite cafe, the names of the bus stop where you have to get down, the name in the calling bell that you have to ring and silly farting sounds that irritate you!
There's an apartment in the first floor, in Rue de fleury where BITSians have been living for the last 6 years. At the door, you have 5 calling bells with none of the names being Indian. You should remember to press the bell named "Churchill" if you have to save yourself from a lecture in french for waking up a french guy at 8:30 on a saturday morning. The house has an antique gas heating facility and EVERYTIME I enter the house, it makes this farting noise that irritates me. 3 years and 8 months later, it still happens.
~D, I have to tell you, is a perfect host. He just knows what someone would want when he enters the house. Thirty minutes after I enter the house, I have some delicious french breakfast, some bachelor tea (lots of spices, very milky and always an extra spoon of sugar but still Xtremely delicious) and lots of hot gossip. For a whole hour, we gossip about everyone - those who stayed, those who strayed, ones who left, wired geeks, weird geeks ... just about everybody. I don't know ~D too well - we probably have spent about 10 hours in all with each other before this. But I just didn't feel it right from the moment I stepped in.
The leather couch - Rarely have I seen the result of hardwork that my dad always talks about. But that day, I saw what he meant on the leather couch. For three whole years four men with all perseverence, did nothing over the weekends and sat on it as couch potatos watching TV, browsing the internet or just chatting about nothingness of the universe all to make sure their bum impressions are left there forever on the couch. And two years later, I am proud to tell you it's still there. You probably think I am imagining it - but I know the result of the 'hardly-worked' when I see it!
And then the Barbecue happened ....