by Nargis Kelley
Meeting an old friend after 54 years is not something that happens every day.
Chandroo and I grew up in the same street in Rangoon, Burma and although we did not go to the same school we had a lot of common friends…I knew most of his siblings and he knew mine as well but Chandroo and I had a closer bond than I had with his other siblings. Secret rendezvous at a movie theater, meeting up at Golly Milk & Ice-cream bar and listening to the jukebox while sipping on milkshakes, going to the same parties were the highlights of our innocent lives in the late 50’s and early 60’s. Most days when we could not meet we would come out on to our balconies and just wait until the other person appeared and that would make our day….something like in an old Bollywood movie….meri khirkee kay samnay!
Then my uncle came down from Pakistan and transported me away for a holiday to Karachi in order to meet some of my relatives whom I had never met before…while I was there a coup took place in Burma and turned almost everyone’s lives topsy turvy including mine. I was unable to return to Burma and subsequently lost touch with most of my friends…I got married and became involved in my new life within a culture very different from one in which I had been raised…life went on, children were born, lived through a couple of revolutions, one in Bangladesh and the other one in Iran but yet at the back of my mind I frequently wondered what had become of my friends, especially Chandroo. I received snippets of information from various sources that he was living in Hong Kong, but that was before the era of the internet so again there was no way I could confirm that information.
Over four decades later when computers and laptops became a household necessity I came across the website of Chandroo’s old school, MEHS, and found his name and email address…I was overjoyed and immediately sent him an email, which started a series of email communications, giving each other a compacted version of our lives during all those years. A couple of years after we were in touch I moved to Chiangmai, Thailand with my husband and realized that we were much closer and could now visit each other….even then it had taken almost another decade before it actually happened….today!
My husband Kevin and I went to pick up Chandroo and Lavina at their hotel and took them to lunch….amazingly, even though all those years had passed and I am sure we would not have recognized one another if we had met on the street somewhere, there was this feeling of closeness, a friendship that all the money in the world cannot buy. My blessings for my dear friend Chandroo and his lovely wife Lavina and our friendship to continue to flourish in the golden years of our lives.