The Friendship Tales @Jodhpur Express

Navni Tandon | 26-Jul-2017

This is a short account of the first days that I spent in Jodhpur. Jodhpur is a city in Rajasthan, known for its royal grandeur of palace, fort, food, culture, language, art, and music. It is a historical-cum-tourist place. A very famous place called the “Umaid Palace” and a highly popular Fort “Meherangarh”  are also situated here. In fact, these two monuments are the identities of Jodhpur. People always forget that there is yet another identity of Jodhpur, that even I realised after dwelling in Jodhpur for 1 and a half-year. That identity is “house Lizard.”

The Friendship Tales at Jodhpur Express

I always had a special place in my heart for Jodhpur, but never knew that one day I will be working there as a Research Assistant and that too at a very renowned institution. The journey to Jodhpur was calm and peaceful. But the first days spent in Jodhpur, especially the first month of my stay at the university hostel was both strenuous and stressful. On the one hand, I had to learn the new work, connect with my supervisor, adjust with the new environment and food. On the contrary, I had to protect myself from the attacks of “night lizards”, which were spread all over in my room.

Here comes the twist in my story. On day one, I ate lunch in the canteen. At that time, I felt very lonely and sad to leave home. Homesickness did not let me eat properly. After that, I was busy all the day in checking my internet connection, getting my laptop configured by the technician who was showing tantrums in doing just this little task. He took more than 6 hours for this work. But I got to realise that he was really very busy with an arrangement for the placement cell and could not help me immediately. How could he leave that task in between just for anyone?

The evening also passed away in the up and down of purchasing some articles of daily use and settling down my luggage in the new room. But at the time it was dark, and I was done with all the works, including my evening prayers  I felt hungry. I usually eat dinner between 8 and 9 pm. But because of the hectic schedule all the day, I felt hungry before eight o clock only. I walked up to the canteen, but at the entrance only I stopped. I saw hundreds of students walking in back and forth. My legs started trembling. I was the empty stomach but still could not move inside the canteen because of the strange feeling, too nervous to face the crowd. It was not the usual crowd. The university campus housed students who belonged to different places, but most of them being the children belonging to the “metro cities.”

I was feeling so uncomfortable, shy, nervous among the people all around that I could not move into the canteen and have the food. For at least 2 hours I kept walking around the canteen, trying to figure out which way to go, so that I can save myself from the eyes of the people and have food. But that was obviously not possible. Cheese on the top, one of my good friends from my hometown who was already staying in the university hostel (he was a student there) chose to stay away. (Friends are always tested in times of need, but the intelligent person did not know that the time was taking his test. Poor fellow, he does not know until today that he had failed in the life’s exam of friendship. I hate you for this till today and I have learned the lesson that I am definitely not going to do this kind of thing to anyone in my whole life that lies ahead).

I tell you, my dear readers, that if any friend of yours goes to a certain place where you are already staying at some time, you must go with that friend for at least one meal, specifically on the first day, so that your friend should not feel lonely. This is the courtesy that even foreigners follow and this is explicitly taught in the Indian values. Friendship has now become a game of mouth.

Ultimately, I entered the canteen after a lot of hesitation and crying situation, had the food somehow and left for my room. For almost 1 hour I cried and then not being able to bear the loneliness I called up my best friend in Ajmer. She immediately woke up from her sleep and spoke to me for almost 1 hour. The same night I saw two contrasting friendships. There was one person who was already staying in the hostel but neglected me. While there was my friend, who was in Ajmer and said: “I’ am always there for you, even if you wish to talk to me for the night, I will be awake for you.” I am really grateful to Yashika Jadwal for that compassion. My heart knows how relieved I was after hearing that statement from you. Till today those words vibrate in my ears.

She encouraged me to interact with people living with me. Encouraged by her, I went out of my room at around 1.30 am and started looking around if anyone was awake. Two girls were coming out of their room. They came up to me and started talking to me. After a whole day of going through worrisome and anxious feelings, tolerating some rude looks and hostile behaviour, I finally got a smile from someone who was really compassionate. Those two girls had come forward to talk to me and they befriended me in a while. The third story of friendship in Jodhpur began from that night. But how come some creatures leave me while I am living on this earth?

I came back to my room, lied down on the bed and closed my eyes, but how can my old friend “Lizard” leave me alone. In the desert of Rajasthan, this hard skinned brown coloured creäture crawls here and there. She found that Navni is sleeping here, so let’s arrive in her room and disturb her. And my evil friend came but not alone. This one was with three more fat lizards. They came along with three 3 to 4 kids. “Dhapak! Dhapak!”. The baby lizards fell from the roof on my bed where I was sleeping. I jumped up to see what had happened and what kind of sound was it? As soon as I switched on the light, I saw all the lizards running on the walls of my room. In no time I was out of the room screaming and shouting. I don’t remember if anybody came out to even bother what had happened to me.

Never mind. I took the broomstick and started shooting away the lizards, but nothing happened. For almost 1 and half hour I was standing out of my room. Finally, I went to the caretaker’s room to take permission to sleep in the room just in front of my room since it was empty. She gave me consent and I managed somehow to take out my mattress, put it in the new room and slept there. This dropping of lizards on my bed and my running out of the room screaming and sleeping in another room became common for the month. Every night of that month was not less than a nightmare for me.  But my work was up to the mark, each day I worked vigorously, though I used to feel tired. To compensate for my incomplete sleep, I used to steal just 15 minutes from my work to sleep. Thankfully, in the day time, the lizards were not interested in disturbing me. So those 15 precious minutes served as the lifeline for me.            

I made many friends in Jodhpur, worked day and night on the allotted project, had fun with members of the NGO of which I am a member. My stay in Jodhpur was like a delightful dream.  I learned so much from the people there and from the new friends who are till today in my touch.  Above all my supervisor was a super intelligent being. So working with him gave me many opportunities to learn many new things. I would never be able to forget the Jodhpur days and especially the lessons learned from the different “Friendships”. Apart from those three friendship stories, plus the 4th story –“The lizard’s friendship with me, there was yet another friendship story that taught me the biggest the lesson of life, and that is to stand up for my rights and fulfil my duties diligently. For me, she is one of the best teachers I would ever have in my entire lifetime.

Two of my colleagues became my friends forever. They were like the drops of rain water in the desert, they were like the sun coming out of the clouds in the chilled winter and they are till today the blooming flowers which leave their fragrance wherever they go. I miss every moment spent with them.

Time can never be the same but the feelings we shared are still the same. That is what matters the most for a perfect friendship.

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About the Author
Navni Tandon
Navni Tandon is a professional writer. Navni previously worked as a Research Assistant for a project of Indian Council of Social Sciences and Research. Her paper entitled ?Human Trafficking in Rajasthan: Recent Surge and Administrative Loopholes? has been published in the book entitled ?Administrative Reforms and Good Governance".