It was the end of the even semester. A time like no other. On one hand my tired, sweaty self couldn’t wait to go back home; images of air-conditioners that weren’t just pigeon’s nests, of food that didn’t look and taste like cardboard and sawdust, of people that didn’t have squiggly, cartoon-like odour lines emanating from them – all flashed welcomingly in front of me.
On the other hand, these prickly months had another big emotion attached to it. Farewell. Saying goodbye to my seniors was something I had been dreading for quite some time. Some of the closest friends and most trusted confidants I had gained in the past year would be leaving campus and the home we shared, to pursue their own dreams and ambitions.
Vignesh ‘Bray’ Premkumar and John ‘Terry’ Solomon were two such seniors of mine. 2 seemingly quiet, unassuming people; until you really get to know them. They played football, wrote for the college magazine and messed around with photography and music; usual pastimes of any college student.
Bray and Terry shared a passion with me – music. Terry had an old guitar he called Kummin (a very long backstory with more branches than Saravana Bhavan) which was a usual feature in our midnight terrace performances. A lot of our memories were captured by Bray’s old polaroid camera which we called Sulfiepulla (nicknamed Sulf, for convenience). It was really old; whenever we asked Bray when he got it, he’d reply with a non-committal “It’s been with me since the days of Yore, da”.
We were hanging out in the terrace a couple of weeks ago when nostalgia really hit us. “I can’t believe you’ll be leaving soon. I need something to remember you guys”, I said. They looked at each other knowingly and Bray said “Dei. We knew this was coming. Which is why I decided to give you the Sulf of yore. Take new pictures and capture a new set of memories da. Take it from me after the exams”. Before I could express my gratitude Terry quipped “ I have something too. I think Kummin needs a new owner. I can’t just give it to you though, you need to win the guitar. When you come to collect the camera, I need you blow me away with a solo. Do that, and you’ve won Kummin”.
Overwhelmed and excited, I went back to my hostel. I practiced for days, and I have it ready. My exams are over, and I head to the final year hostel one last time. My agenda was very clear, I knew exactly what I had to get.
Bray’s yore Sulf. Win Terry’s Kummin.
– Gautham Mahadevan