Here's a picture that Daya managed to dig up recently. He found it online, which can be a scary thought, if you care to either think about it or to be afraid. But it's been a while since I've seen either of the people in this photograph. Oh, and I say either because the people to the right of me as I am seated in the picture are underclassmen, and obviously otherwise uninterested. Briefly, however, the girl with short hair in the white top -- looking rather upset or concerned, I'm not sure which -- is Parul Shukla, while her friend who is almost out of picture is Pema. I forget Pema's last name, but I'm sure she's thinking it's a good thing.
Now, for those to my left, again, my left as I'm seated in the picture. The young lady caught in the midst of another outburst of uproarious laughter is Mitoholi Suu. Always the life of anywhere she went -- especially if you cracked a joke and she happened to think it was funny, in which case she was pretty much audible all the way across campus -- Mitoholi was an all-rounder in school. She studied hard, and played sports harder. A fun person to be around, and with a no-nonsense head on her shoulders, I remember being completely enamored of her. In fact, I was her not-so-secret admirer for most of my high school life in Kodai. Oh my, those were the days. Can't say that I look too healthy in the borrowed, over sized Adidas sweatshirt and the strange expression on my visage. But even then, through skin and bones, I remember having such a crush on Mitoholi that luckily being the idiot I am, repeated attempts at professing my undying devotion to her, in spite of being thwarted time and time again, never left me too "crushed" to try again. We walked together for our High School Graduation Ceremony, which we could have done with gagged and bound because by then things had soured severely and we weren't talking to each other. But it was supposed to be some kind of closure thing. Don't even ask... Strange are the hormonal ways of high school, man. Why? Because a couple of months later we ended up going to the same college together for a year, and then she wouldn't even talk to me. I tried to get her to tell me why initially, but she was always very determined, and a tad stronger too. So, in the rather likely event that I would get my ass whupped Naga-style, I decided to back off and return the favor. Still feels like yesterday man. But that was back in 1999. Or, as I like to say it nowadays, "Back in the late '90's." ;-)
Moving down the line to the perplexed Kenyan dude, that's Jonathan Moses Otieno-Pala. Moses, as we all knew him, was a very lovable kinda guy. He was cool, good sportsman on and off the field, and had a great sense of humor. It's been over 10 years since I've seen him, and close to 8 since I've heard from or about him. He used to be an excellent basketball player, and I used to like playing with him and his twin brother Hoseah because even though I got taken to the cleaners each and every time, for being the shortest and most unskilled one on the court, at least I learned something. It was a treat to watch them go at each other with their different playing styles. Here's a post from a while ago with a few more pictures of Moses, me and couple of other good friends.
I can remember the first time I met Moses, or at least the first time that he spoke to me. He turned around one day in Mr. Ancelm's chemistry class and asked me, "Why do they call you Jax?" And that was it, the start to a great friendship that lasted all throughout high school. Thinking back to then, which is more than 12 years ago, it feels like only yesterday when I used to hang out with him. The last major kind of hanging out that we did was when we started going to church on Sunday mornings during our Senior year of high school. Well, when I say "we", I mean to indicate the point in time after I joined the gang which consisted of Moses, Daya and Josh...and Hoseah, if I'm not mistaken. They were already going to church. 'Twas fun, I say. 'Twas simply, exquisitely brilliant, I say. I remember wanting to go there and listen to the sermons, most of which were rather thought-provoking. There was one time, in fact -- and I have to say this because I still see the expressions on the faces of the older, American staff at school, which was quite hilarious even back in the day -- when they had a guest preacher, and he started talking about "What if God was a woman". Most of the conservative members of the audience were not amused, and I was pretty sure that one of them was going to radio in a sniper to "take that guy out". But they didn't. And it was a rather intense and humorous sermon all the same. Wouldn't have been there for that if it wasn't for them. Now, what's the bet that one of them is going to tell me that it wasn't Senior year, but another time when blah blah blah...
I like to keep my memories as intact as possible because they're all I have to go on. In a couple of years, when I have them all mixed up, I will begin upon the path towards outright senility...all before the age of 30! Alright, 31 dammit! Now, that would be an achievement. Well, I'll take what I get, I suppose. What I would really like is for someone to tell me where Moses is, and what he's up to these days. It's been so darn long I'd love to know how life turned out for him. As for me, well, if you've gone through this blog you're bound to know how things have worked out for me. To slightly modify the name of one of the first computer games I ever played "Where in the world is Moses Pala?" No, it doesn't rhyme, dammit again!
Hey Mitoholi, if you're reading this, I hope you don't mind the descriptions and stuff. It's all in jest, and I'm still afraid you're going to kick my Mallu ass if you don't like it. So, let me know, wokay? And, how are you?
Moses, if you're reading this man, I don't mean to get all sentimental and be a blubbering idiot online, but I have been trying to reach you, albeit on and off, in the last couple of years. Let me know what's going on with you man.
Parul and Pema, feel free to drop me a line, or leave a comment if you ever come across this post and feel the urge to do so. I would appreciate that a lot.
And last but not least, Daya, thanks for sending me this picture man. It was a brilliant trip down whatever-is-left-of-memory lane. And, it spawned a typing frenzy that turned this post in a term paper and made me miss lunch. Hahaha!!!