Wednesday, November 25, 2020

crazy coincidences

nothing like being locked in for most of a year with one person to think about the connections that brought you together... and then kept you together.

i don't know if i'm an outlier or everyone else's story is like mine, but here's tracing the story of shruti and myself, through all the chance connections that brought us together.

tl;dr: i probably wouldn't be married to shruti today if my mom hadn't cold called the owner of a computer institute in may 2001.

first of all, it's weird that though shruti and i have lived within 1 mile of each other since about 1987, we only met in late 2014. and we did not have any close mutual friends when we met. i knew her school classmates, but they didn't know her. none of her school friends knew me. i probably had school classmates who knew her, but i didn't/don't know them well enough to know. until the day we met, we never hung out at the same places, ever!

so...tracing backward. shruti and i met on a hike/camping trip in november 2014. the hike was planned by "adventure lovers", a group of outdoor-loving folks based in mumbai.

shruti was introduced to the group by a friend ashok a couple of months earlier. after she was introduced to the group, we planned many hikes, but all of them were canceled - until the one where we met, which was her first hike with the group.

ashok was introduced to the group by me, because we were planning a 19 day motorcycle trip in july 2014, and he wanted to come along. he was involved in the planning - but canceled about a month before the trip was finalized. he stuck with the group though, and as far as i know, has attended only one hike with adventore lovers - the one where shruti and i met. 

i knew ashok from well before "adventure lovers" - more on that later.

as for adventure lovers itself, its formation is another story. i was out clubbing one friday night in february 2014, and didn't check my messages for a few hours. when i got home and checked my phone, there was a message from joylyn. joylyn said that a bunch of her friends were planning a hike on saturday, and she was wondering if i'd be interested. i was so interested i called her at 3am, because i had no idea what time on saturday they were planning to leave, and didn't want to risk missing it by finding out too late. turns out they planned it for saturday night, not morning. joylyn hated the hike-turned-trek so much that i don't think she ever came for one with us ever again. the rest of us guys (salman, amey, abhinav and myself) on the other hand got along so well that we founded "adventure lovers". before that message, joylyn and i have never really chatted much or hung out together, except with marjorie - that's how i know her, and how she landed up on my facebook. how do i know marjorie? that's another strange set of coincidences. 

anyway, chronologically, the next person whose "story" comes up is ashok. ashok and i have known each other for many years, through multiple mutual friends. all those friends have one thing in common: they used to work together at "3" in malad, in 2007 or thereabouts. I didn't know any of them at that time, even though i was working in the next building in 2007! however i got to know a couple of guys from that group quite closely much later. one of them is jude. jude and i were hiking up lohagad with a bunch of friends, when ashok was hiking down lohagad with another bunch of friends. and they bumped into each other, and jude introduced me to ashok.

how do i know jude? jude and i met at a friend's birthday party, sometime in 2010 or 2011 i think. that friend is brandt. brandt and i have known each other since about 2001, more on that later. but while we knew each other for many years, we never had any common friends for some reason. however, that birthday, brandt's friend cleona decided to throw him a surprise party at a restaurant near home. but she didn't know me. however, brandt had mentioned me multiple times in the past, and cleona was in touch with my brother, and that's how i got invited to the birthday party. we got along so well that jude planned a motorcycle ride with the rest of his riding buddies. that's the one where i met ashok.

the other connection with ashok is through nickolai. i don't remember the specifics of that connection, but she definitely mentioned that i should meet him as we're both like minded riders/travelers/free spirits :D and nickolai and i were close enough for her to be able to tell when two of her good friends would get along great ;)

i met nickolai in december 2007. just shy of 13 years ago. how i met her is another strange story: we were on this social website called "orkut" (anyone remember that one?), and there was a small "group" on orkut for people who lived nearby. after a few months on that community, we decided to meet up. about 10 of us met in the area for a short walk, hung out in a park nearby, and then went home. nickolai missed that meet-up though, because she saw the messages late or something. so we swapped numbers and agreed that i will call her and let her know the next time the group meets up... which they never did. but nickolai and i got talking and we got along so well that she's been my bestie ever since. and the strangest thing is that we've lived our entire lives before about one block away, and though we had common friends that neither of us were close to, we never met or even found each other familiar when we did meet.

i met marjorie somewhere in the first half of 2007. marjorie traveled to pune to meet me (I was doing my internship there, and i used to spend the week in pune, and travel back to mumbai every weekend). that was, if i remember correctly, one of maybe two or three weekends i didn't travel back to mumbai. i didn't travel back because marjorie was headed to pune. for a funeral, i think. it was something dramatic like that, and marjorie wasn't sure if she should head all the way to pune for it - but i convinced her she should. until that day marjorie and i had never met in person. we had only chatted on the phone.

marjorie had taken my phone number from brandt. marjorie's computer had stopped working. and brandt said i was the only person who might be able to help her fix it just on the phone. and yes, i was able to tell her how to fix it on the phone. if i remember correctly, she had to take out the RAM, clean the contacts, and fit it back in. she was so grateful that she promised me dessert at the place of my choice. i still don't remember what the dessert of my choice was, or where i wanted it from - becasue i never collected it. anyway, marjorie and i ended up besties.

and so, finally: jude and marjorie both lead to brand. how did i meet brandt? brandt and i were coworkers at a summer job. this was 2001, and we were both working at a computer institute during our summer vacations. i was their youngest computer instructor (a shade under 17 years), and brandt was in charge of marketing and sales. we were both based out of the branch of the institute that had recently opened, and for the most part, were the only employees there.

i don't know how brandt got that job, but i remember how i got mine: i was whiling away my summer vacations, and mom thought it's time i got myself a summer job. she knew i loved working with computers. so after sunday church, when she was handed a flyer advertising a new computer institute in the area, she called them and asked if they needed an instructor. if i remember correctly, i got the job without an interview.

tl;dr: i probably wouldn't be married to shruti today if my mom hadn't cold called the owner of a computer institute in may 2001.

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