Dileepan’s speech that day was extraordinary in the toast master’s club, and he was adjudged the best speaker. He had given a feverish speech on farmers plight in India and what he thinks should be done to alleviate their problems, and our society at large. At 26, prime of youth, his social consciousness, energy and passion always left me with lingering hopes on the next generation. He is working for a software giant in the capacity of team leader, and my usual misgivings on the IT kids was shaken with this guy.
I started my car, to enjoy our usual tea in the Anna Restaurant, opposite Anna Nagar East bus terminus. Please dont get carried away with the title restaurant, its more a place for friends to talk. No one would have cared for this “restaurant” in the posh Anna Nagar, except for the boys of Kandaswamy college. I found this place comfy and lovely to get transported to my young age.
On the way, it stuck me as odd Dileepan not owning a vehicle. I asked “Why Dileepan, are you saving for your marriage, by not buying a car?” and laughed. His expression suddenly changed and I saw him tensed. I realised I have been a bit out of line with a guy who I knew just for few weeks.
I said “Sorry Dileepan, I did not really mean to hurt you, I was kidding”. He shook his head and said “Sir, please, I know you were joking. I cannot drive a car. When I was 12, I took my appa’s car keys without his knowledge when he was sleeping. I guess my father heard the starting of the car noise and came out. I was reversing and on seeing him, out of fear I stepped on the gas pedal instead of brake. I hit and crushed a young boy who was on cycle near my gate…..”