This story is not like the others.
This story will take some time.
This is about someone who has been around me for very long.
Most of the people around us are like dance steps, they come and go as the song changes, but this guy is not one of them.
He is not a song. He is not a dance step. He is the background score.
I remember this one incident in first year of our college, when someone asked him,
“What is your name?”
“Bambam”, He said.
“Arey ghar ka naam mat batao” said the other person!
Such is the story of Alpha One.
Or shall I say Cotton Mouth?
Or shall I say Bamz?
Code Name Bamz? Code Name Bamz!
I wanted to introduce him with better words. But that is difficult. Words like “warm person”, “funny”, “amazing human” do not do him justice.
Bamz is not your flash in a pan, or lightning in bottle.
Bamz is not one instance of one special thing.
Bamz is like that evening breeze that flows every day.
If my life was the gas equation PV = nRT, then Bamz would be the gas constant R.
My first memory of him goes way back before I got to know him properly. Way, way back in the hair splitting life of DPS in Bokaro Steel City, I would often hang out with my friends around the chowmein stall on one side of Lakshmi market. The chowmein there was absolutely delicious.
It is there I remember him. Greyish specs. He was a mutual friend of my friend, and often hung around but we never quite talked.
But the privilege of getting to know him would come a few years later.
It would be in the old and decaying hostels of NIT Jamshedpur, on the very first day itself.
I do not know how, but it was by default that I started sitting with him and Pyrate from day one. I remember in the first week or so, when Pyrate was making his entry in his trademark fashion, we led a hooting of “whooooooooo”, to which Pyrate happily acknowledged.
I, Pyrate and Bamz would become closest of friends over the years.
I remember saving his number by the name “Transformer” initially, because we were in electrical. I was roll number 31 and he, roll number 271. I also remember there being an error from the college end in the admission ranking lists, and him being upset about it.
I remember the many carom nights we sent playing in the same team.
I remember the many many nights we spent together trying to study and somehow pass the exam next day.
I remember him buying the big fat J B Gupta for power systems, and having already read the most interesting bits of it.
I remember when he first bought the Lumia phone. It was quite the thing in our floor. The first windows phone that I had ever seen. And it had the first cloud storage.
I often wonder what all will come out if he ever opened up the folders from that time!!
I remember him watching Zero Dark Thirty and being pretty influenced by it.
I remember him introducing us to the sci fi series “Fringe”, where the character “Walter” becomes “Walternate”.
I remember eating chicken at Blooms and I remember drinking masala coke at bistupur golchakkar with him umpteen times.
I remember shopping at Reliance fresh, sakchi with him numerous times.
In all four years of college, Bamz was our “pdf” guy. He had the unique talent of taking photographs of all the class notes, subject wise, and release the pdf before the exam day. For taking photographs, Bamz would use the notes of Naval, whose handwriting was HD before we knew what HD really was.
Every single paper from fourth semester onwards I cleared with help of pdfs that Bamz released on the brink of war. And not just me. A good fan following had begun, and folks would often be seen delaying their preparations unless Bamz released the official pdfs.
He might still be having those pdfs with him. God knows. He is a keeper.
The one person I spent the most time with in my four years in NIT is easily Bamz. Be it classes. Be it exam preparations. Be it trips. Be it street food sprees.
I remember teaching him and Pyrate engineering drawing, which was a nightmare for all of us.
I remember those many NIT bus trips we used to take to Bistupur.
I remember his Adidas tees and white shoes.
I remember him tracking the train’s speed on our journey to Hyderabad.
I remember him introducing us to panorma images.
I remember going to Gupta’s with Bamz often, perhaps every evening, for the egg chowmein and sprite. Those evening would often be quiet and peaceful, at times we would get irritated that the chowmein cook had not come.
I remember Bamz’s fascination with very unique tidbits. Like the biggest dam that china was building. Like what PGCIL was up to in the Indian grid market.
Our friendship took a new turn with introduction of counterstrike among our group. None of us were any good, but none of us cared. We did not play in the big league of the pros in the hostel.
We were all newbies in our own league, and only played among ourselves. It is in CS that Bamz would get really involved, and learnt snipers pretty quick.
When it came to teaming up, my natural choice was always Bamz.
That his room in Hostel B was a complete case of contrasts, with all four guys being completely different from each other. But I would often like to hang out there. While Bamz could sleep days at a stretch, his roommate Satya would struggle, hardly sleeping at all.
In all my four years in NIT, Bamz was by my side. Always.
I remember him being there while making an FIR in Kolkata after I got my laptop stolen.
He was there when we watched our very first IMAX movie in Hyderabad, and that too happened to be Iron Man 3, a comic character Bamz would take an immediate liking to. IMAX changed my movie watching expectations forever. And Bamz was there by my side.
I remember him introducing me to Patanjali Products. I can be tried guilty for finishing off his Shodhit Harad, or Anaardana or the Awla Murabbas. I would take a forever liking to these things and they are in my drawer even right now.
I remember making PGCIL project with him in Namkum, Ranchi.
I remember watching the Amazing Spider Man with him.
There is no one, absolutely no one, with whom my taste matches so much. We could be blood brothers, if a test was ever done.
I loved CTKM. He loved it too. ( what CTKM is, is a total different story.)
I loved the bhuja at Fakira’s. He loved it too.
I loved eating paan. He loved it too.
I preferred walking long distances. He loved them too.
I loved HP laptops. He loved it too.
I loved momos. He loved them too.
I loved Khalsa food. He loved them too.
I loved litti in Bistupur. He loved them too.
I loved writing blogs. He loved reading them.
I loved Linkin Park. He loved them too. (We even managed to convince him that his hearing was lost because of one of the songs).
So that when time came for me to choose my roommate in third year there was no one else I could think of.
Very very few people would put up with my erratic behavior, sleeping early, waking up early, playing the same songs over and over again, and not preferring outsiders much and so on.
But kind Bamz would.
The third year was a struggle for me in many many ways, but it could make it through only because of Bamz. The food was horrible so I and Bamz would go to this aunty outside the NIT gates, and he would trust me enough to ride there with and amateur driver like me. This lady cooked excellent food, infact far better than NIT, and I never had to go alone.
Bamz was my partner in crime for most of my street food sprees. I got him addicted to momos and CTKM, and even the soda shop at char number naka. And Bamz would gladly come along.
That he loved his soups and warm beverages is something I picked on too. In the morbid hostel I, our room C 209, we would often cook soups and coffees.
It was in third year that we bought a dongle for internet, which worked excellently well while it lasted. Again, that was his idea.
In my life all over the place over the years, be in Bokaro, Tata, Chennai, Mysore and now Mumbai… the best roommate I have ever had is him. And that by a very very big margin.
All my trips during college days were accompanied by Bamz. We both went together to PGCIL in Ranchi for our vocational training, which he thankfully arranged. We both went to CITD in Hyderabad, which again, he proposed. We both went to Puri in our final year, which again are the memories of a lifetime.
You see, the point I am trying to make here is that Bamz is the constant in all my life’s equations. Because he is there. With advise, with inputs and sometimes with just plain jokes. I had a busy life in college, with many many clubs and events to take care of, and I had many friends to work and hang out with… but I could always go to Bamz when I came back.
Because he was always there.
This is one person who is brings the much needed calm and peace in your life. Bamz is not a bright spot in my story. That is not who he is.
He is the background score. There at all moments. Happy. Sad. Exciting ones too.
He remains one of my greatest achievements from NIT.
I strongly believe that one need not be blood to be family.
Bamz is not blood. But he is family.
He will always be.