Just in passing I happened to mention, in an e-mail "Sanga Tooo", which was a signal/gesture to end friendship and start 'enemyship' My friend Kumar wrote back "Another subject for your blog." I looked up at the ceiling, fingers of both hands interlocked behind my head and thought for a while. Why not?
"Sanga Tooo Piece" was a common thing, unwanted, but part of childhood. It was gestured holding the the tips of index finger and middle finger tips, curving the fingers so that there was a gap through which we announced "Sanga Tooo Piece". It meant friendship cut into two pieces! Enemyship.
Speaking or playing in the same playgroup suddenly became uncomfortable because of the presence of an enemy! Touching an enemy was taboo! So kids maintained a good distance!
Oftentimes, enemyship were temporary lasting as short as one day! When senior members of families came to know about this, the enemies were called together for a reunion, which was the most uncomfortable act, but we obeyed elders. One of the kids would curve the two fingers the same way, but not in front of the mouth. The other kid passes one finger through the gap splitting the two fingers thus symbolically ending enemyship. Friends again! Feelings returning to normalcy took time and a tough period to endure!!
Friend, unfriend and re-friend! Thanks to facebook, we have such terms! 'Unfriending' is so easy now on facebook and not as embarrassing as our old-time reality.
My classmate Rajagopal [Gopi] living in the nearby street was my regular companion to school, both ways, even from the early school days. It continued till our seventh class. We had some wonderful memories of our stroll back and forth school almost every day. We used to go to each other's homes often mostly for playing various games like chess, carrom and whatnot.
While in 7th we became enemies! Neither of us cannot recall at all, the cause. But luckily and strangely not long after, a gooseberry became instrumental in ending our enemyship.
I now have to take you to the 'Gooseberry' story. But I'll tell in brief. While playing, a gooseberry pickle was in my mouth, many waiting to be eaten from the pocket! It got stuck in the gullet. Minor operation cleared the obstruction. Throat became septic after 2-3 days. Sickness. No school. 7th Public Exams closing in. Gopi comes with Zakir to see me lying on bed. End of enmity. [Click] for the full story, if you wish to read.
Gopi and I were normal friends again. Though we met as team mates in tennis ball cricket matches and also cricket in his neighbourhood, we were no longer going together to [high] school. We had our own friends by then. He did his degree and moved to Madras [now Chennai] for greener pastures which became truly green for him.
For as long as his parents continued to be in the same house I was abreast with his welfare. His brothers and mother moved away some years later, thus information on Gopi was cut.
After many years one fine afternoon, Gopi turned up at my house with a "Do you remember me?" look. What a relief it was with his surprise visit! Shyly we exchanged some old memories to begin another chapter of fresh friendship. We exchanged addresses and then letters once in a while to stay in touch. We have met many times since then, with families, at each other's places. When nostalgia gets the better of us, we never miss reminiscing our wonderful enemyship!! "Sanga no piece"!