Up the ladder of life

When we moved to Bangalore in the mid-eighties my family’s social life was pretty well organised. Every Sunday evening we would set off from home to Vidhana Soudha and sit on the steps for some time. This would be followed by masala puri at the chaat cart. We would then go to Cubbon Park and walk around the fountain eating boiled peanuts. Finally, we would head to MG Road and park near Plaza Cinema. A short walk would take us to Lakeview for ice cream before heading home. Life was simple but fun.

One day I bumped into an old classmate at a college reunion. I was a front-bencher while he survived on proxy attendance. However, at the final year exam we shared a desk and he feels he owes his future to me because he managed to cog a couple of answers from my paper in the Theory of Machines exam and passed.

 He later became a successful corporate executive and also married well. At the reunion the first question he asked me was whether I was a member of any clubs. He looked a bit nonplussed when I told him I was a life member of the Hoysala Karnataka Sangha. He recovered quickly and said he meant social clubs. On my answer in the negative he looked at me pityingly and said that the situation needed to be corrected. I was awestruck when he listed out the five clubs of which he was a member.

A few days later he sent me a form to be filled up. My colleagues at office raised their eyebrows when they saw the name of the club. I sent the completed form to my friend who said he would get the required nomination signatures.

My wife baulked at the amount that needed to be paid with the application. She was, however, excited about the prospect of hobnobbing with the glitterati soon. After the application was submitted I was shocked when my friend told me that my membership was expected sometime after eight years. I calculated how much I would have earned if I had put the amount in a fixed deposit. It was back to normal life after this hiccup.

Eleven years later out of the blue I received a notification from the club asking me to attend an interview along with my spouse. The letter cautioned me that I should wear formals. It was unnerving at the interview as everyone looked so stern. I thought a couple of the panelists sneered when I told them my background.

But obviously my classmate was held in high stead as a week later I received a welcome letter from the club. It’s been a while since then. I get a thrill every time the security guard at the gate raises the boom barrier instantly after noticing the club sticker on the windshield of my car.

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