About seven months ago, Udit, a friend from High School rang me up and asked me if I'd like to share a unit with him. Sure, we hadn't really been in contact for six years, apart from the odd 21st of a mutual friend, but hey, what's the worst that could happen? He still seemed to have been the responsible guy I knew in High School and I could pretend to be responsible for the purposes of making a tenancy application, so we decided to give it a shot.
Over the following few Saturdays we travelled around the city and surrounding suburbs looking for a place to call home over the next six months. We looked at everything from the sublime to the ridiculous. We went to have a look at an apartment in Kings Cross, only to discover that it was situated between two strip clubs - we didn't even bother asking for a tenancy application. We also looked at a place that looked like it was full of asbestos and another that was missing a window. We almost decided on a place in Glebe before finally settilng upon a place in Surry Hills. Within five days of looking at the place, we had paid the deposit, signed the lease and moved in.
Moving in was a much more traumatic experience than either of us had anticipated. Despite being told the day before that the lift was fully operational, it was broken on the day of the move. Accordingly, this meant that we had to carry all of our belongings up three flights of stairs. This was particularly enjoyable when carrying my fridge and my two lounges, one of which hardly fit around the narrow staircase. Luckily, my parents and a friend or two were there to help share our pain.
With all of the abovementioned trials and tribulations out of the way, it was time for us to settle down and enjoy the place and the company of each other. This proved to be very easy, albeit that each of us had our own idiosyncracies - I would sing in the shower in the morning (which Udit told me was a very effective alarm clock) while Udit would be up until all hours of the night on his computer. Over the next six months, I was blessed with many fond memories which I shall carry with me. Allow me indulge for a moment while I think about the good times I will cherish:
I will remember walking into the city together to chat over coffee, although I don't really remember the content of any of the conversations.
I will remember learning about Hindu theology from him while talking to him about my Christian faith.
I will remember marvelling at the fact that notwithstanding the differences between the two faiths, there was so many similarities.
I will remember lugging two slabs home from World Square under the impression that we would share the beer equally, only to discover that Udit would have a beer twice as often as I did.
I will remember building "The Great Wall of Beer" - empty beer bottles placed in a row along the window sill in the living room and the need to console each other about the tragedy of having to remove it for an inspection.
I will remember trash-talking each other about upcoming table tennis matches.
I will remember Udit's infinite patience at my almost daily question in the morning: "Ready for a big one?" and after Udit replying that he was, my response of either "That's the spirit" or "That's what I like to hear".
But all good things must come to an end. About a month ago we found out that someone had bought the unit and wanted to live in the place. Shortly thereafter, Udit was offered a job in Canberra with Medicare. And so, like that it was over. There would be no more Great Wall of Beer or no more inane and cliched conversations at my instigation. It is these little things that I will miss most - it almost chokes me up thinking about it.
Just before you liken this story to a Greek tragedy, there is a small twist in the ending. Before we left the house, Udit sold me an old computer to me for a cheap price. Yesterday and today, he helped me set it up and get the internet running. So while I may no longer live with the man they call "The Big U", he is in a way partly responsible for the blog entries I make from my new place.
Godspeed, my brother. Your legacy will live on.