Graduation ceremony was very grand and Madhavan looked every inch a scholar in the maroon gown and cap with golden yellow tassels. The gown suited the fair
complexioned Madhavan, much better than Mak and Mathews, who were on the darker side. Madhavan felt a tinge of sadness, when he saw the parents who had
assembled there to witness their children's graduation.. But he thanked his stars for making it to the top, against all odds. An achievement which exceeded his wildest imagination.
Madhavan could not help agreeing with his room mate, Sathish, who often said ``Life is beautiful”.
After a weekend of merrymaking with beer, Bloody Marys and omelets (Madhavan had graduated from half boiled egg to omelet now), Madhavan was interviewed and selected telephonically by Indigo Technologies, Santa Clara.
One afternoon after checking mail, a beaming Madhavan announced, "Listen guys, I got an offer from Indigo Technologies, I've to fly to Santa Clara, I should be in
their office by 10 AM, the day after tomorrow.”
"Congrats! Great!” Mak and Satish said in unison, shaking Madhavan's hands and hugging him.
“Really great, Madhavan, you're the best but...”Mak stopped, not knowing whether to continue. “But, what?"
Madhavan raised his bushy eyebrows "Well, Madhavan you've to dress up smartly, You've to buy a suit."
“I don't think I can spare so much money now. I've to go to a new place and I’ve plans of visiting India too,"
"Come on Madhavan, you can't mess up the final interview. First impressions are the best impressions.
You're buying a good suit tomorrow. That's it” , Satish drawled, slicing the air with his palms, to emphasize his point. Madhavan too remembered his English teacher, Mythili Miss’s oft repeated Shakespearean quotation “Apparel oft proclaims the man” and the tears it brought to his eyes, every time he had to wear his oversized shirt and trousers to school.
Oh God I’ve come a long way from those miserable years, time to pamper myself a bit. Moreover am I not lucky to have sincere friends? Even the pompous Satish
is good to me.. Helping these guys with their projects, making Sunday dosas for them were only a very small price to pay for their love, affection and recognition'
thought Madhavan. He then threw up his hands in the air as though he was surrendering and said. "Okay, Okay Boss, let's go tonight, you choose one reasonably good, inexpensive suit for me."
"Nothing less than Armani, costs about 2000$, worth it, Madhavan. After all, the company's going to pay you for your flight and your hotel stay.. So go for Armani, Sathish drawled again and everyone laughed.
"Oh yeah,, but let him save Armani for his Chennai trip, when he takes his vacation, right Madhavan? That would give enough time for you too, Sathish, to get a deal for Armani” , that was Māk.
Madhavan looked at his roommates of two years, gratitude filled his heart, he gave a broad grin and said, “ Let's go for suit selection this evening. We'll call Cheenu and
Hulio too, let's eat out..my treat, okay?"
Then Madhavan disappeared to his room to telephone Cheenu, Hulio for dinner the next day and talk to Chennai to give the great news......
Ranganathan was on cloud nine, when Madhavan gave the details of his fantastic pay, his company meeting his expenses, their offer of relocation money to go back to Arizona, to wind up his establishment, prior to joining in Santa Clara etc.
Ranganathan watched, with his frowned expression, when Vasumathy started questioning Madhavan about the new place, where he would be staying, what arrangement for his food there and about finally his plans of visiting Chennai etc.
When she came to Madhavan's visit part, she choked with unshed tears. Ranganathan was quite annoyed at this demonstration of love and foolish sentiments, that too, on an international call. It took tremendous effort on Ranganathan's
part not to call his foolish wife ‘Kazhuthai" this time. Harini too gave details about her College, the dresses her classmates
wear, the Christian Dior perfume she wanted Madhavan to get for her. This time Madhavan told his Appa, to get Patty for one weekend's stay in Besant Nagar, so that he could talk to her.
Madhavan emphatically told his Appa that he had neither time nor inclination to talk to Raghavan Mama and his family, just because he wanted to talk to his Patty. Though not very happy about it, Ranganathan agreed.
That night, Vasumathy spent a sleepless night, her mind plagued with how her son would adjust to this new place, Santa Clara, how he would stay alone in an apartment, how he could take leave from the new job and come to India, how she would send him eatables or podis etc. Ranganathan too slept badly, his mind filled with pictures of the envious smiles of his colleagues', especially Soma Sundaram, when he narrated Madhavan's new job, pay etc. He made a mental note to ask Madhavan to send pictures of his Graduation, his new Office, Apartment along with his car (after buying it, of course) from Santa Clara. He wanted to take his colleagues
and students at least to a pictorial tour of Madhavan's life in the States. After all, as he discovered in the case of his Maruti car, the major share of his enjoyment depended on the envy it produced on other people, especially his colleagues Once
this most important decision for demanding Madhavan's picture sending was made, Ranganathan slipped into deep sleep, snoring away ......................
Madhavan packed up his things but left behind all Amma's podis, vadams, pickle etc for his friends. When they protested, he said he would get more from home, when his
Captain uncle came to San Francisco. In any case, he said, he had blossomed into a good cook and could even make his own podis.
Mak, Mathews, Sathish and Cheenu were at the Phoenix airport to see Madhavan off. When the flight was announced, they hugged him and assured him that once he
got settled, they would spend a long weekend with him in Santa Clara, visit all the places, try their luck in gambling in Reno city and Las Vegas. Though Madhavan tried to put up a cheerful front, tears welled up in his eyes, when he bid adieu to his best friends, to whom he owed a great debt of gratitude....