A few days ago, I cleared more than 700 emails from my Hotmail, one of my oldest email accounts. Most of them were forwards, invites to some totally useless thing or the other, and offers that were, quite frankly, grotesque. One gave me a great deal to get married. In 2004.
I am a sucker for clean, organised detail – as perhaps this blog shows – and this spring cleaning was something that I was planning for a long time. What I wasn’t, was the result it produced.
It normally doesn’t take much to get me emotional, especially if that emotion is nostalgia, but going through those emails, I had that classic epiphany – how much we had changed. While going through some of the oldest, I discovered a few genuine emails. Written to communicate, written in a time when we hadn’t been jarred and spoilt by the touch of commercialism, and still ‘cared’, written in a time when we had time. Somewhere, tackling all the glitter and gloss of ‘India Shining’, college, and the rest, we morphed, sadly, into adults. Did we grow? I am not too sure, but our innocence and our empathy – we sure lost them in the quest to gain something, to be someone.
Like those days spent under the giant old Banyan in the school ground – glad for the calm shade the tree gave us, before being forced to move out into the scorching Sun at the end of the period. How we hoped to find a solution to this mystery they label Life, how we carved dreams on the open sky. Those after-school efforts to deck-up the school for Teachers’ Day, when battles were fought against the rampaging hordes of adolescence, and all of us martyrs were laid to rest in the yard of Love, making confessions and commitments in lonesome corridors. Those dances and stage shows, when, with such skill that would put Machiavelli to shame, we managed to set up the latest in the long line of shy, mumbling lovebirds in some or the other awkward situation, and laughed to nothingness when clueless teachers reprimanded them. Those games that were played with the explicit purpose of getting close, or flirting with, as happened to be your case, that special one, and transforming, during its course, into the smartest, the wittiest sods to have walked the planet.
Strange how that, when we lived them, they were days of the most dreadful pain, and now when we look back, are drops of honeydew, bringing aroma and colour to our drab existence. The past! Ah…the damn past!
Anyway, all these, and more, relics of a life left behind were dumped onto my unprepared, unsuspecting heart. I don’t think I’m anyone’s ideal friend, or whether any of the few I have will call me the most communicative chap they know. But I would like to think that, at least to those who matter, I give my best. Which is perhaps why strangest of all was the fact that these emails were from folks I have grown the most distant from. I certainly can’t put a finger on why it happened, and am not pushing on the blame, but it did. Gradually, somewhere, they became just names, not even associated with those events that, without doubt, shaped the person I am.
As such, I write to you. I don’t know if this is an apology, or an effort to get back in touch. But know that you, and I think you’ll be able to identify yourself, you, friend, are loved. And missed. Those long telephonic conversations, those rampant efforts to set-up, or often, as I am ashamed to admit, get set-up, those days and dances – for all these, and more!
May wherever you are, you feel that you have someone grateful for you. If you come to think of it, that is perhaps all that matters – having someone!