I am not particularly chatty in online messaging groups. The whole idea of interacting with so many people all at the same time seems quite daunting to me. Also, for someone whose attention span is similar to a toddler’s, it is nearly impossible to keep track of all the criss-cross conversations happening simultaneously in a large group. So, I mostly hover around behind the scenes like a silent lurker who occasionally resurfaces to wish people on their birthdays and then crawls back to a safe space and watches them from a distance. Anyway, a few days ago, a friend shared a beautiful video which left me with bittersweet feelings. It was a montage of pictures of my old school, a beautiful tapestry woven with frayed but fond memories of a time long gone by — photos of my old buddies in school uniforms posing for the camera in the expansive school playground, a certain friend’s birthday party where everyone was staring awkwardly at the camera as if waiting for the photographer to quickly finish his job so that they could go back to cracking jokes, teasing, or whatever it was that had kept them engaged at that moment. I am bad at keeping in touch with old pals. I do love and value them immensely but I never join them on video chats and rarely relate to this new-age ‘digitally connected to friends’ trend. I am not against it but I find it a little OTT like most of the things that trend on social media. But call it the fear of fast-diminishing youth or impending maturity (read: the wrinkly, not-so-bright phase of life) I ended up tearing up a little while watching the video. Damn! I hardly let my emotions override my logical self like this but I am embarrassed to admit that at that moment, a part of me was dying to speak to these friends, these skinny gawky teenagers with sparkling eyes and shy smiles behind ugly dental braces, with whom I had shared a glorious, blemish-free, and wonderful part of my life once. So, like an emotional fool driven by impulses, I whipped out my phone and tapped on their numbers, one by one, and told them how badly I wanted to hear their voice. My voice was a tad shaky with all the emotions stirring at the back of my throat. Honestly, before uttering those words I had no clue how much I missed them. It’s weird, how sometimes it just takes one group chat message to take you down the memory lane and make you see what you have been missing all along. Of course, I felt great after speaking to them, for these people, these old chums of mine with their wicked jokes and endless banter, have still preserved a part of me in their heart that I struggle to recognise today. That night, in my dream, I found myself back in school, strolling around the old abandoned wing of the huge complex where the early years of my life, the precious moments of teenage were still safely tucked away in the cracks of the crumbling walls now partially encroached by an ancient banyan tree. Its hanging roots cried out my name. And for a moment, I became the girl who dreamed fearlessly, yapped non-stop, and saw life as this smooth ride with no sudden jerks or unexpected turns. This innocent jubilant self, which my school buddies still believe and assume lives inside of me, is far from the jaded weary present version of mine. She is pure and unencumbered by the daily grind and shines like a delicious beam of winter sun that radiates warmth and cheer wherever it goes.
Oh, what wouldn’t I give to live with unbridled joy like that again!
Pic: VisionPic.net via Pexel