I’m grateful to Facebook for putting me back in touch with my friends from yesterday. I’m otherwise not a great Facebook fan. Despite the privacy settings and the control one has over managing privacy, it’s too ‘out there’, in my opinion. Call me old school but I find comfort in being wary of this giant of a social networking site.
About six months ago, I bumped into a kindergarten friend on Facebook. It was a rather strange feeling because when in kindergarten, we tend to believe that life starts and ends in the classroom. Our relationships with classmates, parents and siblings take on mega proportions in our little heads. We believe that a tiff over a pencil box or a rough fight on the playground will determine our future. It can start and end friendship and enmity. But here we were — two young minds matured to grown-ups.
We said the customary hi-hello and a few days ago, we managed to meet for lunch (he lives abroad and we don’t get to meet unless we plan for it). We were reflecting on our days in nursery school and also on how each of us had changed. We thought we looked pretty much the same (although I wonder if we felt that way because we were repeatedly trying to look at each other through the prism of childhood – the one we remember hazily but feel strongly about). Life had taken us on interesting journeys but despite the rough and tumble of the road, our core values hadn’t changed at all.
We were meeting after at least 15 years but there was a commonality that we both responded to. We didn’t know each other’s tastes or preferences. We didn’t know the emotional state the other was in. We didn’t even know much of how the other lived or what he/she did. Yet, there was an anchor to this friendship, deeply rooted somewhere in childhood. Our conversation meandered from the current-day plundering of our beloved city – how the green is vanishing; how the new buildings are killing the character of the city; how new-age values are challenging the simplicity we once were familiar with. We soon realized that we had more in common than we thought we did.
Although we spoke so much about the present, we were trying to get a grip on those precious moments from the past. In those two hours, we attempted to journey back and find the sweet spot from childhood that made us the happiest. We did find that spot – not just one, many. This was while talking about other classmates; about school; about fights on the playground; about ‘best friends’; about birthday parties, etc.
Life had forced us to grow out of these ‘simpler’ times, and taken us through various twists and turns. At times, this overwhelmed us; at other times it made us wiser. As we thought back on this journey till now, it tempted us to re-live the old times when a colourful pencil box was our biggest wish and a chocolate cake was not a sin but our biggest reward. Throughout that conversation over lunch, if only during brief moments, the past and present had merged. We were very aware that when we would wish each other luck and goodbye, the past would linger but only until the present completely took over. Yet, till such time, it was a happy childhood place to be in.