September 05, 2010

Adding Up

A now forgotten letter published in all major Indian newspaper spoke of riding a tiger without knowing how to get off it. The entire nation was shocked. But few realized that we all do it in our day to day lives. Taking on commitments that ensure we run and run and run. A recent confectionary advertisement actually realizes this – stopping by to smell the flower on the side of the road; that’s what you forget when you ride the tiger. To sit under the shades of a tree and watch life pass by – that’s a luxury few of us have anymore.

Last few weeks have been different. Probably the process of growing up is finally trying to start amidst strong resistance. Whatever it is, the churn is telling and the worse affected by it is the boy who was always happy, no matter what life dealt him.

There are two ways you can remember the old days. You can revel in its glory or you can let it be sweet memories and move on. My life is made of memories, like everyone else’s. However, what I realize is that our brain filters out the images that we do not want to remember always invariably making the past seem romantic. That’s where my hyper active brain creates problems. It loves to remember images and memories as they were to savour the pain and love, suffering and exhilaration, just as they were all those years ago.

The past has a strange way of mixing and messing up the present. Over the last one week I have met men and women from my past and what I realize that every one of us remembers incidents that are extremely trivial to the world around us. We remember the debates on tram cars in Calcutta, we remember an article accepted at the cost of a sketch and we remember a broken promise forgotten unwept.

There have been meetings with people who could have been friends had we known each other better, there have been meetings where old friendships have asked for their cheques to be cashed, there have been moments when the world has come crashing down. And all these incidents have taken their toll on the smile. The worry lines make their appearance beneath the eyes, the eyes droop every night unable to bear the burden, the weddings get missed and the mood darkens.

The closest friendships are the ones built on trust of yesteryears but the reality of the present. A friendship which does not evolve with time is slated for doom and that’s what I see happening all around me. Imagine your parents still considering you a two year old still in dire need of some toilet training. Gross right? Exactly my point.

But then someone messages “Happy Teacher’s Day” and you remember the innocence that still exists. Strangely, you feel happy again even though feeling old.

The people in the US are nice. They are the ones who prove to me that things don’t change much post your closest friends in college get married. I mean they do to a certain extent but the world does not come to an end as had been predicted. When my friends here are in their deep slumber, the phones from US come to ask if I was doing alright. And the world seems nicer again.

The next weekend is a long one in Mumbai and the keepers of my sanity plan to descend on the city. They are needed, to restore the balance, to bring back the faith, to clear the webs of confusion. Because sometimes to add and subtract, you need to lend and borrow at times.


Z said...

The thing on friendships not evolving with time is spot on. However while effort is necessary for evolution (say keeping in touch), it largely seems to be interests or opinions or.. more particularly, necessity. We make friends who are useful to us - useful right from sharing a flat to being someone who can think like you and who you can bounce ideas of. When the primary utility goes off and the rest do not differentiate the friendship, they "devolve".

What makes things difficult is that as kids you get many avenues to meet people. It thins as you grow. Also, you meet people of many temperaments and inclinations early in life. One meets the same engineer-MBA-salaried chappy these days.

Incidentally, this evolution point you make is particularly interesting in the context of long term relationships / marriages etc. Is there any way to predict continued compatibility? (evolution being only partly dependent on effort)

Madhurjya (Banjo) said...

True about meeting fantastic people as kids. And the study on long term relationships is on. One day I will have an answer :)

Kavity said...

"To add and subtract, you need to lend and borrow at times" - much needed advice at this point of time.
Completely relate with the part on friendships..