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Lost & Not Found
|by G Swaminathan|
Months back persistent calls from one of my old class mates four decades ago made me curious. I was busy with classes inside the campus and outside, so by the time he contacted me, he had to waste about four calls. The first question he asked me was whether I am working hard still? I laughed and said that not exactly. He then questioned me when am I going to retire. I said in a few months time.
Then he came out with his proposal of forming a ‘Yahoo Group’ of those who passed out in that particular year from our college and especially from our branch which had been mooted by some of our long- lost- touch with the other class mates.
He also wanted to know the whereabouts of some of the other friends whose contacts are difficult to get. I have to equally plead my ignorance about it. In fact, the friend who contacted me only now after about nearly twenty five years and he knew well that I work in this particular institute for the past three decades.
He gave me the info about the group and how to enter into it. I entered the same and found to my surprise that nearly about 20 of the 60 classmates were exchanging mails in a little funny and frantic manner. As expected either most of them have settled abroad or their wards are there and keep moving from India frequently. So one could see ‘ You remember, I met so and so at Chicago or New York’ or ‘I called on you when you were in Kuwait’, ‘X’s son’s marriage was conducted at Pittsburg Venkateswara Temple’, ‘Do you remember my daughter sang at the Tyagaraja festival at Cleveland?’ ‘Last time I met him in Melbourne’, ‘I visited him when he was in Paris’ etc, etc. All these guys (or rather oldies?) are globe trotters and it looks now particularly a group of them are overwhelmed by the response from some long lost quarters of friends.
So my mails box started suddenly overflowing with such maze of messages with which I don’t know what to do. Neither I have trotted the globe nor had a very exciting career of switching over jobs from one to another. Since I remained a bachelor I don’t have anything to boast about my wards too. There was a photo album which was loaded with photographs of the black and white college days to the new digital color photos of the present. Many of them are the poor imitation of their young image and some are totally unrecognizable.
Surprisingly, within this short exchange of mails some complaints like ‘this group only interested in knowing about those who were close to them in the college days’ and ‘Dr Y has not acknowledged my congratulatory message’. Sounded really funny!
I think all these who have been feverishly communicating and going down the memory lane are because they have come to the leisurely phase of their lives and now they have nothing much to worry as their sons and daughters have settled in life and the job also has come to a saturation point. Now, it is time for bragging and recognizing the old friends who were once equals. Otherwise, why they haven’t contacted at least those who had been close to them in the college days during all these years?
When I looked desparately at the filling of my mail box with such inane or mindless mails, I felt that I have become old more than my age or not too enthusiastic on something which I have lost my interest or have turned too young to tolerate this nonstop nagging of old men. Please don’t mistake. I do have quite a large circle of friends from 90 to 19 but unfortunately, none of my old class mates fit in that. The truth is with age each one is bound to change. Changes are the permanent features of this world. Right from our attitude to behavior undergo drastic transformations with the work we do, the people we have to interact, the tastes we develop, the interests that arrive and above all the wisdom we acquire with age. We are not the same person of the college days; at least I am not.
A couple of them from US and one from other part of India and another from Chennai itself met once but nothing special could be felt except a few recalls of nostalgia. Some those who had been too talkative during college days turned silent and some remained same.
I understand that I am a stranger in the crowd. I know even for the others the fever will subside once again to silence and wisdom will prevail on them.
Till such time, for me it is just an amusement with mild exasperation.
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