I’m not addicted to Facebook. Unlike a lot of people I know, I seem to have avoided that particular bug quite successfully. I don’t spend hours of my life looking through other people’s photo albums, nor do I go around doing even more pointless things like poking people or throwing sheep at them, as fun as they may seem. I guess one of the reasons is that I don’t really have the time (I can already hear the groans!), but mostly, I’m just not as fascinated by Facebook as most people seem to be. In fact, the sheer number of things you can do on it sort of overwhelms me.
Sure, it’s a great way to keep in touch with friends. If you take the initiative, that is. I’m afraid I’m just one of those people terrible at communication when it’s not face to face. I take ages to reply to mails, and I’m hopeless at instant stuff like Facebook or Orkut. I’d like to blame my genes (my brother suffers from the same condition, except he’s not that great at the face-to-face stuff either, heh), but I guess if I want to be really honest, there’s no one to blame but me. Everytime I get a notification in my mail about something happening on Facebook, I just make a mental note (that I promptly forget), delete the mail (I’m picky about keeping only the important stuff in my inbox) and move on. Then one fine day, my guilty subconscious will
superpoke poke me, and I’ll venture into the Facebook world so I can attend to my business and be done with it. Clean slate, and all that.
Today was one of those days. And while “attending to my business”, I just happened to take a stroll around. Just killing time, I guess.
And I say I don’t have time to blog, pffft. I chanced upon the photo album of a friend I’d known from my school days. She had a black and white picture that she’d titled “the best times”. I went and took a peek, and there they were. A dozen or so school friends, all smiling back at me. The photo was obviously taken at a reunion of some sort, because while some of them still looked the same, many of them had changed visibly from when we’d parted ways.
And just like that, it all came rushing back to me. Memories, tons of them. The grey school building. Maroon and white uniforms. The noisiest class on the third floor, unfortunately placed right next to the staff room. The awesome excursion to Bombay. The train journeys, the singing. The exam jitters. The tears, the nervous breakdowns. The celebrations, the jubiliation.
And the faces themselves. Boy, what memories! The look-alike. The girl I always competed with for the highest marks in Hindi. The pretty and popular one, from whom I learned a great many things. Ahem. The nerd who was fair and pretty and had freckles, but wore thick glasses that masked a lot of the prettiness. But who now looks so different and babe-like, that it took me a few minutes to recognize her.
And then there were others. Faces I remembered distinctly, people I could still picture in school uniforms, sitting in the classroom, laughing, playing, but whose names, for the life of me, I couldn’t remember. And in place of their names, random odd memories flooded my head. The Gujju girl whose massive house I’d once been to and been in awe of. The girl whose father died a day before my birthday. The tall, pretty Christian girl with a name I know I liked. The plump girl, of whom I couldn’t even conjure up a decent memory, even though I know I spent 5 years in the same class as her. I’d known these people for a good chunk of my life, spent some of my most memorable years with them. And now, six years later, I couldn’t even put a name to the faces.
I don’t really blame myself. Or anything, for that matter. People lose touch, memories fade away. It’s sort of sad, in a way, because it all seems a bit pointless. A few good years, and then you move on to something else. New places, new faces. What happens to all those friends you make? If, after a few years, all you remember of these friends are a few fond memories and nothing else, is it really worth making friends in the first place?
Well, of course it is. When you think about it, change is the only constant thing in life. MG and I have talked about this so many times in our years together at university, I’ve lost count. You go through these different stages in your life – school, college, work, so on and so forth – and at every stage, you make new friends. Some you remember for longer than others, some are surprisingly forgettable. But that doesn’t make the time you spend with these people any less special or meaningful. Memories might fade and you might forget the specifics, but you’ll always remember the happiness you derived from their company. They might not be in your life for long, but in a way, they’ll be “friends forever”.
I guess that’s why it’s so important to enjoy the present. So that when you’re going down memory lane in the future, you remember the good stuff. The fun times, the happy memories. So that when you suddenly come across a picture of your friends from long, long ago, you don’t feel depressed or regretful – instead, you feel grateful that you had the chance to spend a few lovely years with some awesome people. So that after fondly remembering the past, you can look optimistically at the future and know, instinctively, that everything’s going to be alright.