Saturday, September 3, 2011

Keeping in touch

People yearn. Yes, they yearn to stay connected. This comes up very so often in the parting meetings, right after the final exams, at various stages in life. These mile-stones use their conventional power to push people in different directions. Friends scatter after that slingshot. Few of us realize that, that shared circle will be eluding us for the rest of our lives. Some do, in a momentary flash, realize with the last Pani-Puri we have in school uniform and shed tears. But everybody consoles him/her that this thing called Modern Technology couldn't come at a better time. It will, they are assured, help us to be together. The sense of which doesn't dawn on anyone there. If there is an Eagle looking at us from the far off, in space and time, which could span in its vision, centuries of observation, it would have dismissed this meeting of friends to be too common place. That why these people are shedding tears as if they haven't evolved, it knoweth not.

With or without technology we will never be in touch as fervently as we promised. There are many reasons to fall out. But no animosity or ill will. It is mostly because we are out of touch with that distant self of ours. The affections and affectations associated with the uncivilized times hang heavily on us due to the new found maturity, beyond every ford that we cross. Be it school to college, college to graduate and post graduate studies. We meet occasionally when people who have gone out of the city turn up for some vacation. Till our hormones take over, these meetings witness only failed attempts to rekindle the lost camaraderie. We do some roll-call of sorts, about who is doing what and crack a few old jokes. It is a tad sad picture. Something like last supper every time. A boring monotone. But we don't stay there longer than required. Biology comes to our rescue. Hormones take over.

The burgeoning testosterone is the best thing to happen to man since the original sin. It gives rise to so much kitsch. The way we prune ourselves for approval like the tailor birds. Nothing is out of the ordinary. The styles of dressing are flowing in and out. Parents are pestered to shed money on torn clothes. There are shirts on shirts. Bikes with bull horns. A few years more and cars flash by. Their alarms conveying a psychopathic desperation in the parking lots. Yes, one needs a good parking lot. It is all part of growing up.

In this fluid state of our being, school reunions happen. This time more frequently than before. We are all prepared for these meetings now. There is no roll-call. Everybody is out with their talent. And the iron is really hot. Like in a cross-connected call, conversations happen simultaneously. It seems like mental wrestling. Only few of us resign into a corner after deciding that the material present is too good for us and we don't stand a chance. Poets are the worst here. They reach out to their poems like a blind man reaches out to his cane. Impressing a girl in a group with an impromptu poem is the worst move ever conceived in fact. But of course, its bad effect can be annulled by following up with cleverly thought out lines of poetry sent to her in private.

These round-table meetings happen for sometime. The girls who are regulars either saturate their crush-feelings towards their old loves or they have boy friends from a different pack of wolves. Things are terrible now and red signs everywhere. Of course for a Hyderabadi these matter very little in terms of the road traffic. But now this is a matter of life and death. Love or no love. The regulars have taken their pick and there are still many of us left without consorts. That is when the emptiness glares at us in all glory.

One questions in a rhetoric tone where all the girls who are absent from these meetings were. Those stubborn beings, even in these moments of crisis. Thoughts precipitate into actions very quickly. Here again, the poet is at a disadvantage. He has an approachability problem. And clearly and definitively is incapable of fighting any encroachment with better gadgetry or biking performance. People are drawing up lists where as the poet is caught in a vortex of enormity of it all and trying in vain to make sense. His vanity has no bounds. The lists are drawn to perfection and zeroing-in happens. There is nothing one can do but sit up all night calling them or sending SMS. Finally there are a few lucky ones whose calling gets through. They are the victors for now and dispense relationship advice as and when necessary. The others are floating around in their bikes and explore everything of the words possibility, opportunity and other positive things. These lost souls can be found abundantly in the IMS, TIME coaching centers to go to the US or accumulate a fat loan to equal the fat salary after IIMs. They also often wander into Self-help sections in the book stores and mostly subscribe to the Chicken Soup school of thought.

As usual life beats the hell out of everyone. The regulars have no enthu left for the reunions to continue and everything falls out of touch. Recently, I mean not so recently, I met a friend in Mumbai and in a rare fit of endearment and nostalgia we agreed that it is difficult to stay connected. And also made fun and downgraded anyone from that circle who tries to call and tries to be cool unlike us. Keep in touch, people.