Friday, June 22, 2007

'Allo, Are You There?

In the pre-Internet days I didn’t think twice whether I would actually keep in touch with certain people. [In the case of my Class 2 crush, Thomas Hulings, who made solemn promises to meet me “one day.” Do you see me holding my breath?] I did my best to keep in touch and if it worked out, it was great. If it didn’t, it didn't. But now, like it or not, you’re all of a sudden confronted with people from your past thanks to the web. For the most part, it’s fun to see how people have grown and changed. Sometimes there are a few who serve as ugly reminders of the person you used to be (terribly naïve) and you wonder, “Could I possibly connect with this person beyond catching up with our lives?” But good or bad, it’s always a surprise.
And so once again, I was gobsmacked with some bizarre moments that say how incredibly small the world can be. I reconnected with at least 4 people from my wasteland of youth.
First, S got in touch with me over IM. She was visiting DC and would I be around? We were in that Group of Eight or the cheesy “Glo Friends,” as we liked to call ourselves, and outside the group dynamic, we bonded over some of our greatest fears and heartaches. Now, I was going to see her in her latest avatar — working on a brand new degree and a brand new marriage. How long has it been? More than 5 years.
Then, I needed to ask a random favor so I got in touch with A. He used to live in my colony in Delhi and studied in the same section as me for about 2 years. We would wait for the school bus and strategize over the latest debate topic. Now, A is still debating in his law offices and a doting dad. How long has it been? Around 14 years or so.
And then Orkut connected me with A who asked not only if I lived in a certain colony, but also if I stood in that Mother Dairy line! As it turns out, when my family first moved to Delhi from Cal in circa 1989, we were living in a temporary housing colony before moving to our home. And yes, there was a Mother Dairy where I would often go to fetch milk. Standing in line and keeping me company was A, who also went to school with me, but was in a different section. Now, A lives near DC and is thinking of doing research on the social implications of networking websites (kidding)! How long has it been? More than 15 years at least.
Finally, on a whim I decided to join a friend for dinner the other day. From there, I tagged along for a drink. S introduced me to her friend visiting from out of town. I stared and asked him if he ever lived in Ironside Road? He did. It was surreal – R was in the same colony in Calcutta in the 3 years I lived there. He hadn’t changed much and good grief! even remembered my nickname. My friends and I, who were then aged 10-12, practically looked up to him (he was soo tall, right), and now here he was, digesting the fact that I was over 30 and chatting with me in a pub in DC. And how long has it been? Close to 20 years. Geez, we’re almost fossils.


Unknown said...

Couldn't agree more. Although I am yet to meet anyone who is six degrees of Orkut separation away from me.

Mallika said...

tell me about it... facebook is introducing me to all sorts of weird and wonderful people from the past!!

Mosilager said...

I haven't yet met any non-relations on orkut from childhood... either those people are not on the internet or they are trying very hard not to find me.