Nostalgia and its assorted shades

Every third day, I wake up to a grey painted sky, trees bent by the force of the cold gusty wind and pitter patter of rain drops on the roof top. The monstrous wind that blows for quite some time, when finally subsides, leaves behind an unearthly calm.

The calm however, opens up the gates to those memories which are otherwise safely locked in the nook of my mind. Sitting in the old canopy swing in the balcony, warmed by my mom’s shawl, I gaze out at nothing in particular. My thoughts begin to wander.

I speculate over the infinite number of times I have heard people say/ read in books about this one particular idea: Don’t hold on to your past. The idea of only living in the present baffles me. Perhaps there are people who actually let go of their past and are better off.

But ask me and I’ll tell you how difficult it is to NOT let go of the past.

Giving up, I let my mind shuffle through the gazillion memories until it stops, at Nostalgia.

It happened to be one of my best friend’s birthday. She is far away in Delhi; happy but nevertheless, far. While she turned a year older, I probably travelled two years back in time. Even though I had tried my best to pull a few strings and make her happy, I wasn’t content. I kept thinking of the good times we had had, and tried to fit them all into a day, in an order that would make up for a perfect birthday. Simply put, I missed her.

I arbitrarily think of the rainy school days back in Dehradun. How both of us would put on our rain coats and get on her Activa. She deliberately rode over the huge puddles of water, giggling as the water sprayed over us. Braving the rain, we would head to sip and munch something hot somewhere, anywhere.

Rewind four years. It was raining on my last day in boarding school. How we had all stepped out in our uniforms, dripping wet and laughing. For once, rules and punishments were put to respite; the exam next day, forgotten. Everyone was everybody’s friend, as we pushed aside the grief of parting for that little while.

I despondently realize how I am unsure of the whereabouts of the same people that I had once shed tears for.

However when I think of them, I like to remember them from that rainy day: careless, happy and as friends.

Fast forward. I suddenly recall the one time that I did not grumble about the Bombay rain. In the second week of college when we barely knew anyone, a large group of us had walked our way to Marine drive. Sharing umbrellas and discovering tit bits about each other, we saw the waves summersault in the sea and the rain drops create infinite ripples. From where I was standing, Bombay looked beautiful. It was probably the first time that I felt like the city had accepted me; or rather I had accepted it.

My phone vibrates and I time travel back to my canopy swing. It’s a text from my best friend that reads, “Thanks for the cake, Sari”.

I smile.

I cannot conquer time and sometimes, not even the distance. But perhaps, what I can do is make the wonderful bits of my past, a part of my present. In that way I would never have to let it go. May be ,this is what the thinkers mean after all.

Sarita Santoshi