I just read a nostalgic post by Mira Sethi, a Pakistani actress/writer, and I found myself envying people who have stayed in one place all their lives. There are perks of staying in different places, of course. Adaptability is one of them, tolerance is another. But there is something really special about belonging to one place. On the other hand, nomads like me become used to ‘letting go’, something that is dreaded by human nature. Atleast I have always dreaded it. I remember shedding tears for the very first friends that I had made, and this scene got repeated after 3.5 years, and this continued. I remember shedding tears for the ‘friends forever’ that I made in hostel, and it’s not just nostalgia, it’s a pang. I am an introvert, but I have grown up to appreciate the diversity in people, and the moment I fall in love with them is the moment when I am compelled by circumstances to let go. I hate it. I like changes, as long as the people in front of me do not change. I did not need friends in life, I was content to be a loner. But God has often taken decisions for me when I have failed to do so. If God had left it upon me to really befriend people, I probably would not have gone far. I am thankful to everyone who chose to stay with me, and I am thankful to God for creating circumstances that made me adapt to them (let us give some credit to ourselves too :P).
Nomads also have stories, but we have never really seen a town transform into a city, and definitely never seen the beginning and the end. There has always been the beginning ‘or’ the end. I retrieve my stories from faint memories, fainter faces, and priceless feelings. One of my dear friends pointed out that I had an incredible memory. I don’t know whether I should be happy or sad about it. Nostalgia may be romantic, but for me, it is infused with goodbyes, restrained smiles, and never-again people. It’s a little painful to not be able to share certain memories. Nostalgia for me symbolises my own lament on being born in this new-age world, where everything is over in one-flash. Was that the reason ‘photographic’ became associated with ‘memory’? I have started to pity people who do not remember the last whatsapp conversation they had with me, because I realise that they talk about the same things when I talk to them on the phone. I don’t know if they are beginning to forget me. I don’t want to resent my memory, but I hate this new-age communication, which is anything but communication.
I know people who say that they are old-fashioned, but never find the time to send or reply to even mails, let alone letters. Well, e-mail is pretty old-fashioned now. Who has the time or the vulnerability to write long mails? In this day and age, even handwritten diaries are not safe anymore. I have always liked holding the pen my own way. What is so special about typing? The font will be the same for every software. But a handwriting is unique, even if it is illegible. Most people use the pen only to sign cheques and divorce papers, perhaps. Even research suggests that writing with pen on paper channels creativity, but we trust the machines more.
People crib and whine about having less time to read, write, reply to messages etc. I am busy too. But I am here. This is my La La land. Everyone has a La La land, and everyone needs one as well. I don’t know why we have started to place so much importance on the wrong things. Money is important, of course. But money cannot buy a lot of things. A LOT. A new-entrant in my family has completely taken me by surprise, not because he is a rebel or has some unconventional ideas, but because he is a traditionalist. I know familiarity breeds contempt, but I have only grown to admire him (touchwood). Maybe, the new-age is symbolising old traditions. There will come a point when we’ll be starved of multiple sources of attention, frivolous and superficial relations and wasteful one-flash expenditures. We’ll revert back to these traditionalists, who are new modernists, if I may say so.