I spent a couple of hours with friends this Saturday evening. It was nice. But for some strange reason, I felt disconnected. It felt as if I were watching ‘F.R.I.E.N.D.S’ dubbed in Swahili. It seemed familiar enough, but not the same anymore. Some portions of the evening seemed to be unhappening. As in happening in real-time, but to someone else.
Many moons ago, it was my birthday, and I had insisted that my friends write me a letter. I don’t know why I had insisted on a letter, but I had the feeling that all this would change. This circle would disperse. Like some molecule would split and the atoms would run helter-skelter.
I get that feeling now. But now, I know that this dispersion will be final. I don’t mean that in a tragic, foreboding way. Change, I have come to realize, is always good. It’s good because it is necessary. When you adapt to a necessity, you use reason, logic, and a part of your heart that insists that you get on with it. No matter how sharp the transformation, there is an inevitable settling down, and that is rational and soothing.
Since a couple of years, I have been pretty accurate about certain things. Usually, whenever I’ve got a feeling that time is running out, I’ve been in the shadows of big change – it happened in Bombay before my father’s sudden illness, before my birthday when I asked my friends to write me something, in Delhi before my departure to Bombay…and I get that feeling now. Although, I am much calmer this time round. I know that this is verily the last time I will meet the group this way. Something, some inner compass, has shifted for good. My sails are testing the winds in some other direction already.
In a matter of weeks, something will change. A link will be lost, there could be an addition, a dynamic will shift forever. But whilst earlier, I had tried to clutch at straws, this time I just let the wind blow over. Time’s not running out; it’s marching on at the pace it always has. Something ticking inside me just got accelerated. Now, it’s settling down. You live long enough and you know that more things change, the more they remain the same.
We all said our goodbyes and I waited to catch my bus to Vashi. An hour and a half of quiet journey into the night. As the bus crossed the big reservoir of liquid light under the Vashi bridge, I realized that I was going home, and home is so far away.