Going down the memory lane can be good and bad at the same time. I will tell you how. It is not every day that you are reminded of your life half a decade ago.
Every night I try and reserve some space for “ME” after everybody in the house is asleep. I read, write, call my friends or family in India or just sit and aimlessly surf channels on the TV. It would be called unwinding except that, on one particular night it wasn’t. On an impulse, I picked up the phone and called an ex-colleague and a close friend. Came to know there might be a chance of meeting him and his lovely family in a couple of months.
We chatted away about our kids and routines and so on. Funny how conversations always steer in the direction of kids and “their” routine once you have them!
Anyways, the real trouble started after I hung up the phone. Sleep evaded me most of the night and memories of my life in Mumbai came flooding in. The move to a new city after getting married, bus rides to Juhu Beach, hunt for a job, roadside dinners and a terrible throat infection every two months. The thoughts came coming in and I couldn’t stop them.
I can honestly say the fun began once I started working. The humid weather and the killer commute. I used to make a wild dash for a seat in a running local train, my god how did I ever do it, I whisper to myself. It was a hard life, I feel relaxed now.
But it was also a life of freedom, a step towards a career and definitely a life I had more control over. Control, I smiled at the thought. When we are younger things seem to be so much more in control. You feel you can achieve, change, delete whatever you want to in your small little world. I was defiant too and rather enjoyed being like that.
As the mind went back farther, the heart felt heavier. I began to miss the very things which I once sought to escape. But the strange thing was I couldn’t pinpoint the exact loss I was brooding over. Was I missing my home? Was I sad for the abrupt end to a budding career and the financial freedom that came with it? Or was I unhappy about the fact that those carefree days were a thing of the past?
In that half asleep-half dreamy state, I searched for answers. Didn’t find any.
Surprisingly, the next day I woke up with a clear head. It was the sadness that came with passing a certain age and the realization that one can never take a step back in time. What my conscious mind had struggled to find out, the unconscious mind had devised on its own. The feeling is also not a rare phenomenon, I had concluded, everybody has it sometime or the other (see a doctor if you have it too often, you could be depressed!).
And when the morning ruckus started with the kids screaming for attention, there was no doubt in my mind that to gain something you surely have to give up something. Do I regret where I am and what I do today? No. Do I need to have the same things today to be happy? Not at all, but what I do have is the right to reminisce once in a while without being apologetic.