Lay this unto your breast: Old friends, like old swords, still are trusted best. – John Webster
Reunions are amazing and ours was too. This September 2016, we (a group of college and hostel mates) met in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and took a 3 day trip to Krabi, Thailand. With all pre-planned good intentions, we did a lot of everything and this time there was no guilt attached to indulging in excessiveness. We ate, drank, walked, shopped, danced to 70’s music and most of all we laughed a lot for no apparent reason, except to celebrate our togetherness after eons.
The sun rose when we opened our eyes and set when we finished our bottle of red wine. We had sessions of ‘True Confessions’ and phases of ‘Unexpected Reminiscences’. We took long walks on the beach, had leisurely meals, discovered new cocktail blends and clicked endless pictures. The shifting sands, the sudden rain-showers, the pink sunrises and orange sunsets all blended together seamlessly to make this a perfect reunion.
Amidst the elation, there was also shock and acute sadness at the realization that some of us had tragically lost their loved ones. But there was also joy and pride that they had survived their ordeals and come out stronger.
I also made another not so surprising discovery. Somewhere down the road from youth to adulthood, we had all discarded that closet agnosticism that we had rashly adhered to as youngsters. God was not a vague idea in the sky anymore. In the process of reaching out to him in our trials, we had somehow connected more surely with our spiritual selves and we were better off for it.
As we talked and laughed and shared anecdotes about our lives, we felt extremely grateful to our families for urging us to make this trip and while we all missed them, at that moment in time, we were just so grateful for the chance to be together.
I guess most college reunions are made of stuff like this. Thanks to social media, old classmates, batch mates and hostel mates have all reconnected and managed to stay in touch. When the going gets tough, there is an instinctive reaching out and meets happen in a mutually designated time and place. It’s a much needed practice and in this day and age, who does not want a rejuvenation of the tired body, the high-strung mind and the dissipated soul?
As many of us may have experienced, the first of the reunions is usually an eye-opener. The colossal mystery that is LIFE happens to all of us and at a much faster pace than anticipated. When we leave college, we visibly let go of the ties that bind us to our friends. Jobs, responsibilities, marriage, children, finances, travel – everything takes us away to a different world, a world that is profuse with restraints. Sometimes we are lucky if we happen to settle in nearby places, but mostly we find ourselves drifting apart not just physically but also emotionally. Yet, the memories are always there in the background waiting to resurface, and when we finally meet after a long time, it’s like we have never been away from each other.
When I got back from my reunion this time, I was flooded with questions from family and friends. What did I do? Where did I go? Was it fun? Will I go again? Yes people, I did a lot. In Krabi and in KL, I retraced all that faded graffiti in glowing neon. Yes, it was loads of fun and yes, I will most definitely go again.
For every time we meet, I know I’ll find myself transported back to a time when my life revolved around parents, teachers, lectures, hostel wardens, books, exams, and most of all the wonderful friends of my youth; and every single time we meet, I know I will make the same discovery – that time and space CAN stand still if I really want it to.
So here’s to my friends who made it this time (you know who you are) and here’s to all our future reunions.
More power to us ‘girls’.:)
(For the past few months, I’ve noticed my husband checking out his college mates whatsapp group and smiling to himself at the constant messages that beep in. All the signs indicate he’s going on a trip soon:)