When I was younger, my parents, my sister and I, we lived in a little township, in a less popular Indian state. This township was 60 kilometres away from the nearest city on one side, and walking distance to the sea on the other side. It was like a world in itself. The people who lived there were the ones who worked in the company that founded this tiny world; the employees and their families. This meant that everybody knew everybody else. All us kids would go to the one school in our township. All our fathers went to the same place to work every morning. Most of our mothers were friends and acquaintances, entrepreneurs and their patrons, members of the same club.
I spent a good amount of my childhood living and learning in the township. I have some of my fondest memories of that place, those simpler times.
One of the things I miss the most from that era was the camaraderie and the friendship. I was very young then so a lot of my friendships didn’t last but my parents are still friends with a lot of them. Most have moved to different parts of the world but that old friendship remains.
It’s this friendship, the bonding that my parents had with their friends there, that I crave now. They would visit each others’ homes on an almost daily basis. They hardly ever scheduled these meets. Friends were like family, always invited, always real, no pretense, no filtered conversations. We seldom ate out because we were often eating at somebody’s house or they at ours. And when we did go out, we were usually more than just the four of us. All festivals were celebrated together, with everyone. There was no yours and mine.
I long for a life like that, to live as part of a community so connected. City friendships, I’ve come to learn, are different. Everybody is constantly on the move, everyone’s busy, this is the world of multitasking and FOMO.
Comparing the past and present is like comparing cats and dogs though- both utterly different from each other. We didn’t have the internet back then to take over our lives, no smartphones to keep us company. Despite this understanding, what remains in me is the nostalgia and the hope that one day I’ll find my way into honest, deep friendships, the kind that reminds me of the days of old.