When I was a kid, I once spotted a doll in a stationery shop. I felt like she is smiling at me with her blue eyes. Her sassy yellow dress fluttered in the wind. I immediately coveted her. I tricked my young aunt to go into the shop in pretext of getting some knick knacks. Once I entered the shop I asked the shopkeeper for the doll, which he readily gave me. I wouldn’t let go of that doll. I clinged to it like my life depended on it. My aunt scolded, persuaded and begged me to leave the shop. I didn’t budge. She somehow managed to drag me out of the shop, but I sat on the footpath, crying. Luckily, my mother came along, looking for us. She was aghast seeing me and my aunt sitting on the footpath – I was wailing and my aunt was almost in tears.
End of the day, my mother got me that doll. The doll costed 200 rupees, while my mom’s monthly salary was mere 800 rupees. That doll became my best friend. I admired her style and elegance. Even though I grew out of her my heart ached a little when my tomboy little sister dismembered my doll over the years. It was 25 years back. But I still cherish my doll.
My daughter is almost one half year old now. She has a truckload of toys. However, she doesn’t seem to get attached to any toy in particular. She flutters from one toy to the other in a matter of minutes. I had pictured her toddling away in a cute summer dress, dragging her Hobbes. But, with a wide range of toys to choose from, it seems unlikely that she is going remember any of them after a few years. It’s sad that she may not cherish her toys as I do.
Is it even possible to cherish anything in this era of disposables?
I kept wondering. With the influx of cheap, china-made consumables, we keep drifting from one thing to the other. There is not enough time to get attached to anything, let alone cherish something. We have become a generation of fickle women and men. It’s not completely our fault though. In a world that changes so fast, pledging allegiance to something is arduous. Does it mean that we have lost the capability to cherish anything at all? My recent experience taught me otherwise.
I recently launched my debut English fiction Novella Magic Square. The initial response to the book wasn’t as big as I hoped. So I decided to send a personal message to all my Facebook friends. I didn’t want to spam them, so I opened the FB messenger and started sending the messages one by one. It was quite unsettling to see that I had no contact with majority of my friends even though I knew most of them personally. I had no clue what was going on in their lives. They were like these archives that we create. We make archives with great prudence thinking that we might need them in future. But as it happens, we never open them again.
As I opened each chat box, one or the other memory overwhelmed me. It was like extracting my archived friends. I thought about the place where we met, the experiences we shared. Some of them were not very close to me but I did have one or the other memory about them. I had small but warm chats with so many of my friends, it felt so good.
Then it hit me. Maybe, our generation is incapable of cherishing things. But we need to cherish relationships and experiences. I realized that I had grown apart from many of my friends, not because of lack time or distance, just because I got distracted with the background noise in my life. I missed out on cherishing so many memories because I was busy clicking photos at that time. We want to shelve things- be it friends or memories. We think we can reach out and grab them any time we want. But the truth is, we never does. We are so eager to add friends on Facebook, but do we ever take time to actually talk to them?
As I completed sending messages to 80 percent of my friends, I had already rebuilt a lot of broken links. So, I have taken up this resolution for the new year. I would ping at least two of my friends in Facebook or Whatsapp every day. Even if it is just a hello. I know it is going to make a lot of difference in my life. I have also decided to make the most of my experiences as and when they happen. I wouldn’t be bothered about getting a snapshot, because the best photos are taken in heart. If I do these two things, I know I would have a lot to cherish at the end of 2019. I would cherish relationships and experiences.
You can get my new book Magic Square from Amazon: Magic Square