A self-certified social recluse, I have never been an ardent fan of virtual or, for that matter, real-world socialising platforms. Please don’t correlate this confession with my professional declaration in the end credits (PR consultant).
After all, life is about striking the right balance between who you are and what you are. So, recently when a school reunion invite came through, the excitement of meeting long-lost buddies challenged the hermit in me resolutely. After a conflict of interest between heart and habit; and, of course, mild persuasion bordering on threat by some dear friends (I am indebted to them for the same), the decision was made.
Having committed once, there was no looking back now. I could feel the exhilaration of reliving sweet memories of school days and the anticipation of rediscovering the yesteryear’s naive me through friends’ reminiscences. As, only school friends can help you meet the genuine, unadulterated you, sans any pretence of feigned maturity. Enough of philosophy, it was time to confront the million-dollar question, how to put the best foot or rather face forward?
Life after four decades is not maintenance-free exactly. Barring the ones who are blessed genetically or have some magic potion, the rest of us mortals need to combat the multipronged assault of the nemesis called age. Receding hairline and expanding waistline, a lot goes in managing the hues of grey and the blues of age. But not to be disheartened, my generation believes fervently (in words and in deeds) that ‘forty is the new thirty’. Abiding by this mantra, I was all geared up for the upcoming social adventure.
On the D or ‘Re’ Day, I was still sceptical about being able to break the ice and overcome the awkwardness of meeting friendly strangers. But the moment I was amidst them, all my doubts were dispelled by déjà vu. It was as if I had walked straight into my classroom, albeit with a challenge to put faces to the names being introduced. The memories came flooding but it still was akin to solving a jigsaw puzzle. As the austere, unadorned juvenile faces peeping through the weathered school photograph were in stark contrast to the suave and sophisticated gathering right in front of me. In no time, prudent adults transmuted into noisy, chirpy teenagers having fun in an unmonitored class. With silent spectator, mischievous maverick, witty wiser and giggle gang in attendance, the roll call was almost complete.
We were back in school, only this time there were no grades to discriminate teacher’s favourite brainy broods from the blasé back benchers. Well, the quintessential report card/annual appraisals hardly have any bearing on being successful in life, economically or socially (I hope my son doesn’t get wrong ideas by this). It was good to see friends having found their calling and their soul mates, too. Each had his or her own saga of struggle and sanguinity. However, there was no role playing, no diplomatic talk. My hesitation had long given way to unbridled laughter and I simply rejoiced in this rendezvous with friends. It has been rightly said: “Every parting gives a foretaste of death, every reunion a hint of the resurrection.”