If we were having coffee, you will find me looking happy, eager to share the joys of last couple of weeks. It all began six months ago when a dear friend from high school days texted to inform that she and her family were planning a holiday in San Francisco and would spend time with us. Happiness quotient number one!
A few weeks back, another friend from the same era of high school texted to check what we were up to during the spring break as she wished to swing by with her middle schoolers. Happiness quotient number two.
And finally another high school friend texted to check if we were available since she was using the spring break to look at California colleges for her son. Happiness quotient number three. One traveled 8000 plus miles and others about 3000 and the meets were much looked forward to until they happened and were over in fraction of moments. Or so they seemed. One of them had taught us a song when we were in grade 5 and we remembered the same twenty five plus years on now and could still sing and giggle over it. We talked about our introduction to Mills & Boon and similar novels and laughed as well as shuddered on recollection of the nonsense we could read. We spoke about bike rides to school and back and how one of us always walked her bike at intersections until she was told she could ride it too. Lovely girls that I grew up with in a small town of India, now accomplished women with beautiful families, all settled in different parts of the globe planning holidays in a way that involved meeting a friend and her family living in California. Simply to catch up.
I find that those born in 1960s/70s are more comfortable with facebook rather than instagram or twitter and are able to stay connected with general happenings in each other’s lives. Whatsapp messaging groups have hugely caught on and now I find that I mute my phone before going to bed as friends and family in both Australia and Asia become active at the time with jokes, events and news flying across the globe. I often get more news from them when I wake up rather than the Walls Street Journal that is yet to be picked up from the driveway. One morning last week I woke with innumerable messages, topping them was one from my brother-in -law in Kolkata saying he was fine. I smiled and said to the husband, well am glad he is fine until I read the other messages from friends who wished to know that he was well which got my antenna alert and I realized that a bridge that was under construction had fallen, killing many and injuring lot more in the city he lives in.
Texting is more prevalent than talking and I realize those who wish to stay connected manage to do so despite their busy schedules. I love that my nephews share jokes and what they are up to, including pictures of their newly acquired cooking skills on the family whatsapp group. Though I admit that the new abbreviated text language is slowly, surely, painfully killing my understanding. Despite some of my friends living in Australia, Singapore and India, the huge distance or time difference is hardly a deterrent to our virtual conversations that are not bound by any time or place.
The world is changing, shrinking, coming closer, looking farther as well as further, with distances becoming quite irrelevant. Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal had an article about the world’s longest flights and the new records as of last month with the immense dip in fuel prices. Emirates now flies non stop from Auckland, New Zealand to Dubai for 17 plus hours beating the record of Quantas’s Dallas-Sydney route of 16 hours plus. I find it quite intriguing as I realize the sheer size of the United States when I think that the flying time between Singapore and Mumbai is the same as between the East coast and the West coast!
It is 7:26 pm on my computer and I see that my whatsapp is full of messages from the buddies waking up or going to work in countries where the sun has risen and they think of sharing something with their friend across the world where the sun is setting….