I do not have a Facebook account nor do I wish to have one. Why to let others know as to what I had for dinner last night and what are my plans for the day. There is nothing great to boast about these trifling details and I am not a celebrity craving for attention. I do not have a Twitter account either and do not wish to tweet my nose into others' affairs.
I am simply content with my small circle of friends wired through a humble e-mail account which I could create straight by my name nearly two decades ago. But alas! While those friends have moved on with the advancement of technology I am still stuck to the old-fashioned mode and an equally outdated concept of friendship.
My friends do not write to me as often. Most being colleagues from the foreign service are scattered all over the globe, many among whom I have not met or heard from in ages. But I used to cherish their letters — earlier delivered — though belatedly — through diplomatic bags and later through the instant e-mails. Occasionally, we would exchange telephone calls also on promotions and postings, anniversaries and other important social occasions. Those e-mails have stopped and telephone numbers keep on changing or simply remain obscurely buried in old diaries. But my e-mail ID has remained saddled safe in their e-directories.
These friends, having moved ahead in this cyber world, intermittently remind me of their exalted positions through their forward circular emails dropping at my door the pearls of wisdom gathered from the abyssal depths of the seven seas. I miss and cherish all those my affable friends. One among them is the childhood classmate Ravi Gupta from Kapurthala with whom my friendship clicked as we shared avid reading and acting interests.
A library which I found at his home and devoured in no time probably initiated me to early writing and getting associated with a leading publication house even while I was a collegiate in Delhi. Beginning from our mock sessions in acting at home, we graduated together from Ramleela to dramas and stage.
Having been along in the same class at school, we would still be enjoying our evenings together at home with extended sessions of walking the talks by setting on to see each other off to respective home, and then in the same stretch being walked back to one's own home in reciprocity. Sudhir Chaudhry from our lane in Kalkaji in Delhi was in the same grade at our local school.
Having moved to the same college we explored quite a few places in Delhi and other cities together and our routine strolls in the evening often culminated at golgappa-chat-papri carts. Deepak Kumar from his class, who had lost his mother early and thus missed the warmth of a family, would often join us for the evenings at home and his craze for movies made me a willing partner in pursuit of the celluloid dreams. I met Dinesh Sahai when I joined the ministry. This long-haired chocolaty had a spriteful nature and candid extroversion which endeared him to all.
We would have tea and lunch together and many an evening enjoy jaunts in the nearby Connaught Place and were known as an inseparable pair. When I got married and moved to Cairo, he also joined us there with his newlywed wife, Rachna and we all had a wonderful time as a family.
Ravi is an established writer-director in Mumbai. Sudhir as a senior bank manager is always on the move. Deepak is an advocate in Delhi High Court, and Dinesh has long been settled in the US. Pargat, another childhood friend from Kapurthala, surfaces occasionally like a ground hog from his hibernation in his Canadian sojourn, exchanges an odd email and then becomes incommunicado again.
I lament the loss of them all as they have since moved on in their lives and are perhaps remiss of the shared past. But I, as a maudlin me, sometimes nostalgic about those prized friends, found and endeared in the past but lost to the fiefdom of the future, write to them and follow up keenly with reminders and then feel happy to hear finally from some of my dear 'Forward Friends'.