Four years ago, around thirty ladies found their way back to school. I was one of those ladies, and this is our story. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
A few days before we met, we were added to a Whatsapp group by a few schoolmates who had got back in touch and decided to reach out to as many of us as they could. It had been twenty-five years since we passed out of school and life took us on different paths to pursue careers, start business ventures or become educators.
Some of us still stayed in touch in small groups over the years. Others had drifted away. By this time some of us had even forgotten how the others looked. And even if we remembered, it was the face of a fifteen year old, not a forty-something that we were about to meet!
The group brought along with it a wave of memories, what one couldn’t remember the other did and slowly we wove the tapestry of our childhood together. It was wonderful to be back in touch even if just electronically.
It was around this time that I had to travel to Mumbai and a plan was hatched for all of us to meet up on April 14th at the school entrance. Since it was a public holiday and no kids would be around we felt we would be let in to relive our childhood.
As I mentioned, some of us continued to stay in touch in smaller groups, some of us had drifted apart. But that day, we all came together as one.
By some miracle of nature some of us had not changed one bit since school days (much to the envy of others!). Some looked the same, some talked the same, yet others had the same giggle and laugh from all those years ago.
The one thing that makes childhood friendships special is that it is forged during a time of innocence, a time when our minds are pure and without malice. There is no hidden agenda or plot behind a gesture of friendship. It is exactly what it is – two or more children who love to hang out.
When such a friendship transitioned into adulthood, it comes with the comfort and ease of years of familiarity, spending many years in school together that solidifies the bond for life, and the result is a non-judgemental fun-loving group of friends in the midst of whom you can just about say anything without a second thought.
That’s what we have become in the last four years. Schoolmates who did not recall each other or did not spend quite so much time with each other during school days have now become thick as thieves. We meet up whenever we can and enjoy quality time together. We share and show off without hesitation.
We have accomplished cooks, professional bakers, elegant dancers, soul-lifting singers, writers, tech experts, jills of all trades who have solutions for any problem anyone brings up. Some of us have been through hell and back, and still manage to keep our spirits up and spread joy and cheer to everyone around us.
We cry, laugh, rejoice and contemplate in equal measure. We diffuse each others’ difficult phases of life with a well-placed joke that immediately lightens one’s heart.
We are literally all over the world. In our own way, across all those miles that separate us, we become a great source of support, love and encouragement.
It’s been an amazing blessing to cross the twenty-five years that separated us and just pick things up from where we left off.
More than ever, with all of us in varied versions of a lock down, this unassuming Whatsapp group has become a support group for all of us. From easy recipes, to sharing regional information, to DIY face mask instructions, to sharing our fears and concerns, to simply being there for each other – we’re here for each other in every way possible.
In a time when a hug can be lethal, this virtual group hug feels very real indeed. Here’s to friendships that stand the test of time and distance!