A few days ago, I was talking with one of my childhood friends over the telephone. We had spent our childhood together in one of the largest tea estates in eastern Assam. While me and my family do not stay there any more, he is now an employee of that tea estate. While I was talking with him, he shared with me the present whereabouts of some of the boys I grew up playing cricket with. I also asked him about a few other persons, who were once our neighbours. At that moment, I realized how relationships change with time. There was a time when our lives revolved around these people and now I do not even know where and how these people are.
After finishing the call, I started thinking about all the people that have been a part of the journey of my life. I recalled the moments spent with people in various walks of life. And, although I still have regular contact with many of my friends, cousins, old neighbours, extended family members, I realized that there are many persons with whom I have totally lost contact.
I then remembered another incident. A few years back, while attending the marriage of my aforementioned friend, a boy came up to me and asked whether I recognized him or not. I looked at him but couldn’t recognize him. Only when he told his name, I remembered that we used to play cricket together. I also remembered that his brother too used to play with us and asked him about his whereabouts. He said that he died of an illness a few years ago. I was shocked to hear that. That ever-smiling boy, who used to hit the stumps with his accurate throws, was dead! I had felt quite sad at that news.
In today’s frantic pace of life, we are slowly drifting away from the people who were once the very fulcrum of our lives. Our worlds are shrinking and getting limited to our parents, spouses, children and a few other select persons. The relationships are slowly turning fragile.