This weekend turned out to be a milestone. About 30 of us from the class of 1989 at the Choithram School in Indore met for our 25th year reunion at Punjapani near Indore. Many of us had traveled from far and wide to attend this magical weekend and relive a shared past.
The venue was unique, literally in the middle of no-where. The phone signals mercifully did not work, there were no TV sets and the world seemed to be all at peace.
Meeting friends whom all of us had known even longer than our respective spouses was an incredible experience. Much to my amazement, we bonded with each other so much better. We now had the maturity, which comes from age and the shared values imbibed in our childhood seems to have largely stood the test of time.
Here are a few things that I learned from this extra-ordinary meeting.
1. It is important that we spend more time in the company of old friends. It is a great stress-buster and also allows one to see things in the right perspective. In the day to day rush of life, one often forgets that the real rewards are not in chasing big dreams but in enjoying every-day.
2. Good company and shared laughs are important. We need people with whom we can laugh at ourselves. I discovered this to be therapeutic. The reunion transported me back 25 years and I relived the things I did as a gawky somewhat awkward teenager!!!
3. It is never too late to say things that we never said and had regretted ever since. Appreciation for some past kindnesses, questions that have remained unanswered, doubts that were never clarified and issues that need to be finally aired and hopefully buried for good. A reunion is almost perfect for such discussions. It makes one feel lighter, a kind of rejuvenation of the soul.
4. A reunion is also a perfect place to renew old and lost associations. The passage of time often dims the lights and makes strangers out of friends. I must confess that leading up to this meeting, I was a bit ambivalent about the purpose of the whole exercise. Song and dance and a big booze party is not really my scene and this reunion threatened to become one, as the more boisterous amongst us planned the event. It seemed I was clearly in the minority. However, while we did manage to have a big blast, the shared past and the ubiquitous connect that all of us experienced was truly a much more uplifting experience. (The booze and the song and the dance not-withstanding)
5. Finally, I must say this. This reunion was in many ways a humbling experience. It was great to know that in these intervening years, life has by and large treated us very kindly. Many of us had college going children, thriving businesses, loving spouses and marriages that have mostly worked, successful careers and above all good health. A reunion allows one to step back and count ones blessings. We know that in-spite of the balding pates and the bulging paunches, we really have much to be grateful about.
Here is to the next 25 years!!!