Tapestry

indigo-6Life. Joyous. Painful. Hurting. Hopeful. Changing. Tenacious. As we move on with it and grow, it is tough to describe us and our lives in one word. Only word that come to me is continuous Or changing. The march goes on and we grow. As it changes we get defined. We change. Sometimes the changes are slow and smooth ,  other times stark and sudden. We change with the events and by the people we live with, work and learn with. Fight with. Love and hate. We change with events. The influence of the people and events too, is slow or sudden. Few events are common experiences. Birth. Puberty. Graduation. Job. Marriage/commitment. Kids. Heartache of betrayal. Pride of achievement due to one own self or from dear ones. Few events are unique to each. Winning a lottery, early loss, finding the calling in life.
Each event has big or small impact on us and our life. Few of them will change us, teach us. Others will form a fine print and become background. Few people will change our outlook, shape our characters. Others will add colour to the tapestry of our life. Each scene specific to the person’s life. Myriad, multi-hued, rich. The main events and influencing persons will form the focus grabbers on the tapestry. They define the look and aesthetics of the person. We perceive this as their nature and character.
As we lead our lives the daily grid creates a fine dust and thin mist that clouds the view. In the rear view we can still make out the big events and people but the details, the richness and the multi colours get hazy. We look back and remember fragment and generalise. This changes when we pause and reflect deeply or by chance come across an object, an event , a Déjà vu or a person. Any one of these then blows a cold, clean mountain air on that piece of time and the events along with the people there in. Then we see that part of the picture vividly. This could an odd photo taken in an emotional moment that was dear and forgotten. It could be a related scene replayed by others. A whiff of forgotten perfume, a very small shoe or a long lost friend. Any of this can take us back to that time and place, make us younger and relive the times.
My business travel is on the side of excess these days. Large companies sometimes do that to their folks. Someone seven seas apart thinks some meeting to be important and would like a senior expert ( read, old with grey hair around temples) present for it. Few weeks back I had to go to Pune for one such 0.5 hour meeting. This meeting had a very pleasing side effect. It thrust people from various periods of my life in my path. It was cleaning of the tapestry by a resolute mountain breeze, in waves.
On the said day, a Wednesday, I completed check-in , settled down near gate 19 for Indigo 6E541 flight and I met an old colleague. We had spent a couple of years fighting in trenches a decade and a half back. It was time of learning web and 65 hour release marathons. Heated tempers, shared misery, final relief and pride of production success. It was nice catching up with him and talking about old times, new times, changes all around, and bosses, friends. Those days we seemed to have an answer to every ill malady and had we been provided with time and resources the world would have been a happy trouble free place. You think of past in simple clean way, you think then the people were better, bigger, stronger. And you think you had the answers. The sweet flow of conversation tints your vision makes you an optimist.
For me it brought back the optimism of a new hire and dawn of a new technology. Promises from the web and excess of the startups. It showed the power of code and fallacy of technocratic rule. That period shaped the architect and the agilest in me. It was working with the startup with Java 0.9 specs and reading extreme programming. That time we felt with enough code we can change the world. And while that bubble burst and a new one is building up again I still think agile and good code can make this world a better place.
With improving mood I got into the queue for boarding and then the blue bus that would take us to the plane. As the doors of the bus closed I got a call from my classmate. He asked me where I was. I said on a bus to board the plane to Pune. I could hear the announcements in the bus twice. Into my right ear from air and into the left with a bit of lag from phone. He was on the same bus and he too was travelling to Pune. We caught up for a brief time on the tarmacindigo-nagpur-chennai-532x400 and were on whatsapp till the takeoff inside the plane. I miss those days when one could just request the air hostess for a seat swap and we could get it. These days of full flights and aisle and window seats sold on premium it is tough luck. Add to it the fact that both of us had middle seats meant we were separated by some ten rows. So shouting and yelling was not feasible. Hence chat on mobile. Now I am not sure why we seldom chat on other days. For whats app, 10 meters , 10 km or 1000 does not matter. Yet it was in that confined space with constrained time we were chatting like school girls. We included our Pune class mate into the conversation. It was sooo fun.
After the meet with work mate and chatting with this classmate lifted the mood more. So many memories of struggles , giggles, hopes and dreams came clashing. It was higher secondary school days, when I joined in class 11 the at KV Sagar after high school. I had to make new friends, tentative and testing at first and then fast and permanent. Those lunch time chats , playground pranks, back bench crushes. All played on mind. I also felt the exam tensions and the anticipation of results. Elations, frustrations and then finally parting. Preparing for entrance exams, the summer runs and movie marathons. All these developed my taste in music, action movies and reading books of all types. It also shaped my writing.
The day rolled on and I met with rest of the office group and went to clients office. There as we were signing in I saw my old boss and another who I mentored. We are part of small architects team trying to teach internet, SOA and enterprise level IT. We were the universal plugs, called in to fix problems big and small. If the fan did not work one of us had to sort that. Memories of night less days, debates on technology options, doing those proof of concepts, pitching for firefights. We met and talked briefly and promised to keep in touch.
This meet brought back the early days of forming a team and making them fighting fit. Of technology future gazing and convincing the decision makers. Of selling but keeping one self-honest. It was also the first long stay outside of the country with wify dear and a toddling dotty dear. Of fitting into a different culture and finding friends who share our culture and understand the world together. It was the time for mobile revolution without smart phones and iPod mania.
The day went on and on way to the airport I called another old friend. We had started work more or less together and share the common birthdate. Casual, fierce, independent. That is how she used to be and within a moment into the call I knew she had not changed . It was same familiarity after all those years. Loud laughter, imagining ourselves as the only smart alecs around. We went on about how life changed , technologies evolved yet we kept the spirit of doing something that your guts tells you, despite support or opposition. This was the early days in the job, just out of college. Dreams of onsite, late nights but that was just because we had nothing else to do. Learning new languages, applying what we learnt and managing corporate routines and learning to rebel sweetly. It was in that close knit cacophonous group I learnt expert systems, Object oriented, event driven programming, news group servers and GUI.
That was not the end of the pleasant meetings. At the airport my sister, nephew and brother in law came to meet and say hi. They drove for an hour and more for a less than an hour of talking. We talked about our parents, my nephew’s future, his internship, health and fitness.Looking at my nephew brought back all the college memories from IT BHU, Varanasi ( now IIT BHU ). Of philosophical discussions. Coffee session before end sems, corner chai shop and Maggy on bare electric heaters. About really growing up, football in rain, campus interviews and job selection celebrations. He has done some of them and has another year to do the rest.
All in all it was a trip to get connected. From old friends, colleagues, family. Each meeting played back the past life and future possibilities. In the last blog I thought coincidences are just chance occurrences. Universe may conspire to make things happen but it does not matter. Now I would welcome these happy concidences.
I wonder why we let go of that warmth of people and memories in the daily routine. What makes us not reach out, chat , talk and meet more often ? Are we scared that familiarity will make it boring ? Or we let here and now and urgency of current work mask the real warmth that comes from old friends ? Why not pick up the phone and plan that house party or the out of office lunch meet ? It is these meetings and conversations that make our life more meaningful and the tapestry wow inducing awesome and clean.

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