Last year, the girl I have lived my most embarrassing crush-tales, and most momentous discoveries with (I realised I could paint, don't laugh) got married. I knew the date, I knew the venue, and I had to make it there after work - which means I missed the wedding, and most of the reception (the reception hall was empty) and all I could really do was go on the stage and congratulate the newlyweds.
In spite of all the fallouts, different places that we went for our studies, and all the gaps that the years brought, she was the one who made the effort to keep in touch. Now she is married and in another country and the only time we talk is via Messenger. This will go down as one of the things I regret the most.
You will be welcomed with open arms when you get in touch with them. These will be the people who'll always want to know what you've been up to. There's not going to be that awkward moment where you wonder if you should be going back, because who thinks twice before going back home anyway? And even if you do have second thoughts, be the bigger person and take the first step. There will be at least some conversation, some reconnect with the roots that you formed with them.
All those social media posts that reiterate how love matters and distance does not, also need to tell you that you have to work on the bonds you share. A friend of mine recalled that he had once asked his father why his siblings don't call him often, and went on to say that he himself called his parents just once in two weeks now. Your parents are a foundation that'll never fall apart on you, they're biologically programmed to love you. But friendships need an effort. No need to hire a chopper to surprise them with a 'Miss You' message. Try WhatApp, maybe?
They're probably the only set of people who've seen you move out of your kindergarten uniforms into whatever high school demanded you wear. The one forgiving soul who's put with my constant, sudden disappearances is the only one who knows how I have changed. She's the one who understands my worst fears, and still accepts it all. These people in my life, the ones I have lost touch with over the years, are the only ones who'll accept you with almost all your quirks. Which means you can be your loud, ghaati self, and not be judged by the sophisticated ladies who seem to never raise their voice. Kahin toh khulke bolein, nai?
These are the friendships that will effortlessly flow if only you give them a little attention, a lesson I took a little time to learn. I wish I had sent a small message every time I missed them, rather than wait for meet-up plans to reach fruition. These are the people who'll turn up to help you out of shit, and even stick by whatever lies you concocted, just so you're out of trouble.
They will give you a long lecture on the inconvenience you put them through - but later. The clothes you wore when you were five will not fit you for a wedding party in your twenties. But then you can always have a reboot version, which will be an on-loop process with these friends. Make an effort and a little part of them will always be with you.
There'll be nobody to tell your kids that you were cool a long time ago.
I know I am being a tad too romantic here, but it's true! They're the ones who'll tell your kids about how you hated maths and excelled at music lessons, about the weird stories that have gotten you out of trouble (My dog ate my homework), and these could be the people your kids might get comfortable sharing their otherwise secret lives with. Remember Phoebe dreaming about being 'the cool aunt Phoebe'? That could be the privilege that comes your way and it can't be all too bad, right?
They are the sour honest grapes in this world of polished lies.
There will always be a million smiling faces around you, you might end up at a place where you're surrounded by fans all the time, you could grow into one of the most popular people in your work circle, but the people you grew up with will be the ones who'll throw honesty at your face like it is. They're the people you can go to looking for honest opinions. They're the people who throw acid-like honesty at you, just because they know that there are things you need to get out of. And lastly, they're also the ones who'll be there to help you up, even when they were telling you all the while that you might fall. It's not a blessing that can be easily found.
So this is a shoutout to all such people in my life. I'm furious that life happened, but I promise to be a tad better this time. And if you're reading this, please stop waiting for a reunion to discover what your friends are up to. Time passes way too fast, kid