It was a regular Thursday night.. I was doing some research for the solution to a technical problem I had faced in the office that day.. the clocked had just ticked past 12 am.. and I had already started yawning. It is normal practice for me to keep the Google Talk messenger ON while working.. so that you can chat with friends.. or rather ‘night owls’ (if in India) or ‘early birds’ (if in the US).. and it doesn’t get boring and eerie in the calm of the night..
Suddenly, I got an alert that I had received a new scrap (message) in my Orkut account. The name seemed new.. so I curiously opened the Orkut window to check out who it was. Well.. the scrap was equally strange.. some female had enquired if my mother’s name was Vasudha. Now, my mom frequently writes articles on specific topics in a local daily here in Pune, and also in some magazines in and around the area. So I thought it was someone who had read my mother’s name in one such article, had somehow come across my account on Orkut (going by the same surname.. which is rare in this part of the world) and asked if I was related to her. So I promptly replied back that “Yes, her name is Vasudha. How do you know her?”. The reply to this took me aback.. and sent me 25 years down the memory lane.. in an instant..
The person asking this was.. technically.. one of my first friends! We, at home, know her as ‘Rani’ (its a nickname), and she and her family (the Chaudhari’s) used to be our neighbors in Chinchwad, a small satellite town of Pune, the place where I was born. Obviously, these were the first people I had played with, & as mom always tells me, they were not just neighbors for her during our stay there, instead they were like an extended family!
Being just a couple of years old then, I only have a hazy recollection of those events, but through my mom’s stories over the years I have lived those days many times! She has always praised them for being a huge support to her when my dad used to be out on long work-related tours. Also, being a lot younger than Rani and her brothers, Sanju and Raju (again, all nicknames, because that’s what I remember the most) I’ve learnt how they used to treat me more like their sibling..
As you might have guessed by now, it didn’t take much time for Rani and me to get into a conversation that night. As surprised as I was on meeting her through Orkut, I was also eager to know where she was and how everybody was doing. I learnt about how each one completed their respective educations, got married and settled down in life and I really felt nice that each one was doing good. Rani too was happy to learn that mom was hale and hearty, and told me that she always has been one of her favorite persons.
It was many years since I had met them in person, so that day it felt as if we were rewinding time. Its strange how the good news of long lost friends and relatives brings a certain amount of cheer in you. Thank you, Orkut!
The next morning I told my mother about the entire episode, and she was delighted, she almost couldn’t believe it. I told her how Sanju, Raju and Rani have settled down and are leading successful lives today. Rani’s son even has his 1st birthday coming up! It felt great to see her picture albums and through them mom & I tried to catch up on the lost years..
It almost seems a blast from the past.. or a ping from childhood. Its also strange how quickly free conversations can take place, as if you had met the person just yesterday. We have chatted quite frequently since then.
Though many abuses are regularly thrown towards social networking sites like Orkut and Facebook, it is events like these in which they prove their worth. It certainly brought people together after many years of oblivion. Technology, and the internet in particular, does make this planet a small world after all!