We took time for granted. As we did so many other things in adolescence. Conversations that began on a casual walk to class extended to long hours into the night, huddled in our blankets and mosquito nets. Sometimes we sat on the steps for long hours in the afternoon, discussing the mundane, obtuse and sometimes, the irrelevant.
Boarding school had lent a certain fluidity in our lives. Days melted into nights with ease and our conversations didn’t cease. There were flights of fantasy; we shared our dreams, passions and whims. We put into words our fears and insecurities. We argued, debated and sulked. We laughed at ourselves. We also contradicted ourselves.
We were carefree, spontaneous and noisy. Poise lay far away, contained in a word on some page in a dictionary.
I had assumed that we would always have the time and the inclination for such intense interactions. But I was wrong. Careers, paychecks and egos soon took precedence over our need to communicate. In every conversation I sought the carefree me, all the while burying myself under layers and layers of insecurities. I craved time and many many long conversations. But few, I realized, had the time or patience for it.
Conversations, I learnt, had to have a motive. With a defined beginning, middle and an ending. One couldn’t breeze in and out of them. They usually began with a cautious hi and ended with a smiley, often indecipherable. Leaving me cranky and underwhelmed. It stung when I was admonished for spending so much time on the telephone, for losing track of time at a friend’s place, for staying up too many nights.
I found some beautiful, very fulfilling, friendships along the way. But none afforded me the time I craved. I had taken time for granted. And now it was taking me for a ride.