Letters · World

The secret art of missing

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‘Those were the best days of my life’ echoed Bryan Adams in front of fifteen thousand fans. I swayed to his tunes and suddenly I was back in the 90s, in my hometown. It was a time when I couldn’t fathom that anything could be cooler than the Sony Walkman.  I remembered how I used to fight with my brother on every possible occasion and loathed him for being nonchalant about things that were important to me. I recollect him revealing to me the murderer of Harry’s parents in Harry Potter – Prisoner of Azbakan before I could finish the book and the fit I threw after that. But, we loved Bryan Adams. Listening to him was our definition of being cool. We both shared our earphones while going on long drives without parents listening to ‘summer of 69’.  As I stood in front of those eighteen thousand people, for millisecond, I felt alone. I wished my brother who now lives in another continent was beside me.  

That’s the thing about missing someone. It could be someone close, or someone not so close. It can be a memory or an idea of something. Every time I read a classic novel, I think about my English teacher whose favorite movie was Lochinvar. I remember her passion for the language and her enunciation of each word.  I recall how she made us fall in love with the language and her encouragement to think beyond the obvious.  I remember everything in matter of few seconds and once the feeling starts sinking in, suddenly it is gone and I move on. The nostalgia recedes like an ebbing sea.  Every day it is a constant tussle between memories of the past and anticipation of future. And in this tussle, we manage to make few memories in the present which beautifully transforms into wistful memoirs.

And there are memories of old love.  The sweet sixteen crushes, the memory of the first kiss or the idea of Sharukh Khan smiling at you with his ample dimples. You might stand in the rain tucking your child safely inside your car and when you look up, a hazy memory of that smile of an old love emerges out of nowhere, which is safely tucked somewhere behind the weight of your heart. You might be seventy now and tonight you are narrating a story to your teenage granddaughter about a great love story, only that she does not know that it is yours.

The interesting ones are the secret social media yearning. Looking though the social accounts of someone you once knew. Many times, I hear people around saying, “I knew this guy, and he was so interesting and smart.”  You  surreptitiously wish that you still are a part of their story. You unknowingly miss their ideas and the subconscious idolization you once did. You still follow them from the corridors of Facebook and Instagram, secretly and ardently admiring them.

But the worst ones are the ones of an innocent old self. It could be the old you ten years before now, the time when you thought you could do or be anything.  It could be you from yesterday when you thought that you almost got the job or even five minutes that has just passed when someone important departed this world. Whatever you did, you could never come back, and even if you did, it would just be a ghost of you, only in form of spirit.

The feeling is like the partial sunlight which unexpectedly falls on your skin, bringing a smile on your face and then it hides itself again behind the clouds. It is a reminiscence which draws a soft sigh under your breath. But the best part about the secret art of missing someone is that only you are entitled to it, and it remains forever yours and undisclosed.

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