Last night: Overnight bus in the middle-of-nowhere, India. A song from a distant past begins to play on the iPod. The last time I heard this song I am also on a night bus: It is exactly 11 years ago in the middle-of-somewhere America and I am returning from a theme park with my fellow classmates. Instead of an iPod in my hands, I am holding an old Sony CD player. But the song plays just the same.
I wonder how much has changed in the last 11 years as I straddle the two realities. Of all of us kids on that bus, who else has been so lucky to have seen the sights I have seen, been to the places I have been? In my classmates’ laughter and among all the innocent gossip we spread amongst one another, we believe we’ll stay in touch like this forever. Forever — or 10 years later — I ask, where have all of them gone? Since when have they gone down the road to permanent obscurity? Would we recognize one another anymore? Their faces are blurry, their voices faint. Back then I could recite the names, age, address and the secret crushes of everyone on that bus. We had been close friends then, but now they have become as foreign as these Indian men around me.
Time dilutes us, threatens these relationships, and renders our existences insignificant. The changes we experience through time have brought us closer together and have torn us apart. I’ve witnessed it in the last 2 years, I’ve witnessed it in the last 11 years. And the irony is that despite everything that has happened in those 11 years, I am still that 12 year old boy, on a night bus, listening to that very same song.
The din from my classmates start to die down as the night swallows us whole. The bus continues onwards like time always does. I wonder how much has changed. But the song plays just the same.
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- At time of posting in Madras, India, it was 33 °C - Humidity: 55% | Wind Speed: 4km/hr | Cloud Cover: few clouds