Last night, when I called my father, among other things, he spoke about this person Jack (name changed not to protect identity, but I actually forgot what his name was, it was a little difficult to pronounce - hehehe. So I'm going with a name which would fit almost any American face. Ok, I'm seriously hoping no American is reading this post - and even if he is, he'd be large hearted enough to laugh it away. I digress. What was I saying? Oh yeah, my dad. He was speaking about this guy, Jack, who he knew more than 3 - 4 decades ago, when he'd (my father) gone there for a scientific convention. They'd hit it off almost instantly, though he was several years older to my father, and thereon began a beautiful friendship spanning the seven seas, to use the archetypal expression, and also several years. And what exactly brought about this discussion? Well, you see, yesterday happened to be that person's birthday. And my dad was laughing that had he still been around, he'd have had absolutely no problem reaching him. An email, or a comment left on his Facebook page, and that's it. The wish would've reached him. And in the same breath he also added - "But I still would've preferred sending him a card."
My dad got onto the Facebook bandwagon a little late in the day, and I'm still not sure if he's enjoying the ride. He'd once joked that 'bandwagon' was the right expression because he still felt it was a little bumpy for him. :)
Anyway, the whole discussion about Jack brought back my memories about a post I'd written here a few years back. I'm re-posting it here. Just felt like.
My father was one such lucky person. And he received his card from a colleague who he'd befriended while on a trip abroad. He'd receive the cards every christmas and new year, sometimes even out of the blue...and read out the tiny, scrawly letter etched on the back of the card to us. Sometimes, he'd get a full letter in an envelope. The letter even smelled good! And we kids would pride at the fact that dad had an 'American' friend.
We received countless cards and letters, until one year they just stopped coming. Just like that. Stopped (much before the internet and emails...even STD calls). We spoke about it for a year or two and then carried on with life. One day, last year, we remembered this friend and wondered what would've made the guy stop writing.
"I guess, he passed away," my dad said quietly. I'm sure he'd even shed a teeny-weeny tear later when we were out of his sight.
In truth, this might really have been the case. Because he was the only person in that circle who my father knew. We didn't know his relatives, friends, common acquaintances, or whereabouts, we didn't know his changed address, if any (father tried writing to him years back, but the letters just returned to him).
Recently I even Googled him out for father, came up with a couple of close matches, but perished the thought, because of the age differences. I guess he really did pass away. But just think - at least for father, his very existence depended on just the cards and letters he wrote; the wishes he sent across the oceans.
Now, if only there was an email service to and from heaven...