I have always believed that the best way known to man for time travel is to look at old photographs. There is something about these gems, the one's which are kept hidden in some corner and are discovered serendipitously. They have the power to elicit a range of emotions. It always starts with a smile, those happy memories of a perfect past, the jokes shared with friends, that one prank which you played, that pic taken on some one's birthday which showed everybody smiling except the chap who was beaten black and blue, the pictures of events and convocations which seemed so important at that time, that picture with that girl on whom you had a crush, the picture of some date in that dimly lit restaurant, that first party which you had when you got your first salary or that farewell picture where nobody realized the fact, that it might be the final goodbye. It is then that a picture, like the last one makes you wonder about the people whom you left behind, the places you never went back to and the things that could have been!
I recently came across a stash of such photographs, hidden at an obscure corner in the net, a place about which I had forgotten and only stumbled upon while trying to find something else. And while I smiled thinking about the times which were and even contemplated about picking the phone and refreshing the jokes and memories, an idea which I dropped, partly because of hubris and partly because I was never really good at small talk and sudden calls were never my forte', the thought with which I closed the browser window was that of what if?
The peculiar thing about human beings is the power to think and contemplate - Cogito Ergo Sum. We always want to think about what could be ( future) and what could have been (past). The answer lies mostly in some small events or actions which you carried out or failed to carry out at any point of time. What if you had given that one answer during that interview for the dream job? What if you had courage to call a spade a spade when it mattered and not be swayed personal equations? What if you had told your feelings to that girl? What if you had not acted the way you did to hurt some one? What if you had applied to that one college or accepted another admit? What if you took those half chances .... What if .... What if ....
There would always be things which could have changed the course of your life ( and probably other's) and transported you to an area and a situation radically different from the one you are currently in. I have always believed that in such cases where one encounters these dilemmas and questions, it is important to ask yourself " Did I do everything which i could? Was my conscious clear? Do I have any regrets". And while majority of times I have found the answers to these questions as an unequivocal "yes" , the few times during which I have hesitated in answering myself, I have taken those events as life lessons. These lessons have helped me understand a lot about my character and at times helped in defining it. The few times when I have faced a similar situation again, these lessons have helped me doing things, which might appear tough or even unpopular but those which have helped me sleep peacefully at night. These lessons which I hope at some point in the future would stand me in good stead and help me in not repeating some mistakes or more appropriately choosing a path, at which I would be, much more at peace.
And yet, there are those questions, the answers to which I would never know. Was I right in taking that course of action? What if I had done something else? Probably with time and age, I would have better sense of these situations and while getting over my hubris and picking up that phone to make the call would take some time, I hope someday I would be able to talk and resolve these things with the people who mattered. Till then I would rejoice in traveling through time via these old photographs and smile, reminiscing about the times gone by.
As for the rest of you, open that old album and pick up that phone and revive that lost bond! :)
image source: http://neeatinarayan.blogspot.in/2011/01/what-goes-around-comes-around-that-is.html