An ongoing list of things I miss, in no real order or importance:
I miss laughter. Like at school when your teacher couldn't say the word journey and when he did it left you and your friends in splits, ending in the lot being thrown out of class. The kind of explosive, uncontrollable, ugly, snorting laughter that came up from your gut and left it aching afterwards. I miss that. I think it's been years since I have laughed that way.
I miss being bored. Like during summer vacation afternoon, sun blazing, streets burning. Nothing to do, nothing to think, the world caught in time. Nothing in your head, no worries, no joy, no sadness. Just endless vacuum, ready to be filled up with things like cricket cards and Asterix and Tintin and Superman.
I miss being lazy without the accompanying guilt of adulthood. I miss being useless, of watching MTV without the constant threat from inside your head that the future is being imperilled by not spending more time in front of your computer. I miss life without the stress and the pressure.
I miss cricket. God I miss it. The thrill of an early morning game, the competition, the arguments, the easy camaraderie, the Pepsis after, and the banter. And then coming back home with stories of your spectacular fielding that no one believes. I miss the knocked-out naps after. It's the greatest game in the world.
I miss having my friends around, like really around, when you could call them and actually meet them on the same day, in 30 minutes or less, all of them together, and you could buy cheap beer and cheaper chips and spend all evening talking about obscure Swat Kats episodes.
I miss obsession. Of burning through the Lord of the Rings books in three or four nights because you are now into the books and there’s nothing else in the world more important. Not food, not exams, nothing. I miss the sheer volume of words I could put away in my head, reading like my life depended on it.
And in a lot of ways, it did.
I miss music. Like when you put a song on as you walked to class and felt as if it had been written for you, composed for you, and each lilt sent goosebumps up your arms, and you felt it, all of it, replaying it again and again and only taking it off as you entered Economics 1.
I miss the feeling of waking up to a cold morning and feeling like a new being, of looking at the world with a cup of tea and thinking how wonderful this is, that you are young and life is ahead, and it was only a matter of time before you found your way. I miss that beauty, pregnant with promise and opportunity.
I miss watching the world. Like I used to do at the Jama in old Delhi, like I used to do at the Marina, like I used to do at the Aga Khan Palace in Pune, like I did this weekend in Mysore, like I do from the roof of the Ajantha bar in Pondy, spaces where I can sit and breathe a bit, where the world doesn't seem that big or frightening.
PS - I'll keep this going.