“I find that the farther I go away from Bangalore, the less I can relate to my friends back there,” she blurted, eyes wide. And I could see that familiar look that only comes when you’re feeling surprise meld into acceptance. That feeling I have felt only too many times before.
I recently met and reacquainted myself with a friend, a classmate from school, who I had completely lost touch with post 2003. Until last week. She has moved to Goa, so we met. Over flat and insipid Gin and Tonics and hot sizzlers, we bonded again. Exchanging details about who we are in touch with from back home, realising once again how leaving home, moving out of a city and meeting new people can change you as a person.
And so I proceeded to (for a change) be the one who has been there and done that many times before, pacifying her to take heart, telling her to accept the many changes moving to Goa will bring, rather than resist it, to embrace solitude, rather than feel lonely, and most of all, not to count her successes in the number of friends she can keep.
I always found it hard to accept the lofty, but entirely commonsensical nuggets of truth Meredith Grey sometimes doled out with an affected effortlessness. In the voice-over that draws along at the close of every episode, she would curl her words almost like she has no connection to what she is saying. But every now and then, even a tired and tedious show like Grey’s Anatomy offers some monumental truths a la Meredith Grey.
At the end of an episode in Season 7, quite nonchalantly she says: When we say things like “people don’t change” it drives scientist crazy because change is literally the only constant in all of science. Energy. Matter. It’s always changing, morphing, merging, growing, dying. It’s the way people try not to change that’s unnatural. The way we cling to what things were instead of letting things be what they are. The way we cling to old memories instead of forming new ones. The way we insist on believing despite every scientific indication that anything in this lifetime is permanent. Change is constant. How we experience change that’s up to us.
And right there, a character as empty as Meredith Grey, makes complete sense.
Even as I comforted my friend with the new-found wisdom of experience, I found my heart doing a little hop, skip and a jump, to realise once again that it’s not just me. Because often, I feel like a bit of a freak, for ruminating time and again about my sense of fellowship. For agonising over shifting equations, for feeling completely at a loss and tossing around loneliness like a ping-pong ball. For moving from that discomfort to suddenly embracing a new sense of solitude. And for discovering how I can be surprisingly content in situations that were previously alien to me. I suppose things don’t change, WE DO. And we continue to change, all the time. It’s how we accept those changes, and what we do with it that really decides the course of things to come.
Even now I see the strings that hold my various relationships in place tighten. Sometimes they loosen and need re-tying. Sometimes they fray completely, becoming irreparable. There are no constants. Some days I find it as easy to hang out in peace with a friend, as I can party like a maniac with a bunch of people. Even now, I see myself melt in and out cliques — sometimes feeling elated with the company, sometimes downright left-out when I’m not, and sometimes wanting to have nothing to do with fellow humans. In all of this, I have seen myself go from the angst-y, constantly-questioning, sometimes-whining, overly-justifying person in search for answers to make sense of things; to the quiet, accepting kind of person. And of late I have found that I’m okay with where things are. This, has personally been the biggest change of all.
Sure, there are some relationships that do not change no matter what you throw at them. There are also those that change with the time, adapting themselves to newness, endure all the wear and tear. Then there are those that stay rigid, refusing to give in to change, stuck. Until inevitably, they fall apart. And I realised once again, that they’re often the easiest to let go off. The people and relationships that are least accepting of change, are the quickest to get left behind.
This business of change and all its little goblins at play, has always fascinated me. I have gone from being the one distraught and unable to digest it, to the one who can sometimes be Zen about it. In a sudden change of roles, I was the pacifier this time around, telling my friend that dealing with change is like choosing between the Red Pill or the Blue Pill.
You can either continue in ignorance and feel the pain. Or you can let it open the road and give you a chance at something new.
Or like Meredith says, you can let it feel like death, or it can feel like a second chance at life. If we open our fingers, loosen our grips, go with it, it can feel like pure adrenaline. Like at any moment we can have another chance at life.
Like at any moment, we can be born all over again.