Leela didn’t give into nostalgia. Not very often.

However, while rummaging through her old documents, an old forgotten picture found itself in her hands. She stared at it for a while, a thousand emotions hitting her as she looked at herself as a child with her maternal family. Everyone was laughing at something. Infact not just laughing but throwing their heads back and laughing like never before- one aunt even seemed to be wiping her eyes.

The picture brought an instant smile on her face. She had little memory of it now, but it was a good time to remember. She traced the fading picture with her arthritic fingers, wanting to bring it back to life but the moment had passed. Almost that is, she corrected herself- she held a fragment of it in her hands.

Her twenty years old granddaughter caught the smile on her face and peeked over Leela’s shoulder, “Well, that is something. When was this?”

Leela took her time to answer, “Some wedding or a function- hard to recall. Well, everyone attended every event those days. No RSVP or conflicting work schedule.”

“Sounds like fun!”

Her granddaughter who opted out of most get togethers/weddings/ functions replied with little feeling. Leela never understood how she stayed absent, both mentally and physically, all the time.

She replied quietly, “It was.”

She smiled again as she got transported back to the past, “Meeting up, joking, gossiping, laughing- all was fun. Sometimes the journey was cumbersome, sometimes the people and sometimes both- but it was a good burden to carry.”

It was true. In retrospect, it was.

Her granddaughter looked at her and nodded, “Uh huh.”

Leela thought more questions would follow but her granddaughter had already immersed herself back in the phone.

Leela sighed and looked at the joyful faces in the picture again. One picture had innumerable memories associated with it. They all were imperfect, and yet she couldn’t visualize anything more perfect. It felt good looking back. How she wished she had more pictures! Or a video from back then!

She shook her head. Well, she should be grateful she had at least this picture. She smiled again and kept it back carefully in her trunk, picking up the newspaper to complete her crossword- a daily exercise she did unfailingly to stay mentally active.

Meanwhile, her granddaughter had started debating on which emoji to send on a random text. Her grandmother and their short exchange were already forgotten like most of her offline conversations.

She didn’t consider ADHD a problem else she would have realized that she had just missed a wealth of emotions in the last five minutes even when she had been intimately involved in it. Nostalgia wasn’t an issue with her either. Chat histories were easily erased and there would be a hundred pictures to capture something perfectly. Otherwise, “Delete” was just a touch away.

Staying connected was always an invisible thread in someone’s life and an option in someone else’s.

Akshata A. Hegde

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