I just exchanged ‘pings’ with an old friend from high school. I sent him a quick email saying hello and telling him how my current writing was reminding me of the days we hung out in the computer lab after school. He wrote back from a different continent saying hello. We graduated from a school on a third continent, from the ones each of us are on, now, in a country where neither of us were citizens. That is a global nomad’s life story in a nutshell.
Two decades or so ago, when I was in undergrad in Bangalore and he was in undergrad in California, we would exchange greeting cards and letters about our college lives. We had both ‘returned’ to our passport countries for college, after high school. And it was good to be in touch with someone on the other side of the world, reminding you of the life you once led, as you immersed yourself in the localized life of a college campus. Once he sent me a letter on audio cassette, which he had recorded while driving a cab, he paid his way through college, although there was no need to. I still have it somewhere.
Today, we can instantly exchange photographs – I see his children grow up on their birthdays, we can talk if we were so inclined – something I couldn’t throughout my college years in Bangalore because there were 10 year waiting lines for telephone connections in India in the eighties. I would go to post offices to call my mom in Malaysia and then wait to have her call me back at the public phone number. No, that wasn’t allowed but I’d ask the postmaster sweetly. How else could I afford to talk to my mother? It used to be 60 rupees for a minute to talk to Madras/Chennai from New Delhi in the early nineties.
Anyway, I reminisce pointlessly, I’m just saying that the internetworked world has been a good evolution for those of us who had to wait around for the guy to finish building the computer game before we could play it.