Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Sepia toned nostalgia

Two days ago, my parents sent me something which I have been trying to get hold of for a long (five years to be precise) time and had lost hope of ever getting. They sent me a collection of emails I had sent to them soon after landing in the USA for the first time to do my Master's.

At that time (2001), our family e-groups had not yet been created and the stingy mailbox quota set by the free email providers meant that emails could not be archived in the email account itself. I reluctantly deleted the emails I had received whenever the mail quota got exceeded.

However, my parents had saved quite a few of my emails from that time onto files before deleting them from their email accounts. But, of the emails I sent immediately after reaching the USA, there was no sign. I had wanted to see what my views had been back then. Oh well, you keep some, you lose some!

Then, a couple of days ago, when cleaning out old floppies, my dad stumbled upon those emails from me which they had saved. So they immediately sent them to me. Yaaaay :-D!

With great eagerness, I began to go through them. And immediately one thing struck me. My emails were littered with words like wud instead of 'would', mite instead of 'might', i instead of 'I' wat instead of 'what' etc. These mispellings kind of grate on my nerves these days and I wonder how I managed to use them so ardently back them. I absolutely do not remember myself being such a big proponent of these supposedly "cool" words!

Then the next thing struck me. In the emails sent in the first few months, every single email contained a reference to how much I missed home or how scared I was or how lonely I felt or how I was trying my best to cope up.

Really? Of course I remember being lonely and scared initially but certainly not to this extent! Without those emails, all I remembered now from those days were the facts that I had made new friends quickly enough and that my seniors had included me in all their activities - so I had plenty of company and that I had visited one new place or the other (outside Davis) almost every weekend - in short, I remembered having fun!

That set me thinking. As evidenced from the emails, my life had definitely been a mixed bag back then - but, I could only remember the positive things now. Apparently, all those initial difficulties no longer had a major impact on how I felt now. Only the good things mattered and these gave my memories a warm, lovely sepia-toned hue.

If that is indeed the case, instead of cribbing about every little thing now (a seasoned worrier like me can worry and crib about *anything*), I think I should spend more time creating happy memories - because that is what I am going to recall five years hence. And I bet it will be wonderful having LOTS of happy memories to think back on :-D.

So, more happy memories from now on - point noted and underlined with fluorescent sketch.

And finally, while reading the emails, I also realized that somethings will never change. Here is an almost exact reproduction of the mail I wrote about an evening of "doing homework":

"Actually the story goes like this - today we have a networks assignment due - queuing theory is the topic - which is the bane of my existence. So last evening V (one of my classmates) and me came back to my house in the fond hope of discussing the problems. But me being from AU and he being a lazier pig than me, both of us drank hot chocolate, ate chips, chocolates and talked for one hour abt our undergrad life. Then realised it was too much on our part and we shd start studying.

We spent 45 minutes exactly on reading the questions and then i had to go to the grocery shop to meet R (my roomie) - V told he would accompany me and we both went - R aalu adayalam kaanum - so we both shopped for my house.

Tired by this exercise, we came home and ate ice-cream. Then spent some more time breaking our heads. Queuing theory is one of the most horrible topics researched by man-kind - any amt of reading got us no where - so guess what we did - yep, we sat and ate dinner (R was back by then and had cooked).

We had spent a total of some 2.5 hrs so far and not a single problem was solved. i took a phone break and then i got back to queing theory - A was back by then - so once more brainstorming and we finally got sth done.

Then i had to faircopy the thing - ultimately 2:00am when i slept - i still have sth left to do in it..:( and i am feeling TERRIBLY SLEEPY.,,now! Thats how my whole day yesterday was spent on queuing hteory and more queing theory and of course eating! "

LOL :-D! I totally identify with it even now and I am glad (!?!) to note that my procrastinating capabilities haven't diminished one tiny bit after five years.


saranyakishore said...

Hey Archana,
Nice post, words are just flowing. :--))
Your family had an egroups? That is so cool. And it is sweet of your parents to have saved your emails.
As I read this post, I was just thinking what my bro would be going through, I mean, suddenly we become all mature, and start missing home, atleast for people like us, first time out of home.
And talking about procastination.... is there a cure for it at all??

spark said...

hey, i so can identify to this post. i also used the 'cool' words u, wat, and even now when i check my old mails ( i have all the ones which i wanted to), i have a laugh. hotmail was the most stupid though, with a very stingy quota and i had to delete most of my first mails in it. also, i didn't log onto hotmail for 3 months and lost all my mails :-( i so hated hotmail soon!

you must be one of the souls whose parents are so savvy with emails. i can see the affection in the way they sent you those old mails. i still read my old letters and go wow.

the only thing i don't identify is the cribbing you seem to say you always went through.

Anonymous said...

Lol... All I can remember is lecturing my sister, till she refused to talk to me over the phone!

And wow, if there is something I never do, its reading my own writing. I cringe at the thought of it.

PRIDERA said...

The account size limitation, forced me to delete a lot of my precious emails. Then I came up with this brilliant idea of creating new accounts as and when I got the over quota emails ... the only problem was I would forget the passwords way too often :(
Very thoughtful of parents to keep a copy of the emails ...

kuttichuvaru said...

ha ha... nice one.... i liked the e-mail part in the post :-)

rads said...

that is so sweet that your parents saved your mails, reminds me of the drawings I have of my kids while in preschool. Parents especially Moms are a separate breed for nostalgia!

wud, mite = chat language, old lady :P

Archana said...

Saranya - thanks :-)! Yup, yup, own egroups :-D! Your brother must be beginning to discover the fun part also now :-). I guess its difficult, but try not to worry - we did manage to cope and he will too! If there was a cure for procrastination, I bet 95% of the world population would want it - LOL :-D!

Spark - tell me about hotmail!! Those "over mail quota" mails used to drive me crazy! But then, that was my very first email account, so I hung onto it for sentimental reasons - till MS took its own sweet time granting extra quota long after gmail and yahoo had already done so. I bid farewell to hotmail then! Without regrets. Phew! That was quite_a_rant. I know - I love my parents :-))! Oh, I am a total cribbing queen :-(!

Anon - LOL :-D! I remember that! I guess elder sisters can get quite preachy at times :-P! Oh, I loooovvveeee re-reading our group of 4 mails :-))!

Pridera - this account size limitation seems to have irritated everybody! But oh, if you keep creating new accounts, don't you need to keep telling people about your new email id?

Kuttichuvaru - thank you :-D!

Rads - I know :-))! I have quite a big collection of items which serve no other purpose than that of being childhood memorablia :-)! You know, "old age" occured to me too :-(! Nowadays I try to type out proper words on chat too - maybe I will start using archaic English in chat as I get older :-P!

Inder said...

true. squeezing words is certainly irksome :)

some things, particularly the lousier ones, they never change. we don't mind the nicer ones sticking to us all our lives. :P

Prabhu said...

Your dad could save emails to floppies???
wow, he is real techhy savvy!!!

Hot chocolate-chips-chocolate-icecream and then a dinner!!!!!!!

idhula yaaro unaku 2 treat vera baaki! :(

Archana said...

Inder - ah, you understand :-D!

Prabhu - :-) - my parents eager embracers of technology I guess :-D! Er, adhu 2 treat illai, its 4 treats. I hope someone has a good savings account balance :-P!

Archana Bahuguna said...

Sorry couldnt comment yet, had a hard week ...been working like mad!

Like that nostalgic post and all ... could relate with what you wrote ...

Reminded me of a diary I used to keep when I was 17-19 , that age .. and a few months ago found it and read it and I did remember what I broadly was going through but those daily details and all those feelings felt funny now .. or may be not funny, but I couldnt relate to them ... it was like a 30 yr old married woman going through a teenager's diary :-)

Sachita(india) said...

Hi Archana,

I have just started reading your blog and have read couple of posts. I like your writing style.

More than anything else, I am just astounded by several similarities from reading your last post "me me...". Points 2-7 applies to me as well.That kind of sparked interest in your blogs.

Anyway... you have a nice blog..

I actually like using 'kewl' words:)

Keep the posts flowing.


Prabhu said...

Sigh! I thought there would be a new post today :(

Shilpa said...

I am glad that u dint put a new post before I left a comment :P

Your parents are so tech savvy ! I gave up trying to get them interested and stick to communication by phone instead !

Lemme hunt ur old snail-letters and u can compare them to ur emails...I dont think much has changed though !

Nice post ! I liked ur concept of sepia toned nostalgia !!!

Ginkgo said...

Pretty 'kewl' eh :-)

Old posts do tend to bring out all the hidden feelings, aint it :-)

had to go thro my baggage, during my recent move frm boston.
Gosh spent quite a bit of time, reading all those snail mails I got, when I first landed here, and all those cards, that I used to receive then...and then offcourse, all the spring break fotos...idling on the beach:-D

The Kid said...

Have you thought what you are going to be embarrassed about when you read this post 10 years later, Madamossaille? :p

My guess would be the smilies! No offense, we are all slaves of the fads, arent we? ;)

Archana said...

Archana - Oh you poor thing! Hope things have eased down a bit now for you! I know what you are saying - there are some thing which we simply can't relate to any more!

Sachita - thank you :-)! Ah, another similar characteristic sharer - welcome aboard :-)!

Prabhu - pottutein :-)!

Shilpa - :-D! I know - email makes it sooooooo easy to be in touch everyday! I thought the snail mails are in India - don't tell me you brought your hoarded treasure here too - LOL!

Ginkgo - you are the guru of 'kewl' words :-P! Idling on the beach - hmm, that shd be interesting to see!

The Kid - :-D - that's an interesting thought - I guess I will have to wait for 10 years to see which part will embarass me. I know I use way too many smileys everywhere :-( - maybe I can use a program to strip them all out later if I find them jarring ;-P!

Shilpa said...

No I din't bring them....they r much too precious to be brought here :-P

Archana said...

Shilpa - thats true :-)))! We should maybe someday make a museum with our exhibits! Wonder who will see it other than the eight of us :-P!