I can never forget that announcement at Allahabad Station. It was constantly mentioning one term ‘Bhule Bhatke Shivir’ – ‘A temporary place for people who are lost’. It was the Kumbha Melaa time and my colleagues had interesting versions to tell me about this Bhule Bhatke Shivir. It was mainly for the people, mainly old people who were lost in the crowd. My colleagues told me that many people bring their old parents to visit Kumbha, tell them to wait at one spot in the name of fetching some food or water etc and they never return back. The old people wait for, hope for, they are not able to tell the exact name of their village, block, district etc. These old people are deliberately ‘lost’ by their younger ones and they never are ‘found’.
The term ‘Lost and Found’ was not new to me then. I have been a member of organizing team for many events – Rallies, Camps, Treks, Meetings, Functions, Surveys, Protest Marches, and Excursions etc. On each of these occasions, we needed a person to take care of ‘Lost and Found’ section. People can lose anything when they are in a crowd – from their young children to money purse, from their railway pass to identity card, from pen to pin… anything on the earth. (I am not counting psychological aspects of such loss here - loss of mind and loss of identity! They are dealt with in another world – the world of Gurus and Spirituality. I never had much to do with those kinds of places.) The ‘Lost and Found’ section according to me was always a place of amusement. It was a place of a drama in real life. It was a place where all emotions could be seen in its most intense form.
But I hardly ever got to be stationed at the ‘Lost and Found’ section. The responsibility was generally given to one of the elder persons in the group. We used to call this group ‘Retired but not Tired’. They had enthusiasm enough but not the physical energy to be on their toes all the time. So, the running here and there job was done by youngsters and the elders sat at the table. Now looking back I realize that we actually needed mature persons to handle the situation. Old people with experience of life probably can handle the situation better (I am not saying that all old people are mature and all youngsters are immature.) The joy of those who found what they had lot must have been a treat to watch. However not everybody is lucky to find back what is lost, and their despair one cannot watch objectively.
Each one of us has lost something which we never found back. After understanding the announcement at the Allahabad station, I was happy that I never had to take the responsibility of the ‘Lost and Found’ section. It is not that I cannot stand pain – I have seen a lot of it, it is not that I cannot live with disappointment – I have that too in life. But somehow to manage one’s own affair is easier than managing feeling, emotions, and life of others.
It is not easy when one goes through the experience, when it actually happens!
It is bit ironic; but I am more attached to places than persons! May be I can afford to be myself with places. With persons, one has to compromise sometimes; though luckily not all the times and not with all the persons I meet! And I have found managing my affair with places a little difficult than managing loss of connection with persons.
I remember one such moment.
I visited my college after a decade. I had spent five eventful years there. I was so attached to that place once – lot of friends, lot of dreams, lot of passion, lot of debate and discussions,.. so much was associated with that place. I went with expectation to recapture those moments. Suddenly I realized that I was alien to the place. The building was the same – with some modification, there was a crowd, but I stood alone there, without any connection with that place. I could have met some teachers, office clerks, and peons…. But I did not feel like meeting anyone of them. I understood that the college building has no place for me and it was better to withdraw from that!
And I can recall many more such places in my life. The loss of connection happens all the while.
People and Places come in life, become friend, become integral part of life, you share with them a lot of things and one fine morning you realize that the connection, the relationship is lost. Some connections die suddenly, some die a slow and painful death.
Reason? For no apparent reason.
There is an advantage in some things which are Lost and Never Found.
Because sometimes when you find those lost things again, you are disappointed. You do not have the same bliss and peace with those things again as once you used to have. Some things are actually better Lost forever than Found.
May be that is the reason I do not mourn losses – of places, of persons.
I create new connections, I nurture new relationships, and I re-invest in living with the same innocence, same trust, and same enthusiasm.
I have Lost myself so many times through the series of such happenings!
And I have Found myself again and again!
And to tell you the truth, I have changed so much in the process.
So, I, my life can be termed as “Lost and Never Found!”