A few weeks ago, I was taking a stroll by Dhanmondi Lake, waiting for a friend I hadn't seen in months. We had been planning the reunion for a long time. We had imagined how overjoyed we would be to see each other again but contrary to our expectations, once we saw each other, we found it quite difficult to open up like before, as some time had elapsed since we last met. This incident made me ponder over the unpredictability of reunions.
When it comes to the reunion of two people, the reality can sometimes be similar to expectations. The first few minutes might consist of struggles to find a subject to talk about and all those very British discussions about the weather. In many cases, it takes them only minutes to realise that physical distance has not affected their relationship at all. The ice breaks and they start talking about the good old days and everything that has happened in their lives since they parted their ways. It feels like nothing has changed. The void created by time and physical distance disappears. However, in many cases, the awkwardness might persist, causing the ice to remain unbreakable. The two people might try their best to make the reunion as memorable as possible, but the elapse of time, instead of being kind to them, made the void too permanent to be filled.
In the case of high school or college reunions, you might hope to catch up with people you haven't met in years, reflecting on old memories and keeping grudges at bay. People at a group reunion are initially delighted to see one another and if this atmosphere persists throughout the event, congratulations to everyone on making it a successful reunion. However, in many cases, a not-so-thoughtful person might recount something that can open wounds that time managed to heal and dig up grudges that were buried ages ago. Such an incident might lead to tears and quarrels. The result? Disaster. Several (if not most) people might vow never to attend a reunion of the group again.
We look forward to family reunions as it gives us an opportunity to meet the family members we don't get to meet that often anymore because, well, we grew up and got busy, but such reunions are often tainted by the presence of judgemental and nosy relatives. Such relatives judge you for everything, starting from your major to what you are wearing. Nosy relatives are possibly even more interested in your life than you yourself are and their endless queries can make you regret your decision to attend the reunion. And, of course, fights often ensue when relatives start blaming one another for something that happened three decades ago. Introverts attending the reunion are particularly scarred when, instead of being what it promised to be, the reunion technically ends up becoming a playground for nosy and quarrelsome people.
Reunions are supposed to be emotional and memorable, but we often end up making them cold and awkward or turning them into wars. Shouldn't we make sure reunions bring people closer all over again?
When he is not dealing with mood swings, Shounak Reza devours books and tea and longs for eras he has never lived in. You can contact him at www.facebook.com/shounakreza