I'm not in touch with my childhood friends anymore. Kids i played cricket with. Kids i spent my summers climbing hillocks with. Kids i raced to the Trombay jetty with. Kids i learnt how to ride a bicycle with. Kids i basically grew up with. A lot of them, like me, have changed over the years. The way i remember them aren't the way they are right now. People say time heals everything but the truth it can't heal memories. They keep changing. You can't heal something that refuses to stay constant. After my school ended and i joined polytechnic in another city, my connection with them suffered. Whenever i visited home, it was the usual fake chit-chats. I'm about to hit 30 and i wonder what happened to us. We used to be a happy lot, getting sunburned in the ground that wasn't meant for any sport, let alone cricket. Our lives were simple and we sought small joys from smaller things like sweet samosas (yes, it's shaped like a samosa but stuffed with milk cream) and mango faluda. I still have a sweet tooth but i don't think my mouth waters anymore. On the contrary, i feel a void because of the realization that every little thing is so damn fickle. What is important today is rubbish tomorrow. The only consolation is the steady change. In the recent past, i've met a few of my oldest friends and they aren't the innocent kids i rubbed shoulders with once upon a time. They are different now. Life has chewed them up. Their dark circles betray the several hidden stories in their eyes. Hindu kids who used to extend their palms for niyaaz are now hardcore Hindutva stooges. Muslim kids who used to play in the temple backyard today believe their ugly beards make them a better human being. Christian kids who once didn't bother are merrily pushing the church's agenda of proselytization on Facebook. One thing is common to all of them: they feel they are absolutely right, which needless to add, is a dangerous assumption.