This past weekend, I saw more ghosts from episodes of my past in this life. It was emotional: both joyful and sad. These particular encounters happened in the course of attending political and cultural activities and relate to dramatic sagas of some phases of my life.
Attending a forum on political history and struggle in India, I came across more than a dozen familiar faces from my activism in the 1980s, which concluded in a very painful and exasperating way. These old comrades want to talk to me about what happened back then. I am already reflecting so as to prepare myself for that eventual conversation. Where do I stand? They changed affiliations and lay blame at certain groups and individuals with whom they engaged in a long, dragged-out knock-down fight for many years. I can perceive the lines of pain on their faces and hear the agony in their voices. As for me, I have come to terms and left it all behind me, resolved the pain that I experienced for many years. I lay blame on individuals and see the faults in the groups involved, but I am not sure I agree with what seems to be their ideo-political analysis of it. How much and for how long can political factions point fingers at each other and denounce one another for making mistakes? One has to have a big picture of the context and make efforts to improve organizing in the future. I want to work with them, so I hope they accept my interpretation and conclusions enough so that we may work together on causes and campaigns together. I am not going to convert to Maoism or align myself with any new parties, however.
Related to that period to which I referred in the above paragraph are close encounters with comrades from the opposing camp of those days. Yikes. I have no desire for conversations or alliances with them, though I appreciate the general political point of view. Anyway, it appears they still have very few followers whereas other camps are expanding these days. That means there will likely be very little need to cooperate and engage in dialogues with them. Among the individuals involved, I have heard news that the key player is dying. He is certainly a clear culprit. I am not grieving his forthcoming demise. On the contrary.
During cultural occasions, I am coming across old friends and acquaintances. I can see more clearly now where I stand with them, which is to say what kind of relationship I have had. At a musical event last night, for instance, I talked to individuals I had not seen in many years. I had not thought much about some of them; I could not even recognize a few. Regarding one past friend who I dated a little and did some musical activities with, I realized even more clearly how we are unsuitable as friends. He is way too passive for me. I find myself just being polite with him. As for another, a woman in my musical and activist circles, there is always some edge to our conversations; that, I have not figured out. However, I understand how little she is interested in me, and though we exchange information and update each other on our life developments, again I am only being polite with her much of the time. As for the wife of one of my male friends, I have had only incidental contact over the years. She is a friend by virtue of my friendship with her man, a music leader whom I often see and speak to like a lot of our choir and cultural events participants; she know about me and probably gets news of me from her guy, but I think she doesn't care whether I make an effort to talk with her or not. I said I want to make some time to talk with her properly, as there is not much opportunity to speak fully with the variety of people at such occasions, but she just shrugged.