Dubai Consumer Mirror

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Staying in touch

One of the things I enjoy about this whole Web 2.0 business is how i am getting connected to many people I thought I totally lost touch with. These past few months when I was offline at home, I was online via my mobile and the most social networking "tool" I frequented was Facebook.

Facebook hooked me up to people I thought I’d never see or hear from again, people I totaly forgot about, people who ended up in places and doing things i'd never imagine them doing at all. Had some interesting stories with Facebook, most are funny ones. The most memorable one, i think is the one about my friend Mohammed Al Khayat.

Mohammed was a very close friend back in University. We spent about 3 of my college years being quite close. He was the kind of friends that you don't see often, but once you meet up, you'd spend hours catching up on stuff with. He was decent and from a very good family. A respectable and straight up kindda guy.

He graduated one semester ahead of me and on my last graduating-senior semester, I was overloaded with a massive 21 credit load that I needed to complete to graduate. So, we didn't see much of each other.

Two years after graduation, I visited Egypt and I took my little black phonebook that had all college years telephone numbers I had. Back then, mobile phones where a privilege which I couldn't afford, all my numbers were stored in my little pocket size notebook.

I called Mohammed's home but I couldn't get through. Something was wrong with the numbers I had I guessed.

Mohammad was also a good friend of a girl I used to date back in college. I tried calling her, but the conversaion got really awkward. So, I dropped that whole search campaign.

About a year ago, I got my hands on an Alumni Directory. I looked up Mohammed's name and contact details but they were identical to the ones i had in my little blackbook. It seems the area he lived had the codes or numbers changed and no one was able to get me the proper numbers. I tried googling his name, but I always got really odd hits.

Few months ago with this whole Facebook business started, I found 3 of his high school friends. One was in Canada, so he didn't know anything about Mohammed and the 2 other guys who didn't hear anything about him as well. "You know how it is bro, everyone went his way after graduation," one of them told me. "i don't see anybody of my college friends anymore."

I agree.

Last month, while in London, I was in a really boring business meeting and trying to find a way to amuse myself during one of its sessions. I logged on facebook using my mobile and found a 'Friend Request' from a girl who used to be one of Mohammed's close group of friends.

She also happened to live in the UK. I told her i was in London and called her on the phone:

Me: Hi!! What an amazing coincidence... did you know that I am here (In the UK)?
Her: No.. I saw your name on one of my friends facebook profiles.. Its been ages, how are you?
Me: Great... I love this facebook thing. Its awesome! Btw, I’ve been looking for Mohammad Khayat for YEARS! No one knows anything about him .. are you guys in touch? Is he on Facebook?
Her: (voice changes) Oh ... i am sorry to tell you this but Mohammed passed away few months ago. He died in a car accident with his sister and niece. He was driving.. I am sorry

My heart still sinks every time I recall that conversation. But I am not sad. Actually, I am relieved in an odd kinda way. I am sure he is in a better place now.

I only wish, sometimes, that I tried harder, or maybe if Facebook was more popular a year ago or so. Maybe he'd known about my news, about me getting married and having a child.

Friends, are as good as much as you know about them and their news. When you know what they are up to and are in constant touch with them. And when if discover a friend has passed on or passed away, they have given you the best gift any friend can have, good memories you carry with you forever.

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  • my dear,,, im sorry for the bad news you got.. i felt it down in my heart.. ive had a similar incident.. this is what made me wana comment on ur blog.. its hard.. but what can u say.. life goes on.. may god bless him :)
    about facebook,, oh yessss its one of the best inventions if i may call it so.. it is amazing how u meet up with ppl on facebook some of whom u lost contact with for ages.. anyway.. take care of urself and ur family :) i enjoy ur blog and looking forward to more of ur interesting posts.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 19, 2007 at 4:58 AM  

  • It's funny how sometimes you stop thinking of people you had wonderful times with, but all of the sudden while least expecting it, you have this whole memories recap thing heaving loaded on your brain. It happened to me just last night, I was lying on my bed thinking of my old friend and all of the sudden Fares my very best friend occurred to my mind, he lives in Italy now and I have no telephone number or even email address I can reach him on. I straight away got hold of my mobile and called his Mom back in Syria. She did not answer and I realized that it was very late at night. I kept thinking of him till the next morning, today's morning.

    I am very sorry for your loss, it saddened me in a way.


    By Blogger Restless in Dubai, at July 19, 2007 at 11:40 AM  

  • Dear Moryarti,
    Inna illal wa inna ilayhi raji3oon.
    I'm sorry about your loss. Something very similar happened to me a few months back. Nothing can prepare you for the news when it hits you.

    Indeed the good memories are the best gift.

    By Blogger BuJ, at July 19, 2007 at 11:50 AM  

  • Hey Mory....It's a sad story...Bass like you said, he's in a better place now. Allah yirhamo.

    By Blogger Dubai Sunshine, at July 19, 2007 at 9:21 PM  

  • Anon - thank you for your thoughtful comment

    RnD - hope you found Fares by now. Its great to stay in touch.

    Buj, DS: thank you guys.. good to see you around here again.

    By Blogger moryarti, at July 20, 2007 at 2:58 PM  

  • I completely see what you're going through. I have recently started my campaign to find all my college friends.. hell, I'm going as far back as my high school friends.

    I'm not a big fan of social networking (never liked but seems to offer a viable alternative. I am now hunting people down.. and forcing those who are not on it to get on it (well, those I can find).

    As you get older, you make less and less friends. The way we travel around so much and never stay in one place, it makes it very difficult to keep friends. It's worth the effort.

    By Anonymous fellow atheist, at July 23, 2007 at 11:46 AM  

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