The obvious answer would be to highlight each of the names and delete them one by one with well calculated precision. But what do you do with names of people - close friends, in fact - who are no more? Is it equally easy to eliminate their names from, perhaps, the last bastion of their remembered presence? Would it be a very cruel gesture that borders on disrespect to their memory?
I never thought I'd ever have to face such a dilemma, but today while sorting out my Yahoo Address Book, I realised I needed to arrive at some decision. It wasn't as if the issue had not crossed my mind earlier, but each time I postponed the matter for the next time because I simply didn't want to press the delete button on some people who mattered a lot while they were alive.
However, today, I could see that my Yahoo Address Book was rather bloated and needed to be trimmed and whipped into shape. It was getting unmanageably and humongously huge and some urgent measures had to be looked into so that it'd be easier for me to have ready access to all the 'important and necessary' addresses and get rid of those that were not in use.
Now it was easy to delete the names of some people whose friendship did not stand the test of time - for whatever reasons - and getting rid of their names did not require a herculean task. It was a piece of cake, really, and more so because there were not many in that list anyway. However, it was only when my cursor moved around the names of those who were deceased that I stopped.
Logically I ought to delete their names from the list because I do not email them or message them and it's unlikely that I'll ever do so again for the rest of my life. But I didn't want to simply delete their names as if they were just names on a list that needed to go because the list needed updating. It just didn't seem right to do that. It seemed rather cruel and heartless and... merciless.
The four people in my address book who have passed away were very special because they made a qualitative difference to my life. George Ninan was a spiritual mentor who showed me that faith could be integrated in one's professional life without making us look either super-religious or super-crazy. Lina was a friend who knew how to encourage and was someone we could easily depend upon. Raju, my cousin, was one of the very few relatives that I enjoyed meeting whenever I visited Bombay (which was not often) because of his ability to remain in good humour and to express brotherly concern. Samir, a close friend who died in the horrific dhow disaster last year, was always ready whenever a party, movie or a picnic was planned and will always be remembered for being able to strike a balance between being fun loving and upright.
These were people, who in their own way, influenced me to be a little better than what I could be. Their ability to be there no matter what cannot be forgotten that easily. They were friends in the true sense of the term, and their death is a loss I feel even today. These were people who cannot be replaced, and all I can do now is to be a friend to others the way they were to me.
In the meantime, I think, I'll postpone updating my address book because deleting their names would signify the end of something valuable from my life, and I do not wish to do that at this moment. All I have now are memories and the address book, in many ways, was the last communication link I had with them. If I cut that, then, I'll be cutting a lot more than I want to... so I have to wait till I'm ready. And till then, all I can do is wait and wait and wait.