The weather is pretty volatile here these days. After the thunderstorm last week, the clear blue sky and the paintbrushed clouds on it are a regular sight; so are beautiful afternoons with golden rays reflecting on the glasses of the Randstad building. But then there are moments of windy, cold inclemence that reminds us all that the winter is here, and she’s nobody’s to control. The last couple of days of subzero mornings are a clear indication of what’s to come. Frosted dew atop car roofs bear the sign.
It is often interesting to see how nature evolves with its fauna. We change the course of nature, building cities and railroads and the proverbial juggernaut rolls on – yet the little dandelion peeks from the foot of the art installation, or mosses start to climb the television tower. Birds nest on air condition vents.
Life finds a way. We only leave memories, imprints in time that like footsteps on sand, ebb away as the cycle rolls on. I can’t remember all my days as a child. Heck, I can’t even tell details about every Durga Pooja, every Deepavali, every Christmas I ever had. It is there somewhere, jumbled like a cat-mangled ball of wool, too indistinguishable from each other. Sometimes we don’t want to remember certain memories, or certain people. Even those who cared about you at one point of time. It’s that bitter pill that we hate to swallow every time. Those wounds, they heal really slow. The embalming of seconds minutes hours days years and eons hardly help. Because our mind is portal. You don’t need to open a thousand doors or request for approval. You want to access a memory, and poof, you’re standing there in your college hall, embarrassed because a girl snuggled with you during the exam, or you are standing in front of your friends and being the butt of their fat jokes, or you are crying on the night of Deepavali for silly reasons like how perfectly radiant the diyas are compared to the tiny lights you spent so much time setting up around the house. You relive them, everything, every good and bad and awful and ecstatic memory. I see myself with my parents and my sister, walking down a lightless road to visit my aunts after Dussehra. I remember tiny lamps lit atop every house in remembrance of the dead, and thinking ‘do they ever see those lights from above?’ I remember watching fireflies like a fool during our weekly power-cuts.
I remember a lot of things, but then I have forgotten a lot of things as well. I remember the first time a girl said that she loved me. I remember the shivering me hugging a girl that I loved (and still love), and the first sloppy kiss I planted on her. I remember lying on her lap and looking at the sky, and looking at my watch, because I had to keep a tab on both, and I had to catch the five forty gallop train to reach my home at sharp six thirty. I remember deaths as well, the burning of bodies, the short-lived sensation of futility of everything. Charred lives and harrowing cries, I have endured them as well. I remember old friends coming back, and new friends becoming old friends, and then some old friends not coming back and things getting sour. I also remember a few fond memories like a girl telling me that I should write about the people I care about and the people that care about me, and that guy who despite me not answering every call of his still treats me like his own brother. I cannot express in words how much I owe them.
There’s a certain brilliance in remembrance. People want to remember things a certain way, just like old emperors wanted their lives to be told in tales of grandeur. We all want our memories to be shiny trophies, and our beautiful mind often fabricates its own yarns and slowly wraps on the reality. The fainter the memory, the generous the coating gets. In the end, we end up with a lot of stories to tell; some true, some not, both equally fascinating.
As I stood in a parking lot on a beautiful afternoon by a laundry waiting for my roommate to return, I was looking at the marks that jet planes were making on the blue palette of the sky. The straight, tight lines were slowly disintegrating into white pillars of smoke. Golden leaves were falling everywhere, like abandoned memories. Only we didn’t abandon memories, we abandoned people.
I wish I don’t end up forgetting more than I remember.