Memories and memory

“Memories are all I have to cling to”, sang an idol of yesteryears which aptly describes my present predilection. Nostalgia is said to be the beginning of old age blues. Oh, those memories of my younger days when I was so carefree and so happy. The only trauma was studying for exams, which in retrospect seems like a mild price to pay for the joy of going to school and being with friends.

Now that the monsoons have hit Bengaluru with merciless enthusiasm, it’s so natural to snuggle under a warm blanket in the afternoons with a good book and moony songs, the latter available at the press of a button on your mobile.

One such rainy afternoon I did so, and the memories came flooding in. Elvis crooned, “And I love you so,” which brought back not only the mood of the song but the price one had paid. It happened when I was in Class 8. We had song books in those days which we exchanged with our friends regularly. I was caught passing one such leaflet to my best friend, and had been punished.

Not a very pleasant memory, so I switched to the next song on YouTube which turned out to be my favourite Jagjit Singh singing Yaad kiya dil ne kahan ho tum, a duet by Hemant Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar from the movie Patita. It was this very song that my brother-in-law had crooned to woo my sister. How romantic it was! But he is no more... Unbidden, the tears flowed and I thought of all the yesterdays with him.

Memories drowned me. Enough is enough, I thought, tearing myself away from the gloom. Armed with an umbrella and a determined chin up, I walked up to the grocery store for some retail therapy. Feasting my eyes on the goodies, I simply walked away from them and bought bitter gourds instead. I congratulated myself on the mature way I was behaving and felt oh-so-smug about my capacity for self- control. When I got home, I stood in front of my door and fumbled for my keys. I panicked then as I realised that I had forgotten to take them.

A friendly neighbour lectured, “Oh granny, at your age this is bound to happen. You see, your immediate recall will be very bad though you will be able to remember even your childhood days. A price to pay in old age,’’ he opined. Well, some consolation that.

Frustrated, I wondered what to do even as my immediate recall informed that I’d left my keys on the bed! So then why couldn’t I remember to take the keys in the first place? Any answers?

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