Memories that linger

Life is one long memory. In fact, Orhan Pamuk, the Turkish writer, says ”We pass from life to memory”. With every moment of the present turning into the past, some moments survive while others die the blissful death of forgetfulness. Some memories continue to cling to us throughout our lives. I remember the little veranda I used to played on, with my brothers and sisters while my father sat on an easy chair reading the newspaper and my mother slicing vegetables a little distance away. Everybody doing their own thing but still connected. A scene of superb domesticity, I think in the aftermath of memory, full of an immaculate peace.

Next memory is of the visiting pastor of the neighbourhood church, a Welshman, who started to quiz me on a number of subjects we were studying. I fared well everywhere except when he posed a problem in Maths. He said if three brothers have three sisters how many sisters do they have? Pat came my reply, “Nine”.  There was a burst of laughter all around and I was the most shamefaced kid ever. But in retrospect, the whole incident takes on a roseate hue and never fails to bring a smile to my face.

Another memory is of my daughter, all of six years, walking with me to school when all of a sudden it started to drizzle. “Look," she said, “the sky is having a bath.” Though I was amused at the time, it became a favourite memory. I look back and picture the leafy avenue I was walking on with a little girl in a crisp laundered uniform in a morning drizzle. It warms my heart to think that several mornings have passed and the little girl has grown to be a young woman, poised and self-assured.

Memories have a way of impinging on your consciousness in quiet moments on long afternoons or in the tranquillity of the night when the mind is free from daily hassles. Sometimes, they can also be intrusive when they come in the busiest of moments as if to remind you they are always with you. Many faces “flash across the inward eye” unbidden, of people loved and lost leaving behind a trail of memories. Snatches of conversation, a face, a look, a tear, a laugh come sailing into my mind, treasured forever in the closets of my heart.

This quote of Milan Kundera, "...the struggle of memory against forgetting”, tells us memory is constantly being overpowered by forgetfulness. The struggle is futile as ultimately we forget more things than we remember. Human memory is short but some memories survive the struggle to gladden our hearts. There are also sad memories that live with us and some that may not have a closure.

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Memories that linger

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