Confessions of a restless mind
All my life I used to rank ‘nostalgia’ as the most over-rated act in human lives. Movies, poems, stories, plays.. wherever one looked there was always a story about distant memories. Of childhood, parents, country-side. My ideology was fairly simple: what has happened has happened. It was good/bad back then but there ends the story. The present is all that matters. Survive the present.
This probably explains why I have never really saved anything. Why should my first tooth brush be kept in the drawer on the old wooden table? So that one day, when I find it I would be able to remember a time when root canals weren’t a necessity? Why should I keep hold of that autograph book? So that I can send it to the paparazzi incase a classmate turns out to be a celebrity?
My life always has been a dull stroll in the park. The occasional flower is pleasing to the eye but the thought of what the park would’ve have been had humans not invaded the place comes back to haunt me. A dense forest, where birds chirped with love and streams of water moulded the land, perhaps? However beautiful it might be, do we really love a plastic flower? Remember the movie matrix? Would you be able to live peacefully in the simulated world if you knew the real state of the world?
That was when I found an old novel while cleaning my room one day. “Five have a mystery to solve”. I couldn’t help but travel back to the days I spent reading Enid Blyton novels. Walking to Achama’s madam’s library with a fractured hand, telling her that I needed a ‘big’ book and then walking back to standard IV with a 153 page “Tom Sawyer” in hand. All seemed like only yesterday. I was so fascinated by the fact that I could recall almost everything about the book, a gift from my brother. It was my first famous five book. The story about the Whispering Island, the kid named Wilfred, some mysterious golf course, cycle rides. And the thought gradually shifted to ‘Hardy Boys’. It scared me as to how well I remembered all those books. “Danger in the fourth dimension” (and I had no clue as to what dimension meant back then), “Slam Dunk Sabotage”. The list was non exhaustive. And before I knew it, I was completely taken over by the ghost of the past. Hours spent inside the library finding ‘secret spots’ to hide the favourite books from others, begging mom to buy the “Five go off to camp” from a stall at Kanyakumari, those family trips we used to have, those secret societies in school.. And the visions from the past kept bombarding my brain.
When I did come back to my senses I was upset that I had let my emotions rule me. I took a deep breath and got back to cleaning the room. The next thing I found was an old note book with a yellow cover page. I opened the last page to check if the book could be used again and found a piece of conversation scribbled on it. My heart stopped for a minute when I realized what it was. The 12th grade chemistry book. Things I’ve struggled hard to forget ever since that hot summer day morning when I got the ‘call’. I closed the book immediately and gulped two glasses of water in one stretch. I moved to the living room and found an old school magazine named ‘Clarion’. Clarence Pandey days. And yet again I succumbed to that invisible force called memories. My friend and I sitting under the ‘root tree’, formulating theories about the strange name of the magazine. We even pinned an alternate name, Clara, to our English teacher. Thinking about those days did bring a smile to my face though.
In this ever changing, aggressive world we often do not find time to reflect on our past. Like that star studded cast in the play ‘The Blue Mug’ kept repeating, we are what our memories are. Everything we do, whether we like it or not are reflections of the past.
Did the day’s events change me? It might have. But I did clean the room as I had intended to. Found a lot of ‘Big Babool’ tattoo stickers and had fun thinking of those days during the cricket world cup spent at waste dumping zones searching for ‘Brittania’ covers which would fetch a ticket to the world cup. And then got back to the editing work for the college magazine. But since that day, there is a certain realization. Pondering about lost love and days spent on lush green outfields with your friends might not be the best thing to do. But what you learn from all these small episodes in this mega series called life is finally what makes us what we are. The point is to learn from your mistakes. And live life to the fullest.