Sunday, November 6, 2011

Simply Sunday - The Magic of Memories

There's a place within our hearts
Where we keep our favorite memories,
The ones that never fail to make us smile --
And when life becomes too hectic
It's such a special feeling
To close our eyes and reminisce awhile.

(From Reminiscing by Amanda Bradley)

As I floated  down memory lane over the last few weeks in a flurry of festive activities, I realized that the memories I have are of certain types - the first ones are those which were traditions(events which were repeated, actually not the daily events but every once in a while - like being woken up pre-dawn to celebrate Diwali or the festivities during Navratri/Holi in our town); the next ones are those which I remember so clearly that I can go through them like a flashback as in the movies; still others are retained only because of visual or other reminders (like photographs, songs, smells, or other mementos); while the last type are the ones where they are just of reach - hazy, and in bits and pieces - well, these ones - I can chose to make them happy or sad depending on my mood!

“So many versions of just one memory, and yet none of them were right or wrong. Instead, they were all pieces. Only when fitted together, edge to edge, could they even begin to tell the whole story.”
Sarah Dessen,
Just Listen 

And of course, in addition to all these are the memories that are not there - all the ones that my mind did not capture as the fleeting moment passed by, becoming a part of the past, never to come back again. This last set of memories are the ones that continue to plague me - they seem to ask me, "Why did you leave us in the past?" But I have no answer as I do not know them at all (or if I do, they are so hidden in the maze that is our brain). When friends, family or others seem to remember and I don't, that flusters me - was this memory so important or wonderful? Why did I forget? Their memories make me feel both cherished and envious. Cherished since they chose to keep that memory of me (obviously I am talking of the happy ones they have) and envious that I seem to not have that memory.
street after rain
The memories that I have with almost photographic clarity amaze me as they are so random and some of them are ones I should have not remembered (not because they were so bad but because they were so early on in life).
One of my earliest memories like this is of when I was three years old. The rain had just stopped and there was still a light drizzle falling. My uncle and I crossed a Delhi street (was early in the morning and not so busy) to enter a building - the hospital. I next remember looking into a white cradle at my new-born baby brother. This is like a series of photographs in my mind. For a long time, I thought this was just a vivid dream since I do not remember my mom or my uncle talking to me about this event (I also confirmed this with them later). I finally asked my mom how/when I came to see my brother after he was born and what she told me amazed me as it was her version of my story - waiting in the hospital on a monsoon day while her young brother brought her first born (me) to see her son!

There are a few more memories like this which I cherish for their beauty and the happiness each memory brings me each time I relive it. And so, as I move forward now, I work hard to do two things - one, to make each moment of each day beautiful so it stays somewhere in somebody's memory to relive later and retrieve a smile; and second, to cherish each precious moment and store it in my memory (if not in the mazes of my brain, then at least in a photograph, a written or typed line somewhere, or another visual reminder)

Memory waits for us in the future. (from Exploring Life - Memory: The Revival of Experience)

If you want to read more about memory, here are a few great articles I read/found when I was working on this post:
Google on the Brain: How the Internet Has Changed What We Remember
Exploring Life - Memory: The Revival of Experience
In Search of Lost and Forgotten Memories


  1. What a beautiful post. As a piano teacher, I have found that learning to memorize music can be challenging for some. I'm also thrilled that BFB offers The Story of Divaali and Indian Tales, some great books for children.
    Thanks for stopping by today.

  2. @LadyDThank you for sharing these wonderful books and following me.. am following you as well now.. and thank you for the compliments too..


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