Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Finding Memories

Memories. What we live on, what we survive on and some romantics even build themselves on. Memories are with one all the time and present themselves at various places in various forms bringing joy, tears, laughter, smiles and all kind of emotions. We do not go looking for memories, they are there and they stay there till the incidence becomes a coincidence and the train of thoughts take you there or the past flies to the present for the rendezvous.

I do not know how it happens but we do not remember everything that has happened to us. Certain incidents stay with us and most of it is lost. There are people who pen down there memories, people who write journals of everyday life and have their memories tucked away safely in nice leather bounded books to refer to whenever they feel like. Some are even lucky, like Dumbledore, they have pensieve to save their thoughts in and look at them whenever they wish. Fancy, not even need to write them. Isn’t it fun being a fictional character with all the mysterious powers.

But there are most of us who don’t pen down our lives in journals and live on what stays with us. And life moves on. Why would someone go looking for memories? Go finding memories. I have stumbled on to write something many times and each time I have this memory that I end up writing about. However, I wondered what all I remember and how far back can I trace my existence to. Hence the quest for finding memories. Just another whim. I get few every now and then. Let’s see how long can I survive this one and save it from becoming another memory. Even if doesn’t survive, next time I will have another memory to write about. Half glass full, that’s the way they taught us for SSB, the way I am yet to learn.

Where does one start? The very beginning. From the conception. That’s kind of tough on your memories. I don’t recollect anything from my own memory of first few years of my life. I have been told of certain incidents but that becomes part of memories of the time I was told about them.

If I make a timeline of memories there will be few particular periods to divide it on. First phase will be before I joined Sanink School, then 7 years at SSK, a year in chadigarh , four years in college and subsequently three jobs bringing me to the present. All have a different set of stories, a different flavor of memories associated. Most of what happened in the later stages is clear in the web of memories. What is very hazy is all that happened in the first eleven years of the life. One remembers many incidents but there isn’t a sequence which can be associated with these. Somewhere in those years lies the secret to where one is heading to, if there is somewhere one is meant to end up.

Ruskin bond remembers his early years very well. He has his grandfather’s tales, his father’s anecdotes, the world’s wars, a country’s fight for independence and many incidents that remind him of all these years, reminds him of all the details. He has a wall as his ally, the wall on which he now sits and thinks about and later on write. I have not found a wall still but I try to think and I have not found anything still but the quest for the end, the quest to lead oneself somewhere is on.
The earliest I remember is somewhere when I was around 6-7 years. It’s the 88 floods in Punjab and events just before and around it. In fact most of my initial memories are built around the rides to the school in the town and TV. Yes, television. However, if one works really hard, one can come out with many things from that time. We did not own a TV for a long time, till dad got the Canon (smallest possible black and white screen, what was it like 10”). The first TV in the village was probably at the neighbors, at the least the first I saw, the one with the collapsible gate in front of the TV screen, and then it was a TV at Sukhdev uncle’s home. What I remember most about those TVs is the beating that we siblings got on all the way back home when dad came looking for us. It was the carefree world we lived in those days. Getting ready for the future, in an environment where father tried to keep us disciplined as much as possible, which was quite uncertain for the three kids who were to hold the key to many thousands believing in healthy education of children. But that is getting way ahead of time. And ahead of myself. One is yet to jump in the past and try to bring some jewels, some moments that will help one find out if there is anything to be found out. A memory that defines one.

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Sukhdev Singh is milking a buffalo when I call him. We are speaking after a long gap. His voice carries the same cheerful energy I remember....