Monday, September 6, 2010

Missing memories

If I told you that I forget things, you would probably nod with me, and say me too. If I told you that I forget things so completely, that when I do chance upon things I said, wrote, did or clicked, I feel like I'm looking into another person's life, you'd probably stare back, hard.

I don't know how or when this happened: I can only remember bits and pieces of myself over these 29 years,barring the mandatory sharp clear high points, or dull large low points. It has been that way in my relationships as well: I can tell you the firsts, but I cannot for the life of me, map the evolutionary trajectory of how things have come to be.

I spent Janmashtami last week with my folks, dressing up Nino as Kanha, seeking the familiar smells and sights of Mum's much loved silver diyas and jhula for the little God.

As with everytime I stay over, my father tires to pack off some of my leftovers from the house - books, diaries, photographs, letters. He handed me a beautiful spiral notebook that contained a massively long report of the time that I spent as a television production assistant in Mumbai: and I was startled to realise that I had pursued something with such passion once. The realisation was metallic in taste: not necessarily regret, but perhaps an awe of someone who was once me.

A few loose graph papers had angsty poems about love and longing and cigarettes scrawled over them... and again I marveled at this person who spoke her mind so freely, who caved under her feelings, welcoming her weaknesses. I leave you with one such poem.

The Guilt of the Audience.

I left the auditorium,
before you said all you had to say,
munched popcorn outside,
beside sound-proof doors
that closed out your cries.

I walk back in,
to see you gone,
flash-bulb lit empty stage
costumes on the stairs
and trees in the wings.

I can imagine the pain in your face when you turned
to face an empty hall,
the grimace on the face
as you pulled your best mask off -
Had you imagined me cry
as you prepared your part,
smiled as you anticipated my claps
and fierce attention?

I betrayed you then -
felt bored,
got up
stretched a little,
and walked out of the electrocution-chamber.


Uttara said...

Wonderfully written, all of it, not just the poem. When I confront these missing memories they are sometimes shocking, as if I dared to stand naked in front of everyone.

Nino's Mum said...

:) so true. Sometimes I get alarmed by the lack of memories - like its a closet that my brain keeps tucked away, safe from me and my reasoning.

Girlonthebridge said...

Stunning - I don't know who you are talking about there but good luck to him. You too, huh? I figured I asked for this transient almost, absent memory by moving far away in my 20s and cutting off from a life I can barely recognize now. I suppose the distance is created even when you are physically right there. I feel this way mostly about relationships - the other stuff I can reconcile in my head. But I relate completely differently today to the same people as I did in earlier years. So when a few memories crop up. I find myself shy, curious and sometimes wishful for the person I was. Did I really say that? Put it down in writing?

Sujatha Bagal said...

I'll just repeat what Uttara and you and GotB have said. Because there is such a sense of shock at viewing evidence of a self long-forgotten, I'm so grateful that there is evidence at all. Can you imagine if there was nothing to jog your memory of those days?!