A Tangible/ Not So Tangible Walk Down Memory Lane

All it takes is one tiny moment to push you into a whirlwind of thoughts, one leading to another; for your brain to start exploding in awe of the grand scheme of things at play.

My playlist was on shuffle and the song ‘Bakhuda Tumhi Ho’ from the movie Kismat Konnection started playing. I was listening to the song after a long time. Caught unaware of its existence on my phone, I was transported back to school days.

Suddenly, I was 14 and it was 2:30 pm. I ring the doorbell to my house, run up the stairs, quickly clean up and change into my home clothes from my sweaty school uniform in the heat of July. I make myself comfortable on the bed with a glass of orange-flavoured Glucon D. Without further ado, I turn on the TV and the DVD player and immerse myself in the Kismat Konnection world for the fourth consecutive time, not minding the karela served for lunch because my teenage self has Shahid Kapoor to swoon over.

Stepping out of this trance, I pondered over my obsession with hoarding objects (from tickets to museums, travel memorabilia to anchoring scripts from college) that started a couple of years ago in an attempt to give tangibility to the important moments of my life; the ones I do not wish to forget even 40-50 years from today.

The mulling made me realise how touching something isn’t the only way to be swept into moments of the past and how every other sensory language can be a carrier in equal parts. It is the unforeseeable waves that hit you and drown you in memories buried so deep in your subconscious, their thriving existence unbeknownst even to you.

This poetic thought gave birth to questions that engulfed me in fear. What if I somehow end up losing the objects I value so much? Will their loss haunt me and the memories attached to them?

While I tried to maneuver through my emotional overdrive, my brain pushed forward a hazy picture of 11-year-old me, hugging a perfectly ironed sky-coloured t-shirt with a green fish printed on it and a pair of shorts with forest leaves printed on them. There I was, on the verge of tears, pleading with my mother to not give away the worlds most comfortable and my most overworn favourite pieces of clothing. My revolt failed and it felt like I would never find unparalleled comfort in clothes ever again. But, to my surprise, I moved on and made other clothes my prized possessions.

Also read: Lost and Found: A Trip Down Memory Lane

I finally had some clarity. We might treasure certain things so dearly that the mere idea of losing them can leave us on edge. However, there is a high chance the mind is unnecessarily hyping them for a moment of solace. The trivialness unmasks itself only post the loss. It is more or less like listening to a song obsessively on repeat so much so that the 50th time it plays, not only does it lose its charm furthermore, one ends up skipping it every time it plays for the next few years.

At this point, my anxiety was taking over my being, rolling its eyes at me, its voice growing louder by the second, asking if I had ever mourned the loss of an object. I didn’t have to search for an answer, all I had to do was close my eyes to be transported to that fateful moment, a Sunday night during the winter of 2020 and so I did.

I enter my room to find pieces of ceramic scattered on the floor, my father is saying something but I can’t quite hear him, everything feels suffocating. I feel my body bend down, my mind elsewhere while my fingers pick up the pieces and try joining them as if solving a puzzle just before breaking into an ugly cry. My ceramic bell, the one shaped like a house, painted in red and green, the one my dad bought for me from Italy is officially broken. The more this reality sinks in, the harder I cry. What’s confusing is that even though for years it sat on my table, I never truly cared for it, so why now?

As I opened my eyes, working my way back to the present, cursing anxiety dear for the unrequested sadness; I couldn’t help but try and look for all the possible reasons I cared for this bell then and, continue to do so today. I realised that my feelings were akin to one’s relationship with heritage sights in their city. They exist, they are occasional picnic spots but come something like a Central Vista Project, and the turmoil rises inside of you.

My brain then decided that the only plausible reasoning that’d make total sense would be that loss does make one appreciate and value things more ardently than they normally would. Just how finding this song, after having forgotten it for years, is making me appreciate it more than I ever did before.

At this moment, AP Dhillon’s voice jolted me out of my cycle of thoughts. The song had ended without me listening to a word of it. So, I replayed it, singing along word for word this time and swooning over Shahid Kapoor all over again.

Muskaan Grover looks at life with a Bollywood-colored lens. She lives life with the philosophy of growing a little each day. The reader in her runs a ‘bookstagram’ @groverwantsthemoon

Featured image: Aaron Chavez/Unsplash