Relationships: Remembrance & Forgetting

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Chatty Divas is a blog on Lassi with Lavina by two chatty friends on life, India and America

Chatty Divas on Life, India & America

Remembrance and Forgetting - Illustration by Dipanjan Bose

Remembrance and Forgetting – Illustration by Dipanjan Bose

 

Relationships – The Power of Remembering

Recalling days of sadness, memories haunt me.  Recalling days of happiness, I haunt my memories.  ~Robert Brault

 

“We live because we remember…memories are precious, treasure them” is my blog’s tagline and I wouldn’t survive a day if I didn’t believe in and live by it. Recalling past instances enhances the present in myriad ways; it sustains me and enriches my life. I am an extremely emotional person who finds it difficult to function without this link to the past; I need these precious reminders to go on.

Remembrance is such a complex word and a life-saver at trying times. The mental images play in our minds like a movie reel on a spool in a dimly lit theater. Whenever an incident from the past comes to mind, I relive it again, some incidents remind me of my grave loss and heartbreak while others fill my heart with unadulterated joy.

There are so many moments in a day but we don’t file them all away for later recall, only the most important ones get filtered and stored. Sometimes a few traumatic ones make the cut, they creep into our hearts and minds, clawing their way in like determined tarantulas and they wait, poised to sting at an opportune moment.

I remember baking my first cake with my mom at her friend’s place as we didn’t have an oven at our house. I had been 9 or 10 years old back then in the early seventies. It was a small box oven which looked like a toy and could hold a small cake tin in, we had baked a cake with six eggs. The sifting of the flour and the baking powder, beating of the eggs , adding the butter and sugar, beating the mix with a whisk manually, we didn’t have the electric beater either.

 

The past lives on in the present - illustration by Dipanjan Bose

The past lives on in the present – illustration by Dipanjan Bose

 

I particularly remember the capful of Old Monk rum we used to add to the cake batter to give it that extra zing. The heavenly smell of our first freshly baked cake has stayed with me and I just have to close my eyes to go back to those uncomplicated, magical days. My mother was the proudest when the cake tin was pulled out of the oven and it revealed a cake of fairly respectable height.

My mother hasn’t forgotten how to bake a cake but she sometimes doesn’t remember all the ingredients, missing out a few in the process. She recounts funny incidents making us laugh heartily with her but she repeats them again after a while, forgetting that she had already shared the same with us a couple of hours earlier. It kills me to see her uncertainty and confusion.  However,  the only consolation is her lack of awareness of this condition.

Relationships:  The Fear of Forgetting

I fear forgetting basic things like reading or writing; the mere thought of losing my memories is terrifying. What if one day I wake up and don’t recognize my family members, forget their names and how much I love them? How will I ever hold my Dad’s favorite shirt in my hands and not remember his aftershave’s smell? I won’t hear his affectionate voice telling me he loved me and was proud of me? What if I celebrate my birthday and forget it is his death anniversary on the same day as well.

I want to hold on to the beautiful memories of my life, times spent with my friends and family. Going around the holy fire seven times, while repeating the mantras the priest was chanting, without knowing what was being promised.

Hearing my daughter’s gusty cries and seeing her protesting the vacuum delivery by shadow punching the doctor responsible for her discomfort.

My Son’s angelic face –  he was the only child who had smiled at birth, that’s what the nurses had told me then.

Though I hope I never lose my ability to remember but in case I do – just know that I want to remember but can’t.

Sulekha Rawat

Sulekha Rawat contributes to the Chatty Diva column on Lassi with Lavina

Sulekha Rawat

Sulekha Rawat,  along with Kriti Mukherjee, brings east and west insights into Chatty Divas, their blog on ‘Lassi with Lavina’

Check out Sulekha and Kriti’s site: www.socialpotpourri.com

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About Author

Sulekha aka Lucks. She's 18 with 28 years of life experience,out of which 22 years have been spent trying to master Home Engineering. You can read her at www.sulekharawat.com

14 Comments

  1. Love the cake making episode! To imagine not being able to remember is nightmarish Mitr. But somethings like they say are better forgotten – so what say we have selective memory. Well now that’s asking for too much isn’t it?

  2. Lovely article.

    Btw, I have read somewhere that mind-games like Sudoku, Crosswords et al actually help prevent the brain from forgetting things, especially with age. Just saying.

  3. Mitr, simple things gave us so much pleasure then. You are so right, I think we need to forget somethings and just keep the good ones fresh in our hearts.

  4. Great suggestions there,Jade. But some memories never leave us, at least I believe it. Thanks for your comment.

  5. Swati Bhattacharya on

    Awesome Sulekha….do you know that forgetting is one of my deepest fears too? I read about Alzheimers, talk to friends whose parents have developed the condition, and quake internally if I was to ever be that person. I’d rather die than forget my treasured memories! Lovely read!

  6. Navdeep Bakshi on

    You speak with so much truth and anxiety that people reading it also live those moments with you. I love your work. God bless, keep writing, some day when you read your own story and will say what a cute article. Nothing is permanent but change.

    Navdeep Bakshi

  7. Lovely piece sulekha! Memories … Especially the good moments make us live a wonderful present and give us the hope for a beautiful future. May god keep us happy always!

  8. What a beautifully written article, Sulekha! Your words are like a massage for the soul and senses as I experience your memories with you since they are so vividly described; I then take a peek into mine; knowing I have lost some of the words I would once use so smoothly.
    After losing my sister and best friend four years ago, my brother just nine months ago, I keep them close to me by remembering the family so close I was sure we were special and things would never change. Now I see the shattered remnants of the survivors too raw to share old memories or make new ones.
    That is their choice for now and I hope it changes with the passing of time. I keep the joy,laughter and tears close to me as a garden and not a mine-field; I don’t always succeed but I try! I loved sharing the memories you have of the birth of your children and the smell of your mother’s freshly baked cake, Sulekha…
    Thank you for such an unforgettable post!

  9. Sulekha, this was such an incredibly beautiful piece. What you said about your mother, and your birthday, was lovely and heartbreaking at the same time.

    You know, there is a very rare medical condition where some people remember everything that has happened to them. You give them a date, any date from the past even decades ago, and they are able to recall the smallest details of that day. At first when I heard about it, I thought, ‘oh how cool to never forget!’ until I watched an interview with a person who bore this condition. The interviewer gave her a random date from some twenty years ago or something like that, and it turned out to be the day someone important in her life had passed away. She remembered everything about the day. Everything. And I thought – ok, this is not cool at all…the pain never dulls, does it?

    One’s got to love how for us normal people, memories are usually beautiful, and even the worst ones don’t remain so bad as the years go by.

  10. Thanks Willow, you know how I feel because you have felt the same emotions in the past and I appreciate your sharing the same with me here.Your words act like a soothing balm on a wound, they heal. Thank you for liking my article and leaving such a sweet comment.

  11. Rickie, you are right, the pain never dulls. Interesting information about the rare medical condition, sad too. I have been pretty unfortunate even though my name is Lucky, its going to be 4 years now and I was able to wake up on my birthday without feeling guilty,this year. Dread January 8th, but am coping with it. Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving such a touching comment.