I don’t think we have made any technical advancement until we can retrieve a memory and play it on a screen — like a Penseive in Harry Potter.
How do you preserve a memory? Does going through it over and over again in your head, keep it as fresh as it was the first time it happened. Doesn’t time roughs it up a little? How do you make sure you remember every single thing about every single thing? I have never met anyone with a photographic memory? What happens to those people, do they remember everything in its entirety and exactness?
My mama has been battling cancer everyday for the last few years of his life. It’s gotten so bad now that all his memories are muddled. I don’t know why typing all this sounds rude to me, like I am making a mistake… But it’s the truth, everything is jumbled up in his brain. But, we and I still remember everything quite nicely — like not episodes but flashes. We used to go to his house in summer vacations, so there exist 3-5 second clips of our stay during that time. The yellow walls, the big room, the airy terrace, the scooter rides, the visit to chaat corner. Not the entire event, but in bits and pieces. I remember mama too, I know I sound so dramatic, that I remember him and all, I remember him in conscious memory and it is not a big deal, but you know from when I was a child.
Specially the scooter rides, I don’t know what he did when he stressed on a point, was it a slight tilt of the head, or a click of the tongue, it’s difficult to describe, one of my cousins still does it. I hate this talking in past tense. I don’t understand it, but it is the truth. I remember more things, too personal to write. The tall frame, the kindness, the love and care — all this and much more surrounded by the yellow walls. This thing is vague, I know there is no point, I just want to write because it might help me ease the confusion.
Back to where I was.
As we grew up, we got busy in our lives and we no longer met everyone in our family every year, but you know that everyone is going to be there at the same place and you can have all those scooter rides, and softy and water park and elephant park and boating in Ganga anyday, you just have to pack your bags and catch the train. There is still time, we have to study for the exam now. But then the exams didn’t end and the institutions changed and now maybe we will never be going back to the same place ever again. The yellow walls will be there always, but the love and care is threatened. And I have been trying so hard to preserve that. To keep it safe. Lock it somewhere. So that I can recreate it again if we ever have a technology. But we don’t, so what should I do now? What if when there does exist such a thing, we have to choose only a few. Which one do I save then? How do I go back to the original file, feel everything so that I can retrace it. What should I keep, the time when I was 5 and jumped idiotically from my mama’s piggyback and landed chin first on the floor — I still have a scar from that, or the one when I did not ‘make time’ to meet him when he was in Delhi for work, or just the yellow walls and blue scooter rides?