Memories are such strange companions, aren’t they? The ones we yearn to envelop ourselves in are always somehow just beyond our grasp. Yet the ones we seek to suppress seem to spring up uninvited, catching us unaware. Making us relive old pain again and again.
I stand looking out as the dying rays of the setting sun cast a sublime golden light over the viridescent canopy of trees that lay spread out as far as the eye can see. Lighting the tops in elegant shades of oranges and yellows. Tingeing the slightly darkened clouds that lay sultrily above with a delicate halo. A goodbye before they forget their companion of the day, turning eagerly to their new companion of the night.
Even as I revel in the beauty of nature’s kaleidoscope of colours, the memory of that first bouquet of flowers she had painstakingly hunted and brought for me springs to mind unbidden. It had to be in just that shade, and it had to be just that those blooms, he remembered her saying. Because you like it, she had said with a shrug and a smile to my query. Each flower she ever gave me was carefully scrutinised. Always. Each arrangement spoke to me of her, her care, her love. And yet, she hated flowers. They come wrapped in memories of pain, she had said. But it makes me happy to see you happy she had countered my ongoing argument, handing me yet another exquisite arrangement.
Now all I have left in those hands are the tears that visit whenever their fancy strikes, toying with me as per their whims. Flashes of, I have to tell… I have to ask… I have to show… make me reach for my phone before I realise that I can’t. Not anymore. I have sat in a taxiing plane not even realising I had tears streaming down my face. She never let me get on one without a panoply of wishes for my safety, keeping me chatting until the very last second… and sometimes more.
The most mundane of things can spark innumerable memories of her making me laugh with her… veined marble sideboards, and pretty crochet placemats, posters of SRK in double collared shirts and undressed tables in restaurants, concessions in cinemas and closing time signs in cafes…
I keep her mementos locked away carefully. Each one a reminder of a moment, a conversation, a shared experience. But what do I do with the intangible memories that tease, spinning in front of my eyes like a silent film. Let’s ask someone to take our picture, she had said, smilingly persuading a passer-by to do the honours. Several minutes later we’re still there… of course that passer-by turned out to be from her town. Somehow, these things just happened with her. She stood chattering away animatedly while I waited for her.
I am still waiting today. Only now, it is a deathly silence that waits with me. A silence in which the only passersby are her memories which continue to sneak up at me.
I remember telling her how wonderful it was to have a great memory. Is it? She had countered quietly. I have my answer now.
Sochta hu mein kabse gumsum
Ke jabki mujhe bhi khabar hai
Ki tum nahi ho kahin nahi ho
Magar ye dil hai ki keh raha hai
Ki tum yahi ho yahin kahin ho
The lyrics above are taken from a song which I love, Yeh kahan aa gaye hum from Silsila. It embodies feelings of restlessness, of yearning, of hope, yet has an underlying acceptance of the inevitable. For me, this piece is a reflection of those feelings.