I have been reading the “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle maintenance” on the way home from work on a Friday. The usual weekend commute on the bus, which takes around 7 hours straight. Best way to kill time on this gruesome transit is to read books, and its just another reason for me to reach for them!
Usually I start out by 5 in the evening and the light goes out soon after a couple of hours and then its so dark you cant read anymore. But today I boarded the bus quite early, so I had a few hours to spare. And so I started without much ado. An hour might have passed and slowly I started feeling sleepy. That’s no news; lately these afternoon sessions have been too much for me. Feeling sleepy all the time. May be it has to something to do with sleeping late the last night. Whatever. So I was crawling from page to page (everybody knows the book is a slow read ;) ), most of the time words forming crazy shapes in front of my eyes, and there was David Gilmour blazing away with his solo in the background. It’s a crazy easy feeling.
And then suddenly something caught my eyes, or rather woke me up from my lazy slumber. A line in the book, where Pirsig was explaining how we see things during a road trip and how we selectively remember stuff from it. Its true, we encounter a lot of things on a road trip, so much that most of the them are discarded by the brain as junk. And it chooses a certain subset of this entire experiences and form a collective memory about the whole thing. In other words, memories we have of incidents and trips are not entirely true to themselves but just a filtered or rather refined versions of them apparently. When I thought about it, it seemed right.
I tried to remember everything I could from the trip I made to Goa with my friend on my motorcycle. And, I certainly could not remember most of it, to the minute details I mean, which I could have easily recollected on the day of the trip or even a week after it.
Brain certainly seems to move a chunk of things to the ‘recycle bin’, such as the ones we have on a PC or a Mac and empties it periodically (garbage collection aka GC, ring any bells anyone). The more I thought about it, the more amused I was. The memories we have of people, places and about anything in general are not actually the exact true ones. It’s just a casual, biased (if I may) version of the real deal, changed and tweaked in such a way that it closely resembles the overall experience we got to feel. Makes sense? May be not. Brain does not work in ways that make sense most of the time. Well, that’s the beauty of it may be. Who knows.