Of Memories Gone By: Looking To The Future With A Bag Full Of Memories
There is a sinister quality to looking back. Currently, I’m reading Gone With the Wind and yesterday, I came across a scene between Scarlett and Ashley after which I was somehow upset. I was upset because it triggered a sense of nostalgia in me. Thinking of the days gone by. Sometimes, when I look back, I’m able to appreciate how far I’ve come but even then, I don’t like that process.
Memories, good and bad, have a sense of foreboding to them. At least for me. They make me overwhelmed and before I know it, I’m tangled in a world gone by with experiences and moments that meant something yet seem hollow from the outside looking in. I feel a rush of emotion and unbidden tears come streaming down my cheeks.
Part of the reason I detest change is the collection of memories I’m forced to carry. A few weeks ago, I had a chat with my friends. After that call ended, I felt a weight on my chest as if someone had kept a pile of bricks on my heart and hammered them into my soul. Everything felt heavy, a moroseness enveloped me. I kept wondering what was it that nagged me so. It was the talk of our hostel days together in 2019. We talked of our movie nights, our surprise birthday parties, our long walks after we had our meals at the mess and our incessant worry of the future. We recalled some blissful moments, a few funny anecdotes but somehow we all acknowledged that it would never be the same. Even if we were to go back in time and be those girls worrying yet gossiping in room I-5, we won’t feel the same. Something would have changed. I’d be less cheesy and dramatic now, Aditi wouldn’t love everything Korean, Anshu wouldn’t get all giddy when I told her I read ‘Gone With the wind’, Sudipa wouldn’t think me a child and Bhupika wouldn’t think me heartbroken.
That’s the thing about memories and reminiscing of the past. We look back and hope to find solace there when we can’t see the future. I know I do. I love to act cold and cynical because there’s a price to pay for being sentimental. I’ve never seen anybody more foolishly sentimental than myself, somebody who has such a hard time letting go of things that they consciously make an effort not to be attached to anything in their life. This is how I realized I’m so much like Scarlett O’Hara (from Gone with the Wind), somebody who refuses to look back because otherwise, they wouldn’t ever look forward.
I have let go of friendships and people over time but I still have almost all the gifts I’ve received from people who knew me and cared enough to give me something to remember them by.
Even though I was born an Army brat, it was never easy to live in a place for some time and then pack and leave for the next town. Leaving means saying goodbye and there are only so many times a kid can do that, so eventually, I stopped saying it. I just packed my bag, mindlessly went through the list to see if anything was left behind, then picked up my belongings and then closed the door behind. Some people may call this toxic but to date, I follow the same routine. I first cry that everything will change, life as I know it will not be the same when I wake up tomorrow. I then accept it and move forward, without even a glance over my shoulder. This is the only way I know, the only way I can move ahead, each time the suitcase heavier with the memories collected.