Fleeter than Wind

“The mind is fleeter than the wind” answered Yudhishtra when questioned by the Yaksha in the Mahabharata. (The Yaksha’s questions and Yudhishtra’s answers form a major episode in the epic.) And this is true. It happens all the time. In one fleeting moment we travel forward or backward in time.

In the last week of May we went to Madikeri. It is a hill station about four hours from our place. But the place is something more than a hill station. It is the place where my father born in 1931. The house where he was born still stands and his relatives still reside in that house. A few years after his birth, his grandparents moved to the adjacent house. My father’s maternal uncle’s family still lives there. The house is just as beautiful as it was then, and our relatives warm and welcoming. We had a wonderful time, sitting up late into the night, talking about the days gone by. We went back in time and lived those days again. My father had very fond memories of the vacations spent in this house.

The mind is fleeter than the wind and it jumps from one topic to another. Some time ago we were driving back home from somewhere. We were behind an army truck in which were sitting many jawans (soldiers). Seeing them I remembered what my father had said about the second world war. Samyukta Karnataka was a very popular Kannada Daily in the 1940s.A correspondent writing under the pen name Sanjaya reported daily on the ongoing war. This pen name is very significant because in our Mahabharata it is Sanjaya who narrates the great war to the blind king Dhritharashtra. My father was only eight years old then. My grandmother was blind, and he used to read to his mother Sanjaya’s articles from Samyukta Karnataka. She used to ask a lot of questions, especially about those foreign lands. This helped him to acquire his love of general knowledge and appreciation of atlases. It so happened that my parents went on to visit and travel through many lands on various continents.

It is good when our memories are good ones. But so often it is so difficult to forget the painful moments of life. The other day someone was telling us that people who forget are lucky and those who cannot are cursed. All our memories are present somewhere in our mind. They come back to us at unexpected moments and take us on a journey, into the past or future.

“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.”
 L.M. Montgomery, The Story Girl

My father and his mother, maybe in 1940 or in 1941
My father’s maternal uncle’s home in Madikeri, more than forty years ago
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