Nostalgia is another silly thing among the very many silly things we like to shelter. Well, I like sheltering it. On a day tiresome with aimlessness, for example, I can rummage through it and fish out an appropriate memory to feel nostalgic about. And then, all’s almost less tiresome, though not necessarily less aimless. Today was one such day. No work, some unavoidable grocery shopping, a nagging feeling of not having written anything to keep my writing cells exercised. After countless minutes in front of the computer with nothing constructive to show for, I decided to take out my camera, and start looking for subjects in our summer garden. Nature’s bounty is an ethereal nostalgia in itself, wouldn’t you say? It dragged me in, letting my being soak in its simple love.
It is difficult to accept simple love as it is. To forget you are not wearing slippers, the grass blades are jostling with the sharp silver oak leaf edges to kiss your feet, the sun is blinding your already struggling vision. But once you do, all is well. As I drifted from flower to flower, bird to bird, I remembered how these simple things brought back memories that could never get complicated even if they spent a day with adulthood as we know it.
Many people misunderstand adult behaviour as a bland and rigid means to sensible living. How sad! Actions, like everything else in this world, are servants of choice. You can choose to be unencumbered yet sensible or shove yourself and the witnesses of your action down a morose drainpipe. But choices aside, I feel that actions have a beautiful prospect not only because they get stored in the memory bank to come back as nostalgia, but also because they can be guileless and uncomplicated, if you choose to make them so. Never mind if they are sometimes completely crazy and downright suicidal.
When we went out for weekend trips to magical lands on our beloved bike, we liked to cover the entire distance on one day. The ride was almost always an accelerated version of drifting. B refused to wear glasses, so the wind’s blast would make his eyes water. And I? I also refused to keep it sane. I’d open my mouth to fill in the wind. The strong gush would fill my mouth with excited air. The next best thing was to look at myself in the rear-view mirror, and listen to the gush of the wind. It stormed in, making the lips part, the cheeks bulge and ripple hideously, and making me look like some startled fish who wasn’t afraid of showing the entire landscape of the inside of its mouth. Did I mention I loved it? I loved it, even though the air brought with it B’s eye-water, countless small insects and probably even more countless particles of dust. When we reached our destination, B would feast his eyes on the greens and I, well, I had to first raid the resort’s usually low supply of water to clean out the now completely dried out fish-mouth. And then I’d go gather more memories.
Memories just accumulate, don’t they? Some stay back to refresh and revitalise, some may have been a pain when they were happening, but years later, they seem to be the stuff for nostalgia.
Another recurring memory is of a time when I was in college and doubling up as an online hotel bookings girl. Life was full of dreams and fluff. And shopping lists. Well, no, none of that has changed yet, but in those days, dreams and fluff and shopping lists constituted the bulk of routine. The fights with the other girls to receive a particular agent’s phone call just to hear his honey-dipped steel voice; the numerous trips to the best libraries in the city in the belief that they would magically transport me to all those places I read about; the much-loved trips in auto rickshaws (tuk-tuks) to the local road-side clothes and junk-jewellery market to get the best cheap spiffy-looking dress; the after-shopping visits to cold-coffee-and-sandwich places to sit and discuss the loot. By the time it was mid-month, all the money would be gone. Poof. And then, for the next fifteen days, it’d be hostel food, bus rides, sorry thoughts of suddenly distant dreams, and impatient wait for the next month.
These two aren’t the only memory-trips I took while I was taking the following pictures. There were numerous. And they all left me with more life than I could hope for on a lazy summer day. The tiniest of things merged with the most innocuous of memories. Everything turned, for some odd reason, anything but aimless.