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A collaboration over too much coffee.
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31 October, 2005

Leaving

I think I dreamt of you and suddenly, I felt like writing…is it nostalgia? God knows, there’s no evidence of it.

These days, I turn my cupboards upside down, looking for traces of the past, and I’m forced to the sad conclusion that my life so far could not have happened at all, because there’s nothing to show for it. No letters; some photographs—all of recent date; a large collection of books.

Luckily for me, when I was younger, I believed in writing my name on them (and forcing other people who gifted me books, to do the same) so that I now know, up to about 1989, where I bought a book and when. In more recent years, the title pages tend to stay blandly printed, so that I have to really think if the book’s mine at all. Mostly, I’m very certain. At least, with books, I am.

What can you get nostalgic about? Smells? They’re gone. Yellowing letters? I’ve torn them all up. Photographs? They’re painful and I’d rather not look at them anymore. I’ve covered my traces well.

But living in the present is overrated. I wish I’d kept bundles of stuff I could look at now. I’d untie ribbons, take out each letter from its well-preserved envelope and lose myself in them while my son looks on pityingly and in slightly respectful silence.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Kalyan said...

That the present is overrated is perhaps only partially true, because it is the present that helps build the past of the future.
On a slightly different note, if the son looks at the writer 'pityingly' and with 'slightly respectful silence', does that mean that he too, like this former self of the writer, not know the value of the past? Will he also be too late?
Will the cycle ever end?

07 November, 2005 09:40  
Blogger Wandering Pilgrim said...

Perhaps, he will also be too late, but that's life. The past is what makes you who you are. I wouldn't worry about the artefacts -we all carry the past inside of us- the smells, the tastes, the feeling in our bones...Sitting in the middle of the wintry Delhi night on the college steps with a friend...you can't photograph that but I can easily find the lamp post we sat under.

08 November, 2005 02:33  

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