A Museum of Memories

Relentless is the flow of  a river in flood

It sweeps aside and carries away all

More relentless than water is time

Nor man nor God nor demon can

Dig in their feet and resist its flow

Everything that had a beginning

Necessarily has an end waiting

But to eternity will survive the little

Moments stolen from time’s flow

And preserved in the depth of my heart

Three decades of time has passed by me. It has brought along some precious rubies and diamonds. It has carried away a few of my sapphires and emeralds. One day it will carry me also away with it. But there are some moments I have secreted and hidden deep inside my heart safe from time’s flow. Here you will find on display some of those rare moments. Don’t think of stealing them. Imagine how tight the security must be if even time has not been able to steal them away.

What has no hands or legs, does not go tick tick, but wakes you up at the dot of seven in the morning nevertheless? The answer is the sweet aroma of fresh tea boiling on the kettle wafting from mother's kitchen. Dinner is usually the time of togetherness in most families. Morning tea was ours. With father’s erratic work schedule, it was rare for us to have dinner together. Morning tea was when me, my father and my mother sat leisurely for 15 minutes and exchanged sweet nothings. So much have we discussed over these cups of morning tea over the years! More precious to me is that cup of tea than the most divine ambrosia.

As a rule, man is a fool,

When it is hot he wants it cool

When it is cool he wants it hot

Always wanting what is not

When we had Doordarshan as the only TV channel, so many times have I wished we had multiple channels like in the US! But now with the coming of cable television my dreams have come true. Am I happy? You bet not! I miss those 7.00 pm Kannada serials and 9.00 pm Hindi serials on Doordarshan I used to sit and watch with my mother. Every day there used to be a different serial, not the same one everyday like now. And the serials would get over in 13 weeks and a new one would start. Sometimes dad would also join in for the 9.00 pm serial. People say television kills family conversations. But in our family, it stimulated conversation. I can recollect numerous discussions I have had with my mother around these serials. Those days are gone, serials of that caliber are gone, and mother herself is gone! But memories remain.

The next one is going to be a weird one: going shopping with my dad! What is this? Some crime against gender stereotypes challenge? Well, not exactly! Here, the shopping I am talking about is for books. Initially it started off with second hand story books. Then when I got older, it was second hand sports star magazines as I was crazy about maintaining a scrap book of pictures and statistics related to cricket. Then even later it was computer magazines for the free CDs having trial version of computer games. The books have changed over the years but the excitement of going book shopping with dad has remained the same. This has been one major casualty of having my own income. But the memories remain and possibly one day I should take my dad to a book exhibition and get him to buy me books for old time’s sake.

Lot of research has been done to understand the nature of human intelligence. If one were to ask me, I would say the ability to tell stories and appreciate them is one of the critical aspects of human intelligence. And I was introduced to one of the greatest story tellers in my very young years: my grandfather. Possibly my deep interest in stories also was inherited from him only. He has probably told me hundreds if not thousands of stories from Indian mythology, Shakespeare, English novels, movies and various other sources. In my childhood the very news that my grandfather was coming to visit would thrill me to the bone. I have read so many books and seen so many television series and movies since. But nowhere have I found the magic that my grandfather’s stories had.

People whine so much about the summer heat. I even recently heard a person remark that he is not a summer person. Well, I have always been a summer person. The reason being summer vacations! Now I no longer have summer vacations. But even the memories of my summer vacations while at school are sufficient to invigorate me on the most tiring summer days. Most of my summer vacations were spent in my grandparents’ home. It was a large house in Chennai with lot of people – grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. We used to play cricket without stumps, tennis without a net and racquets. Lots of indoor games were also there, traditional and modern. Then there were lot of other miscellaneous activities as well: messing around in the garden, cutting wood pieces with a hacksaw and helping my uncle who ran a factory at home with the packaging.

I developed my love for English movies during these vacations only. Those were days before computers and DVD players. VCR was the in thing then and my uncles had bought one newly. So every day I would visit the local VCR library with my uncle and cousin for choosing a movie. Every weekend trips would be planned to places in and around the city such as the local zoo, the snake park, the beach, museum and temples. I lived in nuclear family without any siblings. So the joint family experience during summer vacations was something really out of the world for me. The excitement started from the moment I landed there. The whole family would come out to greet me the minute I was at the gate. Recently I was at the wedding of one of my cousins. All the folks came ahead to greet me like old times. Immediately all the old memories came rushing back to my head and I felt totally overwhelmed.

Equally fun was my vacation at my other grandparents home. There were no other kids there, but my grandparents and unmarried uncle more than made up for the absence. My grandparents had preserved well all the board games my mom and her siblings had played with in their childhood. And then there were chess and playing cards. My uncle knew so many different games that could be played with playing cards. Both my grandfather as well as my uncle were accomplished chess players. My favorite board game was Monopoly. My grandfather and grandmother would sit and play Monopoly with me for hours together. My uncle was a very shy and reserved person who was more comfortable with children than with adults. We would converse for hours about cricket and about technologies of the future. He had an excellent sense of humor and every moment spent with him was a pleasure indeed. But eventually I grew up and was no longer a child. That kind of created a gap between me and my uncle. Nor can I be playing board games with my grandparents anymore at my age. But the memories of those wonderful moments still remain fresh in my mind.

There are many more moments on display. But unfortunately it is already closing hours.  You need to visit again to see the remaining displays. And new items are being added to the display every passing day of my life as events are rapidly being moved from the present to the past. For instance the lovely evening walks I used to have with my wife in the first year of our marriage. A moment it was here in the present. Then suddenly I changed jobs, my work timings changed and the moment became an addition to the archives.

Catch, then, Oh! catch the transient hour,

Improve each moment as it flies;

Life's a short summer--man a flow'r:

He dies--alas! how soon he dies!

Picture Credit : RQuack at Deviant Art

This entry is a part of the contest at BlogAdda.com in association with imlee.com


Vikram Pyati said...

A very sweet trip down the memory lane; reminded me of so many childhood memories.

The Fool said...

Thanks, Vikram. Glad it reminded you of your own childhood.

C. Suresh said...

Wonderful post, TF! A wonderful trip down nostalgia lane! Apt poetry and great prose! In my case, my summer vacations were to Bangalore from Neyveli but everything else you experienced I was lucky to do as well!

The Fool said...

Thanks a lot, CS. Only the first verse is written by me though. The second is a popular rhyme from some unknown source and the closing one is from Samuel Johnson.

ashwini said...

Hello! You have written very nice and beautiful blog. We are glad to have your entry and we wish you all the best for the contest.
- Ashwini
Team imlee

DS said...

What can I say tf! Your posts leave me amazed. This post is so beautiful, its so similar to my life.
Those DD programs, summer vacations, cricket scrap books, Grandpa stories... Oh! The Good Old Time...
It does run away pretty quickly.

The Fool said...

Thanks, Ashwini.

The Fool said...

Thanks, DS. Are you also writing for this contest?

umashankar said...

None could dig in their feet and stay yet you ask us to catch the transient hours! What a breathtaking post! The opening and closing poems are odes to the power of time and the resistance of memories. The in between prose is lyrical in its lessons on transience of human desires.

There'll be few pieces written better than this for that contest. Good Luck!

The Fool said...

Thanks for your encouraging comment, Umashankar. Isn't trying to do the impossible the essence of being human after all?

Arvind Passey said...

Loved your reasons for being a 'summer person'... interesting post. All the best for the imlee contest!! :)

Stan Szczesny said...

"He dies--alas how soon he dies." What a great line! Also, "nor man, nor God, nor demons" can avoid the sweep of time. Another great line, and an intriguing one. I'm reminded of "The Session with Markandeya" from the Mahabharata. Everything--all life, all gods, the whole cosmos--gets swept away by a flood, except, of course, Manu, who helped Brahma when he took the form of a fish.

Princess Poo said...

You took us all on a beautiful journey TF JHI :).
I loved the poems that you have written.
My favorite was the 2nd one about Man's wants.. Too Good.
And about the post, it was just too splendid :).

Even I'm a summer person :D As its vacation time now, I'm happily enjoying with my cousins..
And now to think of it, in a few years this might vanish :(. Reading this post made me realize how worthy our present it.. Tomorrow it might all be a memory.. I have learned to savor each moment as much as possible before its too late...
Thank you for such an inspiration :) :).
All the best for the contest :D.

vajra said...

Absolutely awesome ..Reminded my childhood days..I liked all u r bondage but off all Chai wala topic is whr I connected most..bcaz Im maniac tooo Chai...:) :)

The Fool said...

Thanks a lot, Stan. The credit for the first line goes to Samuel Johnson. The second one however is my own. Nice analogy you bring to the great flood.

The Fool said...

Thanks princess. The second poem was something I read somewhere. Only the first one is written by me. Do make the best of every moment and treasure them for finally only memories are what remain.

The Fool said...

Thanks a lot, Mr. Passey. Good to see you here.

The Fool said...

Thanks a lot, Vjara. The tea one was my favorite too. The whole post concept started with me wanting to write about the teas.

N.S.Kirti said...

This is such a beautiful post TF. i was smiling as i read through every paragraph. the soulful verses added to the beauty.
I have always found it fun to peep into other's lives when they are all nostalgic so i difinitely loved this post a lot. A picture of TF as a kid- that really makes me smile :)
but more than that, it reminds me of my own childhood, which i left behind just a couple of years back and moments i had spent there have become memories now, with this sudden realization that i cant go back.
this was my last year at school, and i realize, i wont be having those carefree summer vacations again, and it makes me sad.
My rants apart, i would say again that this was a beautifully narrated post, so clearly straight from your heart and i seriously LOVED the first verse.
good luck with the contest.

The Fool said...

Thanks Kirti. I just love such long comments. Especially glad an accomplished poet like yourself appreciating my poetry. If you like nostalgic posts, I have more of them on my blog. I can direct you to them.

By the way you will still have vacations in college too. Still you have 4 years. Treasure them.

Sinduja said...

I have always avoided walking down the memory lane. For one thing, it makes me feel sad that I have grown older - not that I take comfort in the vigor and freshness of youth but it is a cruel reminder to me that time is running fast. So, memories are all buried and locked behind iron bars. For avoiding the over-whelming moments they bring, I avoid the joys too. But glad that you could experience the joys. Great touching piece!

The Fool said...

@Sindhuja - I was also like that. But I was discussing with a friend about loss. She has lost her mother at 13 and had 2-3 failed relationships. She told me even though the people leave her life, no one can take the memories of the moments from her. That kind of stuck a chord with me.

Divya Pramil said...

"Three decades of time has passed by me. It has brought along some precious rubies and diamonds" - Very beautiful line and tat's the truth!!!

Memories are something that cannot leave us, even if people did!!

Beautifully written!!

The Fool said...

Thanks a lot, Divya.

Jasmeet Kukreja said...

an emotional n soulful post ....reminded my own old days n how it feels when time flew away n we remains with memories ..indeed...a true saying.."Always wanting what is not"

The Fool said...

Thanks, Jasmeet.

Gayathri said...

A nostalgic post and it got too touchy for me.. :) loved it.. good luck to you for winning this competition TF!! :)

The Fool said...

Glad I could write something that you could relate to Gayathri. Results are out. Once again, did not win anything. But doesn't matter. Glad people liked it.

Post a Comment

Kind words of appreciation/feedback

For whom the bell tolls

A book of faces