Monday, May 09, 2011


Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose. Yes, even if we have lost or not in touch with the people, happiness, the environment, or the ambience of a particular period, a memory helps in reliving them for a long time to come.

It makes us laugh, smile, motivate, love, sometimes cry and yes, sometimes it makes us sad. Memory can be triggered by sights, sounds, smell, solitude, emotions, and, why, even silence.

Every time I cross Chalakudy Railway station, which is my mom’s hometown ( a small but significant hamlet in Kerala), which used to be our summer vacation haven during our ( my siblings, cousins and mine) growing up years that are the best part of our childhood, I am pleasantly reminded of a frail old man’s figure in the station, which we all used to await when we reach that station. That face, that smile and little hug that my grandfather used to give is a wonderful memory that flashes in my mind when I reach or cross Chalakudy. These days my trips via Chalakudy are quite rare, but whenever I happen to cross this station, the appearance of this old man with a “thorthu” ( a towel in Malayalam) on his shoulders over his shirt, is a priceless memory.

My grandfather was a very gentle man to us, the grandkids, very lovable, but had a coarse voice. He was at his best in the evenings, after a few shots and always brings us goodies which he used to give us after our evening family prayers to each one of us, grand children, when we go to him where he sits alone near the “ Kaiyala” ( his room and that’s what we call that room) for prayer to give him the “ Stuthi” ( stuthi is praising the lord in Malayalam, that we do as a ritual after family prayers are over and it has to be given in descending order, the older family member gets the stuthi first and so on. We do not have to give stuthi to people younger than us). How we used to wait all through the prayer to see what he has brought us and he made sure every day, he brought something different. Sometimes it was small toffees, sometimes biscuits and sometimes sweets made in the local stores.

He always had a mischievous smile, ensured we were safe in a place like Chalakudy as we were typically the “city-bred” children, not very aware of the dangers awaiting us in the deep pond, or the force of water in the canal or the slithering creatures around and was sometimes very strict with us. My brother and I were the naughtiest and craziest among the kids, climbing trees, going to the pond and canal, playing with Mangu, ( mangu was our source of milk ), tying an oonjal ( swing) on the kada chakka tree and swinging on it like crazy kids, which all had an element of risk in it and my grandparents very well knew that my dad wont take it lightly if we even got slightly hurt.

Chalakudy evokes a set of memories, that are so pleasant, that I wish that the time machine turns back 30 years and we are all back into that time.

Then there are these memories that flood into my little head when I smell certain stuff. Take for example Cuticura powder. That instantly brings to me my grandparents dressing room with that little mirror and table. Those days actually the room looked so big and during my last visit I felt the room had actually shrunk and realized very stupidly that it was I that had grown in real life and in reality the room size remains the same. It was true of that entire house.

And similarly perfumes like Brut, Royal Mirage and Poison, ( very mallu perfumes) remind me of my college and pre marriage days and brings to me faces of Shajan, Johnson and Paulson who used to bring loads of these perfumes when ever they visited us during their vacation to India.

Zo-Zo reminds me of my honeymoon ( what a funny term, I am using it due to lack of alternative terms and any other word will not evoke the same kind of feeling as this word) time ( obviously with Joe) and reminds me of our trip to Yercaud, Thalassery and Thrissur during that time.

And there are feelings that evoke memories of certain people. Say for example, my comforter, Petula, when I am sad, its her face that comes to my mind. And many times unbelievably I have to think of her and she calls, wherever she is. A mark of true friendship and love. And Petula also reminds me of my Yercaud days, yet another lovely period in my life.

Solitude at office reminds me of the days when together the women at office enjoyed the powers of “Women mafia”. The HR, CoRCC and SLC of the place where I work were full of women and our lunch get-togethers used to be so much fun. The variety of food itself , the gossip and some intrinsic details that we discuss about many people in the organization, the conversations we have with some old men here and giving meanings to every word that we utter without any benign intention. It used be ruckus when we got together, laughing, joking, pulling each other’s legs, getting our spouses families involved and of course laughing at each one of us.

But you know what dear Reader, my blog isn’t about anything that I have discussed so far.

There are people who are in our memories, not constrained by any of these – such as sights, smells, emotions, feelings or solitude. They are filled omnipresent in memory and need no stimulant to get the attention. Memories of these ( very very few people, maybe just one or two and maybe alive or dead) people are constantly in mind. They never go away, except during sleep – We smile, laugh, talk, converse, look at these people in our memories constantly, they become so much part of you. They might or might not be in touch you in real life. They give you reasons to motivate yourselves, to smile, their memories are close to our hearts and are pleasant reminders of god’s blessings in our lives. And deep within, we love them as much as we love ourselves.

Do you have such people in your life? Such memories? I do and I know who I am talking about.

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