I had always found this particular habit of my little sister extremely irritating.
Just about when we were about to reach our home, right at the top of the steep hill and open the gate, she would immediately run back down the hill, to the playground there. I would then have to go back, hold her hand, and almost drag her back all the way up.
Little did I realize that she was helping me with my endurance skills and deep breathing techniques which would prove invaluable when I became a world class marathoner later on in life 😀
From the time since I can remember, New Years meant only one thing to me, the fact that Christmas Vacations at school were almost over and that I would have to go back to school, and more importantly I was close enough to my birthday that I would already start feeling a year older.
Now, while I was younger, and I mean till the time I was around 10 yrs old, I used to look forward to my birthdays quite a bit as they meant that one day of the year when I could do almost anything and get away with it without fear of any retribution. And the added bonus was that my parents would almost surely buy me a gift which I would figure out the best way to put to use to any which way. All these years I used to look forward to New Years’ eve as they got me that much more closer to gifts.
The next ten years, from when I was 11 till I was 20 were also fun years, when it came to New Years’ eves and my birthdays. These were years when the gifts became less important when compared to the company of friends, family, cousins, etc on New Years’ eve. And given that none of these folks smoked or drank meant that we had quite fun times on these days, sitting around, playing indoor games, catching some idiotic programs on TV, generally having a good time. And the fact that we were all teenagers meant that we didn’t have any care in the world, and that no topic under the sun was taboo. We were bold, fearless, ready to take on the world and weren’t afraid of anything.
20 was the age when I started working, and this marked a significant change in my personality. From this point onwards, most holidays started being treated as stress-busters from a hectic work schedule. Weekends, New Years eves, all these just became an excuse to take some time off from work, grab a beer and vent our frustrations out. Given that I had quite a few friends at the workplace, most of these sessions would invariably involve bitching about the supervisors, catching up on the latest workplace gossip and rumors, and looking back now involved quite a bit of ‘bad blood’ about colleagues who we didn’t particularly like. The older me today looks back at those days and cringes with shame at the total waste of time, energy, creativity and effort in such meaningless weekends and conversations. But then I guess these were also part of the journey called ‘growing up’ which all of us have to inevitably undertake in our lives at some point of time.
I got married when I was 27 and this yet again marked a huge change in my personality. This made me more responsible as a person and directly affected the way New Years’ eve was celebrated as well. The last few years have all been at home, silently heralding in the New Year with family (and at times friends as well). These are more modest, sedate, silent affairs where it is just a bunch of friends sitting around, having dinner, having good conversations, musing about the year(s) gone by and sharing our hopes and fears about the year(s) to come. I guess as good wine and whiskey mature over the years, my personality too has undergone similar changes as time passed by.
While I am not a big fan of retrospectives where I try and analyze all that I have learnt in the year gone by, I always ensure that the lessons I have learnt stay with me. While I do appreciate the fact that most of us use the New Year more as a new beginning, I personally would rather use each and every day of my life as a new beginning where I put the lessons I have learnt to good use. And 2014 is going to be no different.
I happened to stumble upon this wonderful group of bloggers called Write Tribe [Link to site] approximately 4 months ago and participated in a couple of their writing prompts back then. Little did I know that my posts and subsequent writing would attract the attention of the senior members of this group Corrine [Link to blog] and Vidya [Link to blog] so much that they would induct me into the group itself.
And man, has it been a roller-coaster of a ride from there or what!
Starting with the first Write Tribe Festival of Words in September to the awesome weekly prompts to the second Write Tribe Festival of Words in December, this group has been providing me with ample motivation to keep churning out post after post on my blog. Further, it has also introduced me to a wonderful group of bloggers whose blogs are inspiring, touching, moving, funny, thoughtful and joyous, all at the same time.
Vidya, who just turned 50 celebrated her birthday by compiling a wonderful anthology of the best posts from all the members of Write Tribe into a free to download e-book [Link to PDF]. Please do download and read the same to understand why I am proud to be a member of this wonderful group of bloggers.
Alternatively, you could also click on the image below to download and read the PDF.
That night as David tried to sleep in the guest room of Ram’s house in West Mambalam, he was quite troubled. The fact that he could not remember wonderful people like Ram’s parents who were probably among the most loving people he had encountered in his short life so far, or the fact that he could not remember any of the incidents they talked about during lunch and throughout the afternoon when they were lazing around in front of the TV bothered him a lot.
Based on what the doctor had told him and Ram in the hospital, while he realized that as far as his recollection and memories were concerned, they could come back to him at any point in time, he still felt extremely frustrated that despite Ram’s best efforts he could not remember anything of the last three years or so. What was even more frustrating was the fact that he seemed to have crystal clear memories until the time just before he met Ram on his first day in office.
He cursed his ill luck for having forgotten these people, who after his parents had passed away a long time ago, seemed to be the only ones who really cared for him in this world. He could clearly remember being a loner and relatively depressed throughout his college life where although he had friends, he could not call any of them his true friends in every sense of the word. And here he was, with a complete family loving him more than he could ask for but fate was that he did not even remember having met them at all.
While he was lying down on his bed with the night lamp on wrestling with these thoughts, he heard the door of his room open. He looked up and saw Priya peeping into the room checking if he was asleep. When he sat up on the bed, she came into the room, and funnily enough, she quietly closed the door behind her.
She sat down next to him on the bed, and gently touched his cheek, and suddenly started sobbing. Surprised at her proximity to him and the fact that she started crying David was at a loss as to how to react. Keeping within his limits of propriety, he just put one hand on her left shoulder and squeezed it saying “Don’t worry Priya, everything will be all right.”
Looking at him through her tear filled eyes she said “You don’t remember anything do you David? You don’t remember me also.”
Even though he didn’t answer she continued “When I first heard about your accident and memory loss, I was more than sure that whatever you had forgotten, you surely would remember me. There was no way in the world that you could ever forget me. But then, when I saw your expression in the afternoon when you got out of the car and looked at me, I knew I was wrong. You forgot me, didn’t you? How could you!!!”
“Of all the people in the world, you forgot me also!” she said and abruptly got up and went out of the room sobbing.
Surprised and perplexed at her words when David finally lay down and dropped off to sleep due to his medication, he didn’t quite get a peaceful sleep as well.
It is said that dreams are a manifestation of our worst fears, our craziest passions, our wildest imaginations and our deepest thoughts. And all of this was proved tonight when David dreamt.
In his dream, he was running on a beach behind a girl who oddly enough resembled Priya. Occasionally she would turn back and beckon him with her arms to run towards her and just when he was about to touch her, she would start running away again.
Disturbed by this dream, David woke up with a start. As it is he was frustrated at his condition and this dream added to his woes even further. He had a drink of water and ended up sitting and reading one of the books that he had brought along with him.
After having driven a good part of 7 hrs, Ram and David finally turned into Arya Gowder road in West Mambalam, Chennai at one end of which Ram’s parents stayed. After 10 odd mins of jostling through hectic weekend traffic , they finally parked the Honda City outside the house with one wheel on the footpath just like every other car in West Mambalam was parked and stepped outside. By the time they had stretched their muscles, a girl came running out of the flat on the ground floor and abruptly stopped in front of David.
Noticing no change in David’s reaction, she then turned quizzically to Ram, who smiled “David, meet Priya, my sister. And Priya, I am not going to introduce David to you. In fact for the sheer number of missed calls and text messages that you have sent me over the past 5 days I should not even have introduced you to David. He has no clue the amount of trouble he is in.”
From her expression it was clear that Priya had a lot of things to say to David, but without uttering even one word or even saying a hello, she quietly took both David’s and her brother’s backpacks from the car and took them inside the flat. David was quite surprised by this deadly silence from her as he had at least expected the basic courtesies that people usually extend to people they meet for the first time. Shrugging his shoulders, he walked behind her into the flat.
As soon as he walked in, he first saw Priya walking into a room and for some funny reason he thought he saw her crying. Before he could give this any further thought, an old lady who seemed to be Ram’s mother came up to him and hugged him. “David, how are you? Thank God your accident didn’t turn out to be any more serious than it was and you got away with just a few scratches.”
“Come, wash up and sit at the dining table. As usual, we have reserved your favorite chair for you, right next to uncle. He has just gone to buy some potato chips, which you love having with sambar rice. He will be right back. And also, save some space in your stomach for the Semia Payasam specially made for you.”
The sheer warmth of the greeting and the genuine motherly love that Ram’s mother showed David made him feel right at home even though he didn’t remember having met them before at all. In his heart he was sickened at not being able to remember this wonderful old lady, let alone reciprocate all the love she was showering upon him. He felt miserable at his condition right now more than anytime else. After all, what use were good memories if they didn’t come back to you at appropriate times.
Ram’s father turned out to be quite a jovial person although David did get the feeling that from time to time he held himself back from asking any questions which he might find odd or hard to answer. Although Priya joined them for lunch, she didn’t utter a word, all the while stealing glances at David whenever her dad or mom spoke to him hoping for any hints that he recognized her or any of them in that room. The only person in that room that David was having any real conversation with was her brother Ram, and that was also probably because he had know him for a full 5 days now, 5 days more than he knew any of the rest of them.
It was funny, she thought, how the human brain works, how one small bump on it could so easily erase countless moments of life, countless memories.
Funnily enough, coincidentally David was thinking of the exact same thing at the same moment.