Monday, March 21, 2016

Fleeting Memories are like Butterflies

Sometimes I get taken over by feelings of times gone by and memories of things I haven’t thought of, in a long time. There’s often this sudden feeling in my stomach, in that part between my neck and my stomach - that brief breathlessness, just for a moment. As this breathlessness is about to depart, I fight to hold it back. At such times, it seems to me that if I let this feeling leave, I’d lose something very important to me. So I try to hold on, and then I realize that if I don’t write about this right at that moment, I might never get this feeling again. 

So why am I writing this now? The answer to this doesn’t exist in words, at least in my mind. There it just exists in form of some feelings that are going away even as I’m writing them. They’re like butterflies, staying there long enough that I realize that there used to be this indescribable feeling in the past that I don’t feel now, but these butterflies let me realize them, if only for an instant. They don’t however, stay long enough for me to catch them forever. 

I feel that these wisps of feelings are the true memories that exist deep inside, and come out only sometimes. The rest of the memories are just words, trying to describe feelings, losing the meaning each time we say them. Soon enough those words would just be empty shells. The meaning in them would have already long gone. I guess it’s good to realize those feelings from the past, catch that nostalgia and burn with it, for the few moments they are with you. This passage is my own attempt of doing it. 

Today, I saw a few things - I saw in my memories a song I used to listen to, back when I was in college. I was shocked to realize that I couldn’t even remember the name of the song, but just some lines from it. Every so often you see people recounting songs they used to listen to, long time ago, and here, I cannot remember it, thereby losing something precious to me. If I hear a song similar to it today, I probably wouldn’t like it that much, but that old song holds a special place in my memories, not because of what it is, but because of the fact that it comes with the images of time I spent back then, because it reminds me of those memories which would otherwise be forgotten. In those memories of the old times, I used to like songs like that, although that is not important right now.

Then I saw the songs I used to listen to, back in school. It wasn’t always that I liked to listen to music. My music taste started developing in 9th standard. I had just started listening to music, thanks to my ‘super-cool’(read delinquent) class. Computers were installed in every classroom(for studies) and we used to play music on them everyday. It’s a sweet image, really. Back then I was really naive, and a mr goody two shows, always doing the right thing, getting good grades and being a ‘good’ boy. Then I came into this class of people where people did whatever they wanted. They had fun, they broke rules. For me, entering that class caused a baptism of sorts. It made me realize that I had a narrow world view. i realized for the first time that i could reach out and grasp freedom, freedom i didn’t even know I could feel. We all broke rules, we studied, we laughed and we had fun. We grew up. I remember playing catch with computer speakers in classes, playing football in class, book cricket too. Now, a lot of this seems like small things, but back then they were significant to us. It’s like being out in the wind in the back of a car with no roof, wind rushing past, making our hair fly like a flag, attesting to our freedom. That’s the kind of thing I remember. 

And then I thought of this tv series(anime) I happened to watch sometime later. I tried to watch it in a really restrained manner(you see, I didn’t want to finish it too soon and then feel sad). It was a romance anime, set in school time. It was called Kare Kano and was set in a school. The first episode seemed pretty standard to me, but the song at the end caught me unawares. To this day, I still remember the images in the songs, consisting of hallways in a school. For some reason, I remember feeling nostalgic seeing that image. Was I nostalgic about the school? I truly don’t know. I remember the feeling I had when I had decided to start watching this anime. I had attached a lot of importance to watching it for some reason. I had this thought that this will make me remember about school, and more importantly tell me more about love(you see, I had recently caught this bug where I couldn’t stop thinking about a particular girl). So I was really excited about it. I was afraid that I’ll watch those 24 episodes very fast, I decided to put this series on hold. something so beautiful must be savored. The funny thing is that it’s still on hold, 5 years later. Why I never decided to finally watch it, I don’t know. 

Maybe I’m afraid of completing the cycle. If I watch it there’ll be nothing unfinished back from that time, nothing joining my present back to those years of past when I was much younger. By still having the unfinished things from back then, perhaps I can still stay young even today. Also, I’m afraid, that the illusion could break. The magic may be all in my head, but it is there. And it is beautiful, and something that beautiful has to be preserved. So even today, I remember those days when I would sit in my room, watching endless number of tv shows, movies, etc on my laptop and things continued on. I can remember it all crystal clear, as if all life back then is at standstill. Everyone in my house keeps doing their daily things while I would do my own things, in my room. there is a weird camaraderie hidden there. Perhaps, in my head even today I just sit there, doing my own things, growing older without knowing about it. 

Do you see how seemingly random the whole progression of feelings is? From songs I heard in college, to songs I heard in school, to school, to the new home I lived in. The progression is seemingly random. It’s like different ropes hanging out and currently I’m coming down from one of the ropes as it swings forward. Then I see another rope and jump on it, to swing further ahead, and so on. Going through your memories is like a game, a maze without a destination, connecting different places together. You may forget those wisps of memory, but hopefully the maze will stand there, to bring those wisps back if you happen to need them.

Remembering these memories accidentally makes me melancholy, more melancholy than talking about it with a friend on a normal day. On a normal day its just words between friends. On a day like this, it’s more than just words, it’s feelings that rush through the whole being and go away, leaving me emptier than before. At the same time, however, I realize that while I’m being sad about the old feelings, the new memories are being created right now. Like how I feel when I look at a window covered with rain, or how the leaves on road in an autumn day make you feel. It’s surreal, but all this is happening at the same time the old things are going away. But you know, more than anything else, I’m thankful for all the things I’ve experienced and those that I continue to experience, hour by hour, day by day as the clock ticks away…

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