I grew up in the then hill station-like city of Pune in Maharashtra, India. For almost a decade, as I grew and discovered several phases of my life, my parents did not. They were in fact stagnating. There’s only so much a place can offer you and most of it ends the minute you find yourself becoming comfortable. Of course, this learning is more retrospective in nature and not very practical.
Circumstances cornered us until we had no option but to leave the house that was filled with pen marks on colourful walls and wardrobes that we complained about endlessly but cherished anyway. It was the first apartment my parents had bought from their hard-earned money; a trophy for their efforts and struggle. So leaving it behind for some strange family of seven that liked to live a cramped life with excess of stuff was a little more harder than they imagined. But nobody can win in the race against Life. So they moved in the year I gave my tenth standard board exams to the city of dreams: Mumbai/Bombay.
A girl can’t sum up 10 years of her life, but she can a few. And that’s exactly what I did. I journal-ed my life from class 7th to class 10th. Religiously. By which I mean coming home everyday and writing for half an hour. I have jotted down irrelevant details, sometimes writing more than once in the same day. I stuck photographs of my friends and dry leaves and love letters and random film tickets. I still don’t know what kept me so motivated because I can’t do that anymore.
You’d think that writing about everyday life would invariably result in vivid memories of the same. That if I can process things enough to pen them down, I can also keep a track of them just as stories, if not as lessons of impact. But, surprise surprise: after leaving the place I grew up in, I blocked out all the memories of my childhood as well. Almost like I accidentally brainwashed myself?? Today when I speak to my friends from school, I do not remember anything except for where I lived, which school I went to and who my friends were. The rest of it always comes to me as fictional stories that people say I was a part of.
Of course, I don’t necessarily have to remember what others do as different incidents impact everyone differently. But I don’t have any stories of my own to tell except the one time we drank a sip of alcohol and were so psyched about doing something illegal while in school premises, that we started jumping around, and accidentally pushed the washroom cubicle door too hard and broke it. (We openly pretended to have been “drunk in school” because that was a much a cooler story to tell.)
Before you ask yourself–no, I didn’t have anything bad or upsetting happen to me in Pune. My life has largely been privileged, happy and full of self-doubt.
It still baffles me (and my friends): this mysterious case of memories but I think what irks me more, now that I am in my final year of college, is whether or not this is a phenomenon likely to occur again once I leave this university life and move on to bigger things. Will I forget every minute of these three years? Should I be making an attempt to write them down? AM I IN ANY KIND OF DENIAL THAT MIGHT SHOW UP IN UGLY WAYS LATER ON IN LIFE?
The questions are endless.