Hyperlinking memories


My daughter is on a cleaning spree. She declutters, files, staples, sorts, reorganizes and decorates her room. Later, she invites all of us to take a look. We cheer her and tell her that the room is unrecognizable.

My daughter then says, ‘Amma, look at what I found’. It is a small card that my Dad had attached to one of his letters to me, when I was in college. The card was a handwritten one, wishing me luck for my final exams before graduation. I had gifted it to my daughter a few years ago, when she took her board exams for the first time.

We smile when we read the small verse my Dad has composed. One of the lines reads “As you appear for your exams, may your memory remain as fresh as the jasmine flowers that grow in our garden.”

I remember how happy and comforted I felt when I received the card. Seeing my Dad’s writing, and his loving words, had reassured me. As I turn the card to study the small sketch my Dad had included on the card, lots of memories come rushing in.

Memories are everywhere, and they appear the moment you recall even something simple from the past. These will then bring with them other allied memories, which in turn come with their own hyperlinks. And the moment one is in the happy throes of a past memory, all one needs to do is to mentally press the hyperlinks, and then recall the simple times, the silly times, the times with Dad, the fun time with friends, the not so good times and the times that can never come back.

And that is the beauty of a memory. It can sneak-in when you least expect it – lurking in the fragrance of a small flower or in the smile of a complete stranger, entwined in a melody that the wind carries or ensconced in the creamy layers of a yummy cake, woven into the complex patterns of a dress or in the scrawly scratches of a handwritten note.

I close my eyes. I am back in my childhood home. Time stands still in the present, as I walk down the alleys of the past, inhaling deeply the fragrant memories of my childhood.