One of those early nights after a long and seemingly tiring day, when still trying to work through elaborate mathematics in the notes I carried to the bed, more often than not, my mind finds all possible excuses to wander away. All of a sudden, as if a dam had cracked, a deluge of memories flooded inside my head — leaving vivid imagery, distinct smells and weird sensations — all refreshed into my being. And I say to myself — Yes, we can travel through time.
This time, I was transported back to the house I lived in for more than five years, more than a decade ago in Bangalore. Most of my teenage years were spent here; from my high school to the pre-university years. I was startled at the details that were flashing in front of my eyes. Exact location of several mundane items, along with the feeling of their texture were being simulated in me. I could feel the grip of ‘my’ glass that I used for several years to drink water, the bump on the floor in the kitchen pushed through my heel and the humid air wrapping around me. It was so vivid that I could sketch a top view of the house to a great detail. And I did!
It felt good. As if I was reaching out to a piece of me that was no longer in me. These were the formative years, and this abode of mine helped in forming me.
When I tried to trace back why I ended up with this particular stream of memories (learnt it from Freud), I discovered a couple of reasons that possibly could have led to this outburst.
Firstly, I have been positioning the privileged (at least economically and with opportunities) present self in the context of the rest of my unprivileged life. A gnawing feeling has been swelling in me for a while now, questioning if I have grown complacent (more about this in a separate rant). There was also another incident recently, when I was offering two acquaintances the possibility of staying at my 20 sq.m studio apartment in Copenhagen for a night or two. Another friend of mine, was quick to remark that it wouldn’t be possible, as he had seen my small place which was designed for only two. I did not respond then, but subconsciously maybe I was amused at that claim. The house that rushed into my head from my teenage years, even with my most generous estimates would not have been more than 15 sq.m and I grew up in that space with my parents and my sister. We easily lived there for more than five years. I then did not think it was a hard thing, because we had moved from a smaller place into that. And I never thought of it as a small place, until we moved to a marginally bigger place. Comfort and aspirations are relative, it seems.
Finally, the trigger for this sudden revisiting of that home of mine must have been the sleepy take on math-ridden literature in my bed, which was a common occurrence during those school days, when the diligent me would carry notes to my mattress on the ground.
I now don’t know what I set out to accomplish with this post. Maybe I just wanted to capture this feeling. And I might have captured a glimpse of it.