I was always told to refrain from eyeing an eagle. There is something unwavering yet so unclear about this memory that it becomes hard to fathom whether it was the given dictum or the one manufactured by self in someone else’s disguise. Flying eagles and the collection of similar memories have always engendered a distance, or some form of an emotional halt, in the continuing processes of my conscience. As I began to read some of Susan Sontag’s works on visuality and memory, I realised some theorisation on memory can be a plausible scope to pierce through some of these peculiarly constructed memories. However, instead of making it a theoretical importation of Sontag’s elemental study, I have endeavoured to strip my experiences bare naked for you to find a parallel, or probably, a template or catena to some long awaited answers.
We remember our memories, perhaps, are represented to ourselves in shades and charades that are beyond the spacio-socio-temporal existence of our being. I have usually remembered scenes from my village, which is a humbled hamlet from a poorly developed State of Bihar, as stories intertwined with conundrums of an urban nuclear family. I remember running as a half naked child but it’s hard to picture any matter around enabling that run. Not even the ground upon which that run must have been occasioned. As I run aimlessly and in unknown directions, I can feel the joy that is reflected by the smile on my face that immodestly conceals one of my mischiefs.
Memories are usually broken pieces of a large boulder, scattered maybe, by waves of time. The reweaving of the tapestry is usually a task we never indulge ourselves into. So, when memories come to me as scattered scenes from what seems to be a larger and much more complex production, I get lost in the meanings each piece carries within itself. Instead of holding on to the fundamentals and piercing through this mystery, I get submerged into the layers of unseen charm of these scattered pieces of memory that behold a queer attraction in their own right. I think I remember one hidden staircase I always used to take while coming back from the general store but I just can’t remember what preceded or followed that choice.
It has never been easy for me to tell other people that I used to talk to trees. The reason that I see behind keeping to myself what might otherwise look like a frivolous juvenile fancy is probably the reality I attach to it. It was not one of those weird childhood habits that I was moulded into by lack of material knowledge. My conversations with trees have been a matter of great revelation for me and probably that’s why I had never trivialised my talks and the memories that they bring in the overtly denaturing adult conversations. As I’ll talk more about these conversations and other shades of memory in my subsequent posts on the similar theme, it’s important for me to explain that memories are not mere floating relics of the past. They evidence the ongoing process of one’s experimentation with truth.