Sunday, October 13, 2013

Memories

When I was young there was a rule of 'no pocket money' at our home. If we needed things we asked for it and it was provided. The only money we got were during our birthdays. Usually a 100 rupees note from dad and a 50 rupees note from mom, which was diligently hidden in old textbooks. Other than that the only time we got money was when our grandparents visited us. They too refrain from giving us more than 100 or 200 for the fear of being glared at by my dad.

After few occasions of my brother finding out where I have hidden my money and how much I have accumulated, I changed the place where I hid my money to a huge pingani or porcelain jar which my mom never used. Also it was placed on a shelf which was difficult for my brother to access.

One day I opened the jar to drop some coins into it which I had collected. You know, the ones that had the impressions of leaders or those of some events. That kind of coins. To my astonishment a 50 rupees note was missing. I pulled all the notes out and checked them again. It wasn't there. I stormed out of the kitchen and started crying out my brother's name. He didn't respond. And after sometime he came jumping around cheerfully and asked me, "What.??"

"Did you take my money.??", I shouted.

"What money.??", he asked.

"Don't play with me. Did you take the money.? Give it back to me now". I shouted again.

"I don't know anything. I don't even know where you keep it".

And even before he finished his sentence I placed a slap on his cheek so hard that my hand hurt. He immediately fell down. He looked at me with shock holding his cheek while tears rolled down his cheeks.

"Give me my money back", I said tears welled up in my eyes and choking on my words.

And by this time our paternal grandmother came running.

"What's happening.? Why are you two fighting.?", she asked.

"He beat me", my brother told her while sobbing.

"He took my money. Tell him to give it back", I said while sobbing.

"I only took it. I needed some money so I asked thambi(younger brother) if he had any. He said he didn't have but knew where you had kept yours. Since you weren't there I asked him to bring it. And I thought I will later kept it back. Don't worry, when appa comes I will give it back to you.", she said.

"I don't want any other money. I want my money. That exact same 50 rupees note. It was the last money Jogulu thatha(grandfather) gave me.", I said and broke down.

Jogulu thatha was my maternal grandfather. That 50 rupees note was the last money I got from him when he visited us for the last time. After that he passed away.

"I'm sorry. I didn't know it. Or else I wouldn't have taken it.", she said in a very apologetic tone.

"It's ok. Tell me which shop or to whom you had given the money. I will go and get it back.", I said.

Yes, I knew the serial number of that note. :-)

"I put it with some other money I had and gave it to xyz uncle to be given as wedding gift for abc thatha's son's wedding. Xyz uncle has already left for Tamil Nadu.", she said.

I was inconsolable for the next one week.
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I got my bicycle when I was in 8th standard. Before that whenever I asked for one, I was answered with a stern no. Always citing my height(I was around 5' 2'' then) and the lack of necessity for me to own a bicycle. And after lot of coaxing and some skipped meals, they bought me one at-last. A blue Hercules AXN. Then, it was the happiest day of my life. I wished the road from the showroom to our home never ended.

But it was bought only after we came to an agreement, me and my parents. That I was to take the bicycle out only when I went for the morning tuition. And if at all I wanted to take the bicycle out any place else I had to tell them where I was going and they would decide if it was safe to go to that place on a bicycle. And we agreed. Yeah I know my parents were a paranoid lot. And it wasn't till 10th standard I was allowed to take the bicycle to school.

After 10th the usage was fairly under my control, although I still had to take permission when I had to go to some place for which I had to cross a road that was more than 30ft wide. And once I got into 2nd PU it was a cycling heaven for me. I used go to a morning tuition which was 3kms away and an evening tuition which was 5kms away. I was riding 16kms per day. No wonder I was 63kgs at 5' 11" at the end of 2nd PU. :P My bicycle had become such an integral part of my life that I thought I can never survive without it. I used to clean it almost daily and wash it and grease it every month. It looked as new as it did when it was bought, even after 4yrs(Ok, this may be a little exaggerated). And then engineering happened. I came to Bangalore. I contemplated about bringing my bicycle here. But soon stopped thinking about it. First semester holidays were spent happily riding my old companion. Second semester went the same way. Third semester came and thus the first motorcycle. Still the bicycle wasn't ignored and the motorcycle was used only when the distance was longer. And then slowly the motorcycle was favored more than the bicycle. And by the end of the engineering, the bicycle was totally forgotten.

One day when I was in Delhi for training in my first company my parents asked me if they can sell the bicycle. That the kid in the opposite house wanted a bicycle and his parents asked my parents if they would sell it. I suddenly snapped.

"Why do you want to sell it. How much money are you going to get out of it. When I come back to Bangalore I will take it with me.", I told them clearly.

"It's not about the money. We thought at least someone could use it. It's lying in the store room getting rusted. Fine with us if you are going to use it.", they said.

The thought of selling the bicycle was so difficult to digest for me. It was like giving away a part of me to someone else to mess around with. There are so many memories that are connected to it. It was unfathomable for me to even think about giving it to someone else.

And last month when I went home I saw it in the store room. Put on its side stand, it stood there. Dust collected all over it. Even though my dad took it out and water washed it and put it back in the store room now and then. There is only so much that could be done. Bits and pieces of paint peeling off here and there, both the tires were flat, most parts have started to rust, the pedal was screeching when I tried to swing it. The chain won't even budge. And then my dad saw me looking at it.

"Still planning to take it with you.??", he asked.

"Sell it if someone asks for it.", I said.

"Are you sure.?", he said, questioningly.

"Yes", I replied.

"It may not fetch you much", he said.

"That's ok. Give it to someone who will love it.", I said.
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You know, when I think about these two incidents I realise how much we suck for things. We try to hold on to things so badly that we are ready to hurt others for it. We want to keep them with us so badly that we will let it rust rather than let anyone else use it. I hit my brother for that 50 rupees note, made my grandmother feel guilty. But in the end what happened.? Nothing. How long would I have held on to it if I had not lost it.? I don't know. But did losing it change the way I feel about my grandfather.? Did it make me miss him less.? No. Every single memory of him still remained the same.

And so will all the memories of my bicycle. Holding on to it any longer would only give me memories of it being in a depleted state. Giving it away will not take away any of the memories associated with it. The scars on my knees are not going away and so are the beautiful memories. If anything at all, it may give more such beautiful memories to some other kid, who may take care of it better than I do now.

We are going to lose things, some might get stolen, some will just get rusted and reduce to nothing and some others may be ignored and forgotten with time. But memories, they are going to remain with us till our last breath, unless we get Alzheimer's when we get old and forget everything. That would suck. Yes, some things are special. They are associated with some specific memories, thereby amplifying them. They may not be replaceable. But in the end they are just things. Petty little things like everything else in the world. They can never replace the memories. And definitely not worth fighting for, which would result in bad memories. As we age, the only thing we all are sure to accumulate are memories. Let us make an effort to make them fond ones.

P.S: I do not know exactly what triggered me to write this. But when I read it after finishing writing, I was like, what the hell have I written. This is so emotional that it's so unlike me. Anyhow I'm publishing it as it took me 2hrs to write this. And it is not going to go waste. This is one of the longest posts I have written.

P.P.S: Also one other thing that I observed is the number of times I have used the word 'memories'. If you play a drinking game where you drink a round every time you read the word 'memories', I'm pretty sure you would be lying face down before you finish reading the post. :D

6 comments:

  1. This is a very beautiful post. I can relate to everything you said and would have personally reacted the same way!

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    1. Thank you. Glad that I have company. :-)

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  2. I am glad you posted this. I was emotionally drained by the end of this post. I could relate a lot. I am very non-materialistic. I don't get attached to material things but, things like this.. I just couldn't let go. You sounded like my younger sister in the first story.. haha .. She would totally hit me too. I missed my grandfather after reading that. May he RIP.
    I got my first bicycle in 8th grade too. And I got the exact same call from my dad when I was in a different city in college, if he could give that cycle to the son of the man, who was working under my dad. I couldn't deny because my dad wasn't selling it. He was giving it so that the poor boy didn't have to walk a lot. But, yes, it was like cutting of a part of my life. You are right though, memories could never be stolen or lost of borrowed. They'll be there forever.

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    1. That's such a beautiful comment. It's like my entire post was put in a nutshell. Thanks for reading and for the comment. :-)

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  3. I read this in a very apt time. I am going thru one such feeling right now. I might probably write abt it. I hate u for making me sad right nw.
    And u really knew the serial number of the note? Hahahahahah...wel I am a spender and if I get 50rs...I will spend 100rs. So opposite to what a virgo is supposed to be.
    My first bike was a BSA champ. It was a gift from my Appuppan i.e moms dad....I was so attached to it that I forced my parents not to sell it to buy a new cycle for my little brother. I wanted to watch him ride it. Same about my old.sweaters, hand knitted by granny. I still keep it in my almirah. Also my blanket when I was 2yrs old. I am stupid like tht.

    One of the most genuine post I read so far. For some reason, I am still stuck to the old notion abt blogs being personal. So I loved this post.

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    1. Red, happy that you loved the post. Thank you. I'm quite surprised people could relate to this post and have had similar experiences and memories. Good to know. :-)

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