I think we’ve lost our link with our past.
I think we’re subconsciously made uncomfortable by the unfamiliarity of everything around us, and that has been stressing us out.
See, most of us old enough to be reading and comprehending this grew up in a very different time. I don’t just mean this in the sense that we weren’t burdened with responsibility then, but also that we lived in a very physically different time. Most of what we were and had as kids is preserved in memory or is lost. Due to our carelessness, what physically remains of our memory may no longer conform with the fading, hazy images in our heads. The link is lost, we’re now spiders on Mars. We’re out there in this alien world with no friend or anchor, and there’s a storm headed our way.
When we were kids, we’d think of piling leaves that fell during the storm, and then jump in them.
We’d think of making snowmen and snow-angels in the remnants of the snowstorm.
Now, we’re thinking of the hours we’re losing, of safety (naturally) and of how we’re gonna lose WiFi signals in the storm.
We’ve completely forgotten about what the kid would say, and there’s no one – no physical link – to remind us.
How lonesome must it be to be born an adult. How sad must it be to only recall high school education and life lessons, a few blurred faces, a few painful memories that can’t be forgotten, only because it’s so easy for the good to slip away?
When people generalise and say that schooldays are the best of ones life, but on trying to recall can only see the blood dripping down their nose, wiped on their hands from a run-in with the school bully, where did the peaceful days go?
(For some people though, these memories of being knocked around too, are a part of their peaceful blissful childhood. Don’t ask me. It’s all in comparison, I suppose!)
Often our scars find ways to manifest themselves in our lives. That ugly patch on your knee from when you fell off the bike that taught you to stand up again, that you always remember, that reflects even today in your corporate leadership. All those lessons that made us what we are today.
In between those lazy, slow shutter shots, the good was but a ghost wash, 0.1 seconds of your 6 second shot: but a minute frame.
With no one to remind us who we were, we truly born hardened— for where does the past exist but in the memory’s eye?
Manuscripts read in the present are not the past. History read today is something that has only begun existing for me in the last 24 hours – no matter that I have wandered the very lanes I read about, for it was a different time and hence a different place then.
We can only paint the walls of life with experience, and memory is all that can fill our brushes.
But when the winter freezes your paint pots and makes the paint inaccessible, you are back out there in the cold, with no warmth of remembrance to light your fire. Your hearth’s turned to stone, and you now begin your new stone cold, heavy, yet empty life, because the flesh was hollowed out and you can’t remember what it even was.
Eventually, you grow used to your new life and forget about feeling hollow, but something remains, a small, nagging voice of the back of your head – and even not knowing what it is, it invariably stresses you out.
Many a time we want to give in to that voice – we begin the hunt, but we are wandering aimlessly because we don’t know what we’re looking for. We can’t remember, actually. Often, we can’t even come to terms with that. The void grows larger and blacker.
We then tried to fill this void with “success”, and what we call our “drive” we often can’t pinpoint the source for, when what we’re really looking for all along is the cause, the thing that ripped open the void in the first place, the missing link that began the vicious cycle.
Some of us have been able to pause and identify our situation, I dilemma – there is something missing, that we are searching for.
We hold onto that so tight, build it up for such a crescendo, hold it so high, but we are prone to miss it. We may dismiss it.
We fail to realise that it is really such a small thing – we can get hands on it, don’t you gape in disbelief.
We fail to realise that what we are searching for all our lives is not a high unachievable ideal. It’s so small, it is in our grasp.
It’s the little link we’re searching for, the physical reminders, any reminders of the days of old when it was easier.
It’s hard when half our links have been destroyed – by us, no less – and the others are locked in trunks and attics, out of sight, out of mind, or do not resemble our memories anymore.
With a digital variant replacing all we had as kids, we are truly surrounded by a cold, bright, harsh, blue-lit world, and we don’t remember who we are.
I found an old Hotwheelz helicopter a couple of months ago (when I had meant to write this post, but procrastination kept winning), and an old miniature pack of cards I’d had as a kid, under a pile of mess.
(The mess? Completely normal.)
I swear. I was enraptured.
I’d seen the helicopter around a dew times before (I’d never had the heart to get rid of it because it was a favourite of mine), but just seeing it wasn’t exactly a trigger.
I realised memories are not so much about watching a movie in your head.
I picked up the chopper and ran its wheels over the floor, turned its blades some, listened for that spinning wheels sound.
Now I was really there.
I wasn’t watching my kid self play nor did I “see” our old house or whatnot— but for fifteen minutes, I was little me again, new time, new place, but I had the old attitude again, and for a while, I lost my responsibilities.
(Yes, you’ve guessed right if you did— it was before a test!)
I can’t say I was better connected with my past self or anything like that, nor did I have a sudden ‘Eureka!’ where this blissful experience would help me ace chemistry no sweat, nor make up for my then-large sleep deficit.
(I had days when I was crashing in the corridors. I may elaborate on it later.) But it was something to think about, somewhere to hide, for ten minutes, maybe the breather I needed, we all need, to regroup and soldier on.
What do you say, is it our own private T.A.R.D.I.S., our last link with the lost world?
(P.S. I know what this looks like, but I did not just spend six pages (my drafts are mostly physical) secretly advocating for hoarders or messy rooms. Nor does this change the fact that my messy room, and mum, will catch up to me someday. Sigh.)