Saturday, May 15, 2010

Memory Box

I am sure, we all have our lives. We tend to forget what we have done over the years. There sure is some sort of a record of your life. I am not a good record keeper. My wife sure is. Last night, she was putting the papers back into the greenish-grey suitcase. The only suitcase in the house.

The memory box. Full of paper and pictures. Of my half-life.

Rummaging through the bits and pieces, I was able to piece together my past. Not splendid but simple. Most of us lead simple lives. Some of the events of the past make you smile within. I learnt that I used to be a poet once.

I found quite a few more stuff. A certificate from college proudly called me the captain of the winning team in inter-department cricket tournament. That was the only time, I captained a team. We beat the English department that had 9 players representing the college team with three of them playing for the university. It was a victory as great as India's 1983 worldcup victory. A few other certificates told me that I used to be an athlete who played hockey, football, tennis, badminton and a few more games.

All my offer letters were there. I never thought I will ever earn a five digit salary in my life. The first few jobs gave me less than 2k per month. May be, I was destined to be a journalist. I'm not sure. Then there was this picture of my first editor sitting stately in his usual white attire. On March 26, 1998, he gave me the job with a salary of 3k per month. It was too much for someone who was walking to the office and back home smoking beedis. He gave me the break. He gave me the faith.

Then there was a letter by my first publisher written in foolscape paper. After reading a story of mine on snail mail, she actually wrote to me in plain paper after ages. All my short stories published by her was there, except the snail mail story. If not for her, I may not have discovered my writing skills. ``I like the way you write your stories in simple, short sentences,'' she wrote.

Another photograph of two lanky girls hugging each other with a small note that said ``We will miss you like hell'' made me remember the days when i shifted out of the big city to the textile town. Another picture showed me with two of my close friends by the side of vintage cars in front of the first sports club of Madras where Express Avenue stands now. The young, fresh faces did have an idealistic look.

Then there were the travel photographs. The shola forests, grass lands, water falls, tribals, wild elephants, tahrs, langurs, breathtaking landscapes, conquered peaks, fellow trekkers. Those rare unions with the lonely planet inspire me to report on environment and forests. For, we have very little left with us.

Moments of personal fulfilment were aplenty. My marriage invitation with a neolithic painting of a family inside a hut in Lakhajor in the Vindhyas, walks of my daughters through a tree-full garden, her first paintings and my wife's letters to me before she became my wife. Sadly, my first and only letter to my wife was missing. It was one of the finest love letters ever written. She has the letter secret. As I forget my past, always, as a habit, you have to ask her.

Me and my memory box. Get yours, don't forget.

Stories From The Soul Town

There lies a magical land. Surrounded by the green ghats to the west, gurgling great rivers on the east, the valley with the very blue sky. A temple town of the tamils. Sitting on the dancing rock on the highland overlooking the valley, the writer procreates the lives of the people of this lesser known south west. Full of strange yet simple souls.