I realize, life is nothing but a series of memories. Every moment that passes becomes a small fragment of my mind in the form of a memory. It’s up to me whether I choose happy memories or the painful ones. Do I slip in to reminiscence with a gentle smile or a scorn? What he said, what she said, what he did, what she did, will all result in nothing but a memory in my head – so which ones are worth keeping… which not worth processing? As I became conscious of this thought, I realized, somewhere unconsciously I was picking and choosing all the right memories and therefore life is as beautiful, as abundant as it is right now. The negative memories must be lurking in corners – but I consciously choose not to think of them whereas the happy ones I play time and again, making them stronger.
I had a quarrel with my best friend. We both said quite a few nasty things to each other. We raked the past, we scorned the present and questioned the future. However, in the end of it all, it ended with both of us weeping, realizing, how much we mean to each other. There were I love you’s and I care for you’s. There were hugs and holding of hands. With a new day, with a new understanding – what played an important role was our old memory. We remembered not the hurt but the healing power of love, we kept in mind the adoration not the abhorrence, we memorized the gentle words and not the stream of insults and that’s why we are closer than we ever were. Memory… just a memory. Yet, which I choose to dwell over, which I choose to lose, makes all the difference.
“You will never be good at English”, said my teacher ten years ago. Although her words were meant to hurt, in my memory, I only remember a little girl in a blue uniform looking back with raised eyebrows. I had said nothing. But even then, I remember thinking, “No teacher, I will learn English. I will.” Even in memory there was no sense of humiliation or failure. Indignation, yes. A chance to prove myself, perhaps. But no sense of failure. Recently, after having finished a book called Thank You, Cancer and being praised for it in Times of India, the same teacher wrote me an email saying, “I am privileged to have known you.” Probably none of it had been possible if somehow my mind had not chosen to keep the memory of this moment as a challenge rather than a hopelessness one.
That’s the beauty with memory – of an entire instance, of an entire conversation; I can choose to keep alive only that which I want to. So when someone once told me, “You are pretty ugly”, I conveniently, in my memory keep alive only the first three words of the sentence. Today truly looks does not seem to be an issue in my life and I walk about with my head held high, believing I am God’s beautiful creation. What could have broken me, created me. Memories which could have shaken me, awakened me, as I chose to keep only those alive which helped me feel good, made me happier.
What you say to me is not in my control. What life brings to me is not in my control. What will happen in the very next moment is not in my control. But as I sleep, what memories I choose to keep in safe possession, what memories I choose to ignore and thereby discard remains in my, and only my control. I have made insults in to compliments, failures in to challenges, fights in to yet another chance to renew a friendship, ill health in to an important rest and pampering period, moments of humiliation in to humour in my memory. So when I look back, there actually seems so much of joy, so much of excitement and growth, that I get excited about what tomorrow will bring.