Sunday, October 19, 2008

Memories and Play Things

It's good to be home. More so if it's Pujo. And more so if you meet old friends. Endless addas. Taking stock of each others lives. Looking back at those days. You know, those were the best days of my life... oh yeah...


After a long time I read some fiction. First it was the Bengali Pujo-specials.

Then I read Norwegian Wood by Murakami. I had one PDF of this novel in my laptop for a long time. Never felt like opening it.

Till last week. And finished it in one sitting. 12 to 5. A.M. Yes. It was worth.

And there is this small piece which struck me.

True, given time enough, I can remember her face. I start joining images...

It takes time, though, for Naoko's face to appear. And as the years have passed, the time has grown longer. The sad truth is that what I could recall in 5 seconds all too soon needed 10, then 30, then a full minute - like shadows lengthening at dusk. Someday, I suppose, the shadows will be swallowed up in darkness. There is no way around it.


I liked the imagery of lengthening shadows and fading memory. And the inevitable darkness which lies ahead. Well, liked is the wrong word. I was saddened by it. Maybe this is what will happen to our memories.

Memories which are sweet and that's why sad. Someday they won't make you smile and cry like today.

But there are another type of memories. Like small wooden splinters.

We had a small storeroom in our backyard (we still have), filled with many uselful and useless things. There were lots of wood-pieces. Flats. planks, plys. I used to play with them. Short wooden planks. Breaks easily. And small wooden splinters (very small, 5-6 mm) used to get stuck inside the skin of my palm. It was a pretty routine affair.

First it pains a lot. Then it subsidies and a dull ache remains.

Until Mom notices and takes it out with a safety-pin.

Time has gone by. We have grown old, and came far. We play with different things. But still things break. And splinters remain. Big and small. Some come out easily. But some remain. Stuck inside. Somewhere deep.


Safety-pins can't reach there.

At first it pains. Aches. Then it reduces. Slowly. You stop noticing it.

You have got used to it now. It's still there. Under your skin. Stuck in the flesh beneath.

Maybe bones.

Now it pains only when you touch it.

And you like the pain.



  1. Ah! Beautiful book it is this Norwegian Wood..See that u are puttin ur vacation to good use....
    U should check out the wind up bird chronicle... If u thought imagery in NW was good this is fantastic...


  2. @Sandeep-san,
    Thanks for your comment.

    It was your blog where I first saw Murakami's name so thanks again.

    Yes, I have "Windup Bird Chronicle" and "Wild Sheep Chase", next in my list and I know the person, who can lend me the books... :)

  3. "Now it pains only when you touch it". Really heartwarming statement.but we still go back & touch to feel the pain.May be there lies the real zest of memory. What I can say it's an asset which we keep in the core of our heart, and we open it to feel the pain or to taste the sweetness, whatever it may be.

  4. @Chandan...

    First of all thanks a lot for your beautiful comment...

    Yes, pain is there and will be there, and we'll revisit it time and again. Whatever we do, however far we go, those days, those moments are a part of you.

    We know nobody will come to the balcony any more, but one small balcony will be kept reserved for that someone... with railings and all... :)


  5. the wooden splinter example is just so true yet so unnoticed...memories ya nw they come wen u hav tym wen u feel is so full n busy...
    those lines really touched me...amazing..
    all my frends @ amarshi married and hav kids..strange..but everytime i go der all the memories fill up my mind and i just want to play and play with them...

  6. @Aritri
    Thanks for the comment.

    Glad you liked the 'wooden-splinter' comparison. I noticed this resemblance long back. Was going through a bad patch.

    And I was having so much difficulty to come out of it. I was trying to forget certain things and then i realised that it's not possible. And the similarity with wooden splinters flashed in my mind...

  7. "First it pains a lot. Then it subsidies and a dull ache remains".So true....with time the aches are reduced....but it is still there somewhere flesh or perhaps bones....and it will be there....always....Avik- Norwegian Woods is perhaps the Best Gift you have given me.....I too keep coming back to it now and then......memories which are sweet perhaps hurts us the most.....!!!!!