When I was 5, my parents had the most amazing house out of all the houses we lived in through my childhood in a small town. My memory of those times is a collection of striking colours and beautiful hues. I used to love this green big garden with lots of flowers and trees. In the porch, there were 2 white swings made of cane where most of my photographic memories are from. My mom used to love flowers and made sure there were hundred of rust coloured pots with unique and colourful little beings poking out to say hello every now and then. The flowers, the blue Persian carpet, the gold in the artefacts, the brown of the woods, greens of the jackfruit tree and the white of my father’s Fiat with its shiny silver adornments. There were also the black doors with yellow squares on them, red mosaic tiles and the rust eating them from the corners and the colourful marble chips honed on the bathroom floors. A big milk-white bathtub with a pink shower curtain and a street puppy with a big black nose in it!
But these were just the broad strokes that contained a treasure chest of my most valued memories. Memories with real, lasting and moving colors. Abstract and distinctive at the same time. Praying with my mom every night and getting up to a song whispered in my ears by her. Watching dad sign checks and hosting parties. Packing for my school bag and thinking about the next sand castle to destroy at school. Seeing mom cry when she lost her father and not understanding the loss. Getting a magical head massage by my uncle, which, I was promised, would make me grow the tallest amongst cousins. (It somehow worked) Speaking to a tree about why it never gets bored standing at the same place and loving the rides to the nearby community club to watch Hollywood movies. Walking across the road to a friend’s place to watch TV and being dragged by the ears back at night.
I remember how soft my mom’s clothes always were and how beautiful she smelt. I remember my dad’s moustaches poking me every time he kissed me and not knowing how to tell him to stop. The unwanted guest sleeping in my room one not-so-fine morning and the rude host that I was to him. Holding my months-old baby brother from his neck and taking him for a joyride. Hanging on to a huge jackfruit on the tree with my cousin and bringing it down by spinning around with it. Being tied in chains by my grandfather and finding a way to break free from them. Furtively eating a million cookies out of a red and white box and filling it up with empty wrappers, hoping mom won’t notice.
There are not many recollections from those times that are left in a mind that has been filled with newer memories, some bitter and some sweet. Newer experiences and opinions. Biases and judgements. Pride and regret. Memories aided, and somehow belittled, by instant selfies and omnipresent pictures. And yet those beautiful photographic blurs in my mind are the ones that remain the purest, the most vivid and the most formative moments of my life.
And here is what I think I am trying to tell you with this catharsis. You owe it to yourself and who you are to cherish and remember your childhood memories. Keep going back to them and derive a sense of companionship from them. Because no matter where you go and who you become, these memories, like your first kiss, will always be the most special ones. The ones that will eventually define us.
Are you still here?