Have I met you before?

What if:

I don’t remember the smell of cooking that sticks to my mother’s saree?

I walk through the street and wonder why my senses are being assaulted by the tiffen centre, flour mill and coffee beans being ground; not realising that it’s the way home?

I cannot recall my grandmother’s toothless smile?

I can’t think of any anecdotes to tell my brother about the time we were chubby children?

I go an entire day without thinking of a loved one?

I forget to laugh because I was too busy frowning?

What are we without our memories?

Recently, my grandmother gave us all a fright, simply because she was forgetting things faster than you could say forget. She didn’t remember what she had for dinner – she confidently claimed it was one thing while it was in fact another. She said things which were rude or funny or both, and then challenged us with the task of having to prove she actually said those very things. Her speech became more laboured and jumbled, she mixed up names and dates, and she couldn’t rapidly recite telephone numbers (once her favourite hobby) the way she used to – after having dialled them just one time.

She seemed to express a desire to go back to her youth, to a time when she got an offer to work at a bank, and when she learnt dance along with her sisters. She showed us some mudras even. And gave us a speech on banking procedures. We were torn between amusement and fear. Who is this child-woman?

It was easier for her to remember things which happened a long time ago, much before I was born; rather than what transpired yesterday. But then I thought: maybe that’s good too. This way, being the eldest of her children’s children, I will be the last grandchild she forgets. 🙂

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