May 22, 2010

A Trip Down Nostalgia Lane

Last weekend our family made a trip to Mysore; in fact we made it an extended weekend to give ourselves more time to meet the people and places that we frequented often during our two year stay at Mysore between 2001 and 2002.

Mysore is a place that I was drawn to, when I was a student in Bangalore in the late 1990s. The same charm that the place exuded on the noted novelist RK Narayan worked on me too! Several trips and treks to areas around Mysore later, I decided to move there when my organization started a new centre. A couple of years later my nomadic job took me to several other places abroad. When I decided to return back, I came back to my home state for various reasons.

So, last week we went to the famous palace a couple of times, the hotels on Harsha street, Kalidasa Road, the temples in Vontikoppal, the zoo, the lakes (Karanaji, Kukkarahalli) etc. The city has also changed a bit in the last eight years. Nothing ever remains the same! For one there is more traffic and many more traffic stoplights than before. So in many ways our trip was a nice refresh of the good old memories.

Memories are like soft wispy clouds and wandering in them makes one feel good. Human memory is usually selective: it easily forgets the bad things of the past and retains the sweet ones. And then there are layers upon layers of such memories. Having grown up in many cities and visited several places I seem to carry a pretty large stock of these creamy layers!

Jiddu Krishnamurthy used to say that memory creates attachments; being wedded to the memory of the past is to lose the ability to observe and experience the present. That is surely true, as long as one is aware of the line between wallowing in old memories, to relishing them once in a while! Nostalgia with awareness would acceptable to even JK.