My younger sister, an artist, presented my two children with two biggish wooden boxes in their infancy. The boxes are covered with hand painted motifs and are something we all will cherish in the years to come. We call them our “Memory Boxes”. Inspired by the boxes for the children even I got one made for myself. In these boxes rest a motley collection of paraphernalia which make sense only to the respective owner. The name, Memory Box, denotes exactly that. Where we store our memories.
A lock of baby hair, first pair of tiny footwear, first band-aid, first tooth, second tooth, third tooth, so on and so forth. Prints of baby hands and feet. Pre school certificates. As you can gather these are contents of my children’s boxes. And as years have gone by they keep adding things which they value.
My box is of the more grown up variety. Letters and cards given by close friends and family right since high school days. Small trinkets which have only sentimental value, each carrying a tale.And oh yes, hoards of boarding passes, entrance tickets to various monuments and tourist attractions, bus tickets and train tickets. If someone probably peeks into my box they will see this bag full of bits of paper. But those little chits transport me back immediately to that day and place as if I am there at that moment. And somewhere along the past few years the children have also picked up this habit. So now they have tickets stubs from their trip to the Sherlock Holmes Museum and a coaster from a favourite restaurant to add to their memory.
Of course here I am talking about the physical evidence of small and big experiences. But when I do sit with this box , I often visualize our brains. And the memory department. Made up of so many many slots. Where we store each and every memory of each and every experience we have had. I always believe that we don’t forget anything , we only can’t recollect everything all the time. But each and every memory has a trigger. A smell, a voice, a song, a tune, a gesture, a sigh. And suddenly a memory comes rushing in. It’s as if every box where a memory is stored has a tiny lock and each has a different key.
As I sit and jot this down, I can hear the insistent calling of the cuckoo. And though its been years since I have appeared for any exams , I always associate the cuckoo’s call with exam time as this is the time of the year when schools conduct their final semester assessments. So you see, the poor cuckoo doesn’t hold a good memory link for many of us 🙂 .