Posts Tagged ‘memory’

When I walked out of the bathroom, she was still singing the same tune. She had been singing it on and off for the past several days. The song was now stuck in my head. I loved the song and loved her singing it.

A thought struck me.

“You know what, I just realized something.”


“I have started subconsciously associating this song with you. I think that whenever I hear it again, I am going to remember you. It could be someone else singing it, it could be years in the future — I don’t think I can ever hear it without thinking of you.”

“Well, that’s nice.”

She smiled beautifully as I shook my head in only half-mock desperation. There was a long kiss.

She slapped my butt playfully. Her lips pursed. “Off you go,” she said.

I walked out of her apartment and made my way back to mine. Somewhere in the middle, I stopped momentarily to let the song play clearly in my head and felt the association stronger than ever. It was a weird sensation; painfully pleasurable with notes of utter beauty and tragic sadness. But then, I am sure I have been through this with other people before.

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As I was watching the opera today, it struck me that there were some remarkable similarities between the character of Carmen and a person I loved a long time ago.

I was thinking of this just now and suddenly remembered that her cellphone ring tone used to be the March of the Toreador. She really liked the ring tone and googled it up one day to see its origin. And that is how both of us heard of Bizet and Carmen for the very first time.

Update: While searching on Youtube, I discovered this very cute video:

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Many years ago, my then girlfriend showed me a website dedicated to “positive music”.

Positive music, the website said, was music without harsh, discordant sounds. It wasn’t the kind of music that arouses negative emotions. It wasn’t music to disturb or change the world. It wasn’t rap, hip-hop, hard rock or grunge. It wasn’t heavy metal. It was music for warmth, for calm and serenity, for happiness and harmony.

As far as I remember, the classification was based on the musical quality of the sounds alone. The lyrics were incidental. They even had short audio files to illustrate what kind of sounds count as positive and what don’t.

It was an interesting site and I enjoyed it. I don’t know why I remembered it a short while ago.

I tried to find it with a google search.

What I found was this site, ostensibly of the “Positive Music Association”, and full of words like these:

The PMA is about seeing music not only as entertainment but as a means of creating positive change in the world. People drawn to Positive Music often are interested in subjects like personal development and empowerment, social transformation and peace, and in creating healthy and sustainable environments, relationships and communities. We encourage artistic integrity and social responsibility.

Positive Music is not: love songs, because they do not necessarily inspire action or change; religious since they are not inclusive of all human beings, just those who prescribe to that particular religion; simply happy songs unless they inspire appreciation or action; or anti-songs (e.g. anti-war, anti-drug) unless they focus on solutions.

Somewhere in these six years, the music went out of it. Or more likely, I just didn’t find the correct site.

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It can’t be the coffee.

I was really trying to sleep — lying down, waiting for thoughts to leave me in the same way they do every night, but they simply refused to. This has happened in the past when I have drunk a cup of coffee too late in the day. But why today? I am fairly certain that a small cup almost twelve hours ago cannot be responsible for my thoughts veering, suddenly and completely unexpectedly, to her. Not her — who took me so much longer to get over — but her. (Not that the distinction is very important, for I almost never think of any of them these days anymore. I did somewhat more frequently about three years ago, and this old email must have been the result of such a sentimental moment. But these days — perhaps once every couple of months.) The only explanation I can imagine for this unexpected occurence today is that Rat’s presence may have struck some forgotten corner of my subconscious memory.

So I lay down and thought of random things. A little bit of Bangalore, a little bit of Agumbe. And you know how memories are. Some disappear some amalgamate in a free flowing manner without commas or discipline.  We were lying naked together, utterly contented in the moment. Boating and Aromas of China. Many smiles some tears.

Many of my memories about her are concentrated in those last three or four days which contained some of the most beautiful moments of my undergrad years. Strange how it all just ends. I don’t remember if I told her how much I enjoyed those few days. If she is reading this, she would know of course.

But as I said, I rarely — almost never — think of her anymore. Or her, for that matter, or even her. And those rare occasions when I do are surprisingly correlated with late hours like these when I should be sleeping. Instead, here I am typing things of little interest to my readers and which I will probably think of as embarassing or unnecessary the next morning.

Time to make another attempt at sleep. Even if I can’t, I’ll resist posting any more poorly written, rambling descriptions of times I spent many years ago with ex-girlfriends who I am no longer in touch with.

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A poignant photo-essay by Phillip Toledano about his elderly father who lacks any short-term memory.

(Hat tip: Boing Boing)

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“A sentimental person thinks things will last, a romantic person hopes against hope that they won’t.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald

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We look before and after,
   And pine for what is not;
 Our sincerest laughter
   With some pain is fraught;
 Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought

Percy Bysshe Shelley.


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