Thursday, November 1, 2012

A day

A day.

Just that. 24 hours.

What makes a day memorable?

How is one set of 24 hours distinguishable from the other?

As I spend my days recouping from a surgery I am pained by the sameness of my days. They blend into one another, marked only by the slight shift in my physical well being. Groggy bye to daughter, waking up at 8, washroom, coffee, newspaper, bye to hubby, newspaper again, a long stretch of reading books and magazines, medicines and meals and meals and medicines till it is finally time for sleep again. End of day 1 and 2 and 3 and 4.....

This bored routine got me thinking about what is it that makes one day different from the other?

Our experiences through the day, the people we meet, our thoughts, feelings and insights through the said experiences can differentiate our days. But why are some days memorable while others are not? Is being present with your heart and soul to every moment of your life the key to relegating them to memory? If a spiritual being is always present to all his experiences every day, is it humanly possible to remember all those moments of every day, 24x7?

So, what are my most memorable days?

Age- nearly 46. Days on earth- roughly 16,790.

Which one of those days has been stored on the hard drive of my memory in its entirety?

Snatches of memorable moments are plenty. Some are revisited through sepia-tinted photographs. Others are stroked and caressed when they pop up aided by a trigger. Like the sight of white and pink periwinkle flowers brought on the smells and sounds of childhood visits to the Bardhan household, meeting ageing 'Mataji', her caretaker Savitri and eating the beautifully molded 'sandesh' offered by them each time.

School and college life, growing-up pangs, birthdays, friendships, the several firsts- first rank in class, first stage performance, first sari draped, first day at college, first crush, first night, first night of motherhood........ Oh God! All of them add up to a chest full of memories. Sweet, dear, irresistibly attractive and magnetic.

But a complete day confined to memory? Now that requires some thinking.

In fact there are two memorable days that skim to the top from the huge cauldron of stored data.

First, the day spent seeing the sights of Central London on foot.

Second, traversing Manhattan.

What really stands out about both these days is that I was visiting the places that I had read and seen in travelogues. There had been a longing to walk the streets, see the sights and feel the pulse of both these cities. Actually being there and setting eyes on those famous landmarks made the experience magical. And visiting them with my husband and children completed the picture for me.

Even after more than a decade I can feel the excitement of walking all the way from London aquarium, across the Thames Bridge, past Big Ben and Westminster Abbey all the way to Harrods. I remember standing for a moment in front of the Abbey to recall scenes from Prince Charles' and Lady Diana's wedding, reading famous addresses on the plaques outside houses on the way and peeping into the lit living rooms to catch a glimpse of the charmed 'English' life as witnessed in various British TV serials. Seeing Harrods from the outside (for we could make it there only after closing hours) and then taking a ride in the famous London cab were the final pegs that attached this day to memory forever. Two recalcitrant, grumpy and tired children included.

The day in Manhattan was similar in nature. Travelling in the century-old New York subway, being at Statue of Liberty, witnessing the World Trade Centre pit, looking wide-eyed at the news stations at Times Square, sitting under the trees of the famous Central Park seen in so many movies, spotting well-known hotels, walking past stores only read about in Vogue and Elle. I recall almost feeling a kind of pressure to take in all the sights and confine them to memory in order to be revisited time and again. Well it worked, didn't it! I even remember how that day began, the breakfast of bagels and jam, the hunt for a vegetarian lunch, the apples bought for a dollar each, the mementoes bought with the awesomely exhilarating feeling of being in the Big Apple. The tremendous capper to the day was a fleeting glimpse of Bill Clinton as he was leaving the store Barnes and Noble where he was reading from his recently released autobiography and where we were only 'being there'.

There is no deeply spiritual reason for these two days having turned out to be so memorable. I think the lead up to both these days has a big part to play. The anticipation of being there in person heightened the senses with which the two places were experienced and hence made the visits unique for me. Or it may be because I have the soul of a traveller. A soul seeking to connect with and attatch to memory all the interesting sights in this beautiful world.


  1. Mudita,

    I was wondering where did you go off to. How are you feeling now? Hope all is well and you will be fit & fine soon. Memories are always stored in mind as per time spent on those happenings. If you can, please do let me know why did you have to go for surgery. My id is in my profile.

    Take care

  2. Hi Mudita, Just came across this blogpost and hope that you have now recovered after your surgery.

    This piece is beautiful and I completely identify with your " soul of a traveller!"

    Hoping to see more blogposts from you soon, cheers!

  3. There I go again, disappear and reappear. Visited my blog after all this while and surprised at my own post. Well written indeed. Had forgotten about writing it in the first place. Ha! So much for my memory. Found a line on remembering... "Remembering is not all the same as not forgetting. It is an acquired skill. To be any good at it you need to pay a lot of attention to remembering".
    Thank you Jack and Sunaina for being such loyal followers.I had an appendectomy and am fine.

  4. Now that you are fine, I hope you will write more often.

    There is nothing peculiar in the present event to make it different from the past and future. For a moment the past was actual and the future will become so. What makes the present so different? Obviously, my presence. I am real for I am always now, in the present, and what is with me now shares in my reality.

    The past is in memory, the future -- in imagination. There is nothing in the present event itself that makes it stand out as real. It may be some simple, periodical occurrence, like the striking of the clock. In spite of our knowing that the successive strokes are identical, the present stroke is quite different from the previous one and the next -- as remembered, or expected.

    A thing focused in the now is with me, for I am ever present; it is my own reality that I impart to the present event.

    Source: I Am That - Talks with Shri Nisargadatta Maharaj

    Note: In advaita, there is only one "I". Forms are many, but the "I" is same in all. Like the one Sun reflecting from a thousand ponds.

    1. Your opening questions took me onto the Vedanta highway: What makes a day memorable? How is one set of 24 hours distinguishable from the other?


    2. Vow, I liked the analogy of the clock. Yes, the present stroke of the clock is unique. And so often we just allow moments to slide away. All those precious presents, gone, just gone.