Sometimes our weaknesses help us.
For example, I do not have very strong memory. It was always difficult for me to write essays of the type ‘Your most memorable day’ during my school days. One reason is I get engrossed in present. Second is my habit of writing. For about last thirty years I am writing my personal diary – sometimes regularly and many times not so regularly. Once I note down feeling on paper – may be of joy or of sorrow – I conveniently forget it. It is like once I have expressed it, shared it, it has no business to appear in my life again.
Of course, there is a risk of reading the diary again and re-living the whole episode, never forgetting pain and suffering. But it does not happen with me.
I was a full time activist for more than 12 years. I had no private space during all those years. I was always in the midst of people, never was alone. That was the nature of my work – it was a public life where there was no place for things ‘private’. I was accountable to the organization for 24X365. Before that I was staying in a hostel for about six years – you know how peers get irritated if someone tries to act differently!
I had this habit of maintaining personal diary – there was always a possibility that someone else might read it. So, I started writing diary in a sort of code language. I assigned different names to persons, places, events ….. The idea was that if anyone else reads it, s/he will not be able to identify the persons, places and events. It worked well for more than two decades. It became such a habit that even after having my home and nobody without my invitation entering into it (thieves are the exception), I still maintain my diary without naming people, places and events.
Funny part is if I read the same piece couple of years afterwards, I hardly remember anything. I have to think ‘Who might be this?’ ‘What must have happened that time?’ ‘What was there to be so sad about it?’ and so on. I have to take efforts to recall things and many times I fail to recall the event. Just an hour ago, I browsed my 2006 diary and was amused at not being able to relate to anything. It was as if I was reading someone else’s diary – which I am not supposed to read.
When this realization dawned upon me, a great thing happened. I am rather a sensitive person – (I know, many of you would like to label me ‘hypersensitive’ – but that is your way of interpreting my behavior!) - so there are more chances of my getting hurt. Earlier I used to think about such people and events for a long time. But ten years ago, in the midst of a great turmoil, I asked myself, ‘Will you really remember it after say five years?’ My honest answer was ‘no’ and that was the turning point.
This has become a litmus test. I get disturbed only by things, which I think will affect me even after five years. My experience tells me that there are no such things in the past, which affect me today. Yes, some impacts are always there, but they get internalized and so do not remain external to me. My response to situation around has changed due to this and I have become a different person – I won’t say ‘good’ person, because sometime I doubt I have become complacent and insensitive. I don’t like my indifference which makes me inactive and passive. At times I wish I had more passion.
But anyway, my weak memory has helped me to achieve lot of peace and quietness
(Note: Sorry friends, I realize that this blog is going to be ‘I’ SPECIALIST… I am talking mostly about “I” ….. Any ideas about how to bring in change in this? Please, share.) *