Lately I am going through a funny experience. This is one aspect of growing old I guess.
A few months ago I met an old friend - now a very famous person. We were introduced to each other in 1984. She must have invited me for dinner at her place about 300 times during those five/six years. I was sort of their family member – a pampered one. I was part of their joy and sorrow. We used to talk to each other a lot during those days.
Later I left that city and kept constantly moving on. Those were the days when letter writing was the only means of communication. By the time I could afford email and mobile, I had lost contact with her. Because she has grown to be a ‘Page 3 Person’, I did not dare to contact her. In the mean time life had taught me how to deal with such losses and so I did not lament. I have grown to realize that everything disappears when it ceases to contribute, when the teaching is transmitted.
The other day I happened to attend a public program where this old friend of mine was the chief speaker. She instantly recognized me, was happy to see me and started chatting with me the moment the official function was over.
My friend was bit emotional – naturally. Then she asked me, “Do you remember this?” and narrated a particular incidence, which I did not at all remember. She was surprised. Then she kept on asking me the question repeatedly and funnily I did not at all remember any of those events, happening, joys and sorrows.
It was striking that she remembered certain portion of our interactions which I had completely forgotten. Even after listening to her, I was not able to recall any of those incidents.
Last week, I met another friend. Here too, I was meeting her after almost 10 years. In earlier times, her home was my home for few months. For about 10 years she had taken care of me – by feeding me nourishing food, by offering books to me and by sharing life with me. The contact was lost due to unavoidable circumstances –my moving out of the town again.
This friend was talking to me and again I had the same feeling. She was remembering certain portions of out interactions, discussions which I had completely forgotten and could not recall.
Whatever incidences my friends were sharing (and asking me whether I remembered those) were not at all inconvenient to me (rather they were emphasizing goodness in me), but I had no traces of those. Does it mean I have a bad memory?
Does it mean that we understand/interpret the same facts differently and we underline experiences differently?
Does it mean that the intensity of each person is so unique that the same experience can be labeled (sorted and stored) differently by different persons?
Does it mean life is a jigsaw puzzle of pieces and everybody gets hold of one or the other piece only?
Does it mean that we should be more tolerant and more patient – because whatever is important to me is not important to others and vice versa?
Does it mean that human beings are so complicated (and so is human life) that no one ever will be able to complete the jigsaw puzzle called human being and human life?