While searching for an old picture for the previous blogpost, I came across a photograph from three years ago. I was in the middle, clicking the photograph and on either side were friends. One was my senior at college and the other my hostel room mate at the time. I had no recollection of how, why or where this came to be. Behind us, against the dark night and pale silhouettes of trees, there shone a sign that read “Tanto’s”. Aah. My memory flickered, and I saw us having dinner – mine was the special for the night, seafood pasta with crunchy crab shells in the juice that I loved in the beginning and got tired of towards the end; someone ordered a small pizza that came with tiny purple squid tentacles sticking out; there was a pannacotta whose cream I loved and sour topping I hated. I remember that the bill wasn’t cheap, either.
But why did we have dinner together? These two were from different parts of my life. A play. Yes, there was a play. Of course, we had decided to check out a performance scheduled at the Adi Shakti Theatre in Auroville. I remembered the little indoor theatre, the lighting, us sitting on the floor. Of course, now it made sense.
I forwarded the photograph to both my friends. More montages started appearing.
“They gave us each a card at the end of the play, didn’t they?”, asked SE.
I wondered briefly where mine could be. “Something about love, yes.”
“This is the play where they had the moon lamp”, added SE.
“Towards the end of the play, a woman came holding a round lamp that looked like the moon. You mentioned how much you liked it, and that’s why I gifted the same last year”
“Oh.” I was stumped. I recollected a woman and a man, husband and wife, writers and actors of the play in an exploration of their love, but nowhere in my memory was there a moon lamp.
M’s reply was regarding something else altogether.
“That’s the night we saw the actor! She came in and had dinner at the corner table, remember?”
Yes.. I remembered. Her hair cut short, wearing a large hat, sitting against the corner wall. It was exciting to see a movie star at random.
“And the bike broke down”, she added.
I was puzzled. The bike. Yes, something did happen to the bike. How did we manage to get back home? The rest of the night was fragmented beyond recovery.
Memories are so odd. The three of us experienced the exact same things, and yet had such vividly different recollections of the evening. The Booker Prize winner, The Sense Of An Ending deals with the same; the inconsistencies in our memories, the obscure algorithm they follow in deciding what bits to keep and what to let go. To the point that we might even be left wondering about their authenticity, and have difficulty discerning them from dreams.
Isn’t it interesting how every detail of our life gradually fades into a hazy illusion?