December 20, 2013

If Memory serves, no notes are needed

Dear M,

It must have happened in 1999-2000. It caused a sensation, as it should. We felt sympathy for the person involved, may be also owing to the fact that we all admired him. It was a traumatic time for him and his family. There wasn't much we could do except hang around and drop a kind word or two at the right places.

I do not know if this incident made me think of inserting it into a story at that time. But I remember sealing up the details in my mind. I remember clearly his reaction, as if it happened yesterday. His tired face that smiled and joked - but we could see that it was tormenting him. I remember every detail, every discussion we had. Something told me that I would use it later. Or maybe that knowledge came a few years hence.

And today I was going through a story I wrote in 2012 and I remembered - yes that part of the story is his. Rewritten and re-moulded and re-created, but it certainly is the incident from a decade ago. I had not taken any notes or jotted them down for future reference. But it stayed - it was a memory, it doesn't have a choice anyway. And it came when it was needed.

That's why I said we don't need to take notes. If it is important enough, if it has to be written about, it will come back. If we take notes and keep them ready for future reference, we may never need them. We may never use them.

Human memory is an amazing place. One could get lost in it, one could find happiness in it, one could drown in it, one could live in it. And a writer could write from it, for it's one well of a place. (Yeah, pun intended and all that.)


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