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Nostalgia!

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Thinker13
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Posted 05/10/11 - 4:06 AM:
Subject: Nostalgia!
I have spent some time in searching traces of MPG forum on internet. I have also spent some time in reading previous threads on Couch forum. I often find that it seems intriguing for almost all of us to watch recordings of our past excursions. We enjoy watching photographs. This effect is more acute if it is ‘enough distant’ past. Searching the episodes of cartoon serials which were your favorite in childhood, trying to get some information about your childhood friends or your teachers who are no longer in touch, trying to go through your notebooks which have records of past and urge to witness everything which is very remote now: why is it there? What does it mean to you?

Why that very past, where you had a few sweet and rough patches, becomes so important to you? Is it because of the mystery this past has by virtue of being enough ‘distant’. The more distant this past is more mysterious it becomes because memory functions often in very peculiar ways. It is the nature of mind to run away in search of mysterious past.



What are your experiences?
libertygrl
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Posted 05/11/11 - 1:35 PM:

hi thinker, interesting question!

i'm intrigued by nostalgia myself. i consider myself a highly sentimental person, and i've known people on the other hand who have very little sense of nostalgia. i remember hanging out with my then-boyfriend one time while he was cleaning stuff out of his room. he had a bunch of old photos of himself as a kid, of his family, newspaper clippings and so on, and was about to throw them all away. i was shocked! why are you throwing these out? i asked. what's the point of keeping them? he said. so you can look back remember these pieces of who you are, i said. i don't want to remember, he said. you keep them if they mean so much to you, he said. and i did, haha. still have them, even though i haven't spoken to my ex in almost 10 years. i imagine i'll get rid of them someday.

speaking strictly for myself, there are a lot of different factors at play, i think. one is a desire for objectivity - wanting to be able to look back and see yourself in a different light, as an "outsider" might see you. another is the desire to remember things you may have forgotten - perhaps unresolved issues that have now gotten closure. lost loves. good times. another is to be able to reflect on how the world has changed around you in the time that's past - not just you in it, but the relationships of those around you, the technologies. those are just things a few off the top of my head. every once in a while i enjoy reading back through old journals, or flipping through my photo albums - this is the kind of stuff i think about while doing that.

a couple of years ago, during my trip to europe, i had the opportunity to visit an old house that i used to live in when my dad was stationed in belgium. it was somewhat surreal, like visiting a scene from a dream (i had also dreamed about that place many times, in the years after we left). it was a great treasure to me being able to revisit that place & those memories.

memory is a funny thing indeed. what are your thoughts on nostalgia, thinker? i know you've also mentioned keeping journals before. do they serve similar uses for you?
Thinker13
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Posted 05/11/11 - 2:49 PM:

Such an eloquent reply! I would love to narrate an event, in support of ‘mysterious’ past hypothesis:
I do not recall the exact age but I must have been less than five years old. I used to live in this small village, with my parents. The village was full of cattle and greenery. One fine sunny day, as I was standing near a street, which was just hundred yards away from our apartment, a young man (or a boy, I am not sure, because, it’s too hazy now!) was passing by. I do not know whether I was acquainted with him, but, it seems that he was aware of my apartment and my whereabouts, which seems to be obvious as the village was a small one and almost everyone knew each other. He saw me and stopped and started talking to me:
He asked me (In Hindi): Do you know English?
I answered: a little bit!
He asked: What do you know, tell me!
I told him a few things I knew. I might have drawn out some simple words like ‘Rat’, ‘Cat’, ‘Go’, ‘Come’; from my small repertoire and presented them before that boy ( or gentleman, as might have been the case! As said earlier, it’s too hazy now! ).
He said to me: Your English is no good man!
Pay attention: I go; He goes; I am going.
He does not go. She goes.

[Then the man (or the boy!) went away!]
I certainly think that the man (or the boy!) was feeding me too much. He might have read ‘rules of grammar’ from a grammar book of standard 6th [Conventionally, in Indian schools, Grammar was taught only after sixth grade!]

The man (or the boy, and the chances are that he was just a boy!) is still a mystery to me!
He remained mystery to me ever after. As I was introduced to grammar, after 6-7 years, I recalled that mysterious man. I always remember him, but never met him after that. May be he is alive, maybe he is not; but he is very likely to remain a mystery to me! A mystery forever!



libertygrl
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Posted 05/24/11 - 1:47 PM:

my head is full of mysterious memories such as you describe. here is a story of my own about a woman i met, the memory of whom fascinates me in a way that i think is similar to that of the boy in your story.

i was rolling on ecstasy at a small underground party in san francisco, at a place only known at the time as the cube (it was nicknamed the cube because of the shape of the space - it was in the basement of a building and the floor plan was a large square shape).

i had gone to the party with my then-boyfriend, and i think he was off somewhere chatting with various people. at the time, i was trying my hand at an open relationship and in retrospect, i'd say that i wasn't thinking too much about where he was or what he was doing. maybe on some level i cared, but at the very least, i had put it out of my mind. easy to do when you're numb with various substances. in any case, i kind of felt like i was there by myself, even though technically i wasn't.

all along the inner wall of the room was a concrete ledge that people sat on like a bench. i was sitting on that ledge, taking a break from dancing and having a cigarette, when i was approached by a tall, thin woman with a pale face, red lipstick and black hair that was dramatically swept up behind her head. she was very graceful - i would almost say that she glided over to me, in the way that i've seen described in novels and always wondered what they meant.

she sat down next to me and introduced herself as "eka" (pronounced "ecka", but i had asked her the spelling). i offered her a drag from my cigarette, which she accepted. "you like to share, don't you?" she said with an unusual tone of voice, the tone of voice of someone who really sees deeply into people. i smiled and nodded in confirmation. she asked me if i was rolling, which i acknowledged that i was.

"you know," she said very dramatically, "you don't need the drug to be able to get to that place."

"i know," i said. "it just shows us what's possible."

she nodded and then wandered off. i marveled for a while at the incident. i felt that she had a way of connecting very deeply to people.

hours later my boyfriend came to ask me if i was ready to go home. as we were leaving, we passed through a lobby area at the top of the stairs, the ones which led down into the basement. there, sitting on the couch, eka had her long fingers wrapped around the face and neck of a severely dehydrated woman with a zombie expression on her face, likely suffering from some kind of overdose. eka was pouring bottled water into her mouth. coupled with dark atmosphere, the flashing lights and psychedelic music, it was like a surreal scene from a movie.

i never saw nor heard of her again. but the memory of her always fills me with wonder.
Thinker13
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Posted 05/25/11 - 1:28 AM:

Very vividly described lib; I was able to feel as if I was present in the situation myself while reading your story! I think, you have not insinuated about the number of years ago it happened. I think, memories play all sort of games. Our memories make it mysterious because it is about an event which happened long back. Another such event:

I used to stay at my maternal grandfather’s place with many of my cousins, aunts and uncles during the summer vacations. The house was big for us kids and we used to have a nice time there. Since it used to be too hot, we used to sleep upstairs at open roof at night. Before sleeping on beds which used to be arranged on the surface of roof we used to pour a lot of water to make the surface a bit cold (bearable). One such night:

As we were sleeping (it might have been one or two hours since we went to the bed) all of us heard a voice from the building which was besides our building. All of us woke up. It was a very mournful voice of some old lady, crying because of something. I was just a kid, and I had heard many ghost stories. My uncles and aunts were discussing something about this old lady and I gathered that she was great grand lady of one of the kids who was in the neighborhood and that kid was my friend.

After a while everyone started to sleep. I was sleeping with my mom besides her. I started crying. I started crying because everyone was about to sleep, whereas I was scared. Actually, I had imagined that the lady had visions of some ghost or something (What was the food for my speculation is yet not clear but it could have been murmuring of my uncles and aunts). I really felt (it is funny!) that it would have been great had my mom slapped me! As I kept on crying, my mom really slapped me on my face twice! Then I slept!

This event stayed with me and it seems that it would have occurred at an age of 3-4 years. I asked my mom many times about it but she could not recollect it. I even asked my granny and aunts (who were sleeping there at the time this happened) 15 years after the event but they could not tell me anything about that. Initially I used to think that they were hiding something from me but later on I realized that they were unable to recollect anything, perhaps, because the event was not that important for them!

Why that lady was crying mournfully, whether she used to see ghosts or was deceased; I never came to know and it remains a mystery for me, and it is likely to remain a mystery for me forever!


Edited by Thinker13 on 05/25/11 - 1:34 AM. Reason: Grammar
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