The Eternal Youth

Mr. Zigar had seen his wife’s cheeks flush only twice. The day of his wedding and the day their son was born. He still remembers how his wife, seated in the back seat of the Buick, held baby Zafran in her arms. Smiling down at the fragile baby wrapped delicately in a pink towel. At first, he thought her blush was from the towel but later saw that her cheeks had a glow of their own.

As if his memories had leaked into his wife, she was also thinking about the same thing. She remembered his muted yawns and blissful laughs. Each of which contorted his entire body, narrowed his eyes to the point of closing and opened his un-teethed mouth but made no sound. She was smiling now, as she realized how talkative he’d soon become.

She recollected all the times she acted dumb when he had asked her about something. She longed for his naive explanations that followed, some of which were hilariously wrong. Like the time when he stressed that the stars were pixie dust and that Uncle Ben’s belly was full of grape jelly. With laughter dammed behind pursed lips, she would try to act surprised, and it was convincing enough for the boy.

The contemporariness of their recollections now showed chronology, as Mr. Zigar remembered Zafran’s first day of school. The little boy’s excitement while leaving the home, had upended into a nostalgic frenzy as they approached the school. Tears had left behind soot-gray streams that ran along his powdered cheeks. An hour of his mother’s efforts to dress him well went down in vain.

Mr. Zigar, amused by his son’s simple-mindedness, decided to relieve the boy of his nightmare and postponed his first-day to another day. Mrs. Zigar decided to powder him at the school next time. A horde of ‘first-time’ memories now flooded their conscious. His first-time on the bike, how he was quick to learn. His first-time on the roller-coaster, how he feigned bravery and wet his pants. His first-date, and how he was charming, or so he told.

All of these memories fought to stay alive in their heads, each leaving behind a pang of longing, as they were moving along the school lane, watching kids of different ages pass them by. Imagining how their own son had been at that age. It was a routine they’d never be tired of and were too afraid to give up. Their thoughts were mercilessly interrupted by the school’s first bell, and then all the kids rushed-in through the gates.

The silvery-grey Buick turned around the corner, leaving the lane at a leisurely pace. It was an old, retiring car that never managed to grab attention. With a rusting metal body that creaked everytime it hit a bump, the car had a sad, dispirited aura that contrasted with the kids’ lively, buoyant spirits.

The gloomy middle-aged couple inside were held responsible for the decrepit state of the car. It’s engine’s roar had mellowed down to a melody and no possible throttle could restore its lost vigor. It was becoming increasingly difficult for Mr. Zigar to drive the old rack. But it was house to plenty an emotion to be disposed of so easily. It was an epitome of their journey.

Although disheartening, there gleamed around the corner, a silver-lining. The kids flocking to school along that lane were never older than 13. Their son who was doomed to remain eternally young in their memories, would never grow beyond that age. Thus enabling this single bitter-sweet routine to suffice them. For the rest of their lives.

The Fat Girl

The perfect night for a walk. He stepped out of the house, looking for solace in the humid gusts of the Indian Monsoon. To anyone else, the roads were eerily quiet and lonely, but to him they were ideal. They were solace.

He gathered his thoughts on life. On his journey till today. These walks helped him come to terms with his regrets and reason out his misgivings. They were also a personal celebration of his nifty achievements.

It was extra windy today and he liked it. The street lamps flickered and sporadically blacked out the road. He didn’t like that. One road at a fork was now blacked out, so he was forced to take, of sorts, the road not taken often.

He moved along, hoping to be pleasantly surprised. After a few strides, he saw an old dilapidated house. It was pleasantly heart-warming indeed. He knew the girl who used to live there pretty well. She was one of a kind.

Years ago, she was the fattest girl in the colony. In innumerable instances, he’d remembered teasing her. She would chase him all around the colony, but it was always in vain. He was too fast and she was too fat.

But he would always reconcile by giving her a chocolate. Her favorite. It was more of a precaution than affection. She knew that too, but she still liked it. They were good friends, inseparable. Silly kids with a heart of gold.

He stood there, looking at her old house in the moonlight. It was derelict, but it still seemed to have life enough to tell another story. And he was happy to listen. He was glad he took the road and with a heart suffused with warmth, he silently walked back home.

One fat joke about her surfaced from the depths of his mind and he wanted to blurt out to his wife over dinner, but refrained. Mocking her again after all these years didn’t seem like a good idea. He was married to her now.

The Homecoming – 1/2

Lou was finally coming home. He was returning from an exile which he set out on his own volition 20 years ago. He was coming back to his aging mother and a few friends of his bygone years. They were the only family he had left, for everyone else had effaced him from their memories.

Yet, Lou’s evocation of them was still lucid and crisp, like he had never left. He also remembered his hometown really well. The soot-covered walls of burnt brick. The fields of corn that spread across for miles. And the market lane that was always cramped. He remembered the market lane better than anything else, and for good reasons. He had spent many a good childhood memories in that lane, including his last one in that town.

Slowly, each of his fond memories was surfacing to suffuse his heart with warmth. And he let them, as he ensconced himself in the train’s berth. He imagined little kids frolicking in the gaps of corn fields. Once, long ago, he was one of them. Always being chased by the farm owner for stealing his corn. The poor guy wouldn’t have minded a few kids relishing his corn, but they feeding it to raccoons that invaded his fields was preposterous.

His thoughts slowly gave way to his memory of the “grown-ups”. He imagined how happy they would be for seeing him return, especially one Aunty Maira. She had once saved him and his friends from the harangue of an enraged farmer who, given Lou’s shenanigans, had every reason to be so. She later took them to her store and although she delivered a moralizing homily, she offered them candies after finishing which gave it a bitter-sweet ending. He adored her cordial smile and heart-warming personality and he couldn’t wait to meet her again.

A wistful smile spread across his face as a surge of memories overwhelmed him. He was longing to go to what he called his “happy place”. It was a narrow alley between Aunt Maira’s store and the local grocery store. He would visit the place whenever he was happy and proudly smirk at his ensemble of toys carefully hidden in a cardboard box he found in the alley. He would play make-believe games with them in isolation, as his friends would never approve of a boy interested in role-playing games with toys.

The absurdity of it all seems funny to him now. But by now, 20 years later, he was starting to feel restless and he longed to relive them again. So he hopped on the first train he could catch and set out on his homecoming.

The man at the ‘Vantage Point’

From the vantage point,  everything was clear. The aerial view presented him with a different perspective, both visually and mentally. He was in a different world altogether, a world that’s characterized by unfulfilled desires and materialistic detachment. 

He looked down and saw his own house. He’d had innumerably pleasant moments there. But now all that was left was pain. He didn’t want that to be his last glance, so he closed his eyes and opened them again. It was the first day of college, he was so bright and young then. He was making new friends and was soaking in the attention. Just when he was reliving the excitement, slowly, the reel of his life started to speed up. Days and months flashed by. Faces that seemed warm and cordial transformed into evil and prejudice. They still had the same face, but they all looked different somehow. The warmth in the memory was gone. It brought chills to him and he closed his eyes yet again. 

And after opening them, he saw himself sitting in a church,  and was surrounded by people. The Community Church was a good place for a neighborhood reunion. In fact, it was the only time they greeted each other. They all had fake smiles and bare faced lies…..not even Satan in disguise would look more nice. Ironically, that is who they’d just prayed to get away from. His gut wrenched and he closed his eyes to open them to a new scene. 

He saw his 7 year old self playing in the mud. No one around to stop him. Nothing to worry about. No obligations, no liabilities. No proposals, no promises. The kid was lost in his own world, lost in pure innocence.

A wide smirk smears across his face. He finally looked up. He saw a golden vulture circling in backdrop of a snow white sky. It finishes it’s rounds and gently starts to descend towards him. It was time, and he was ready. He wouldn’t have to worry about anything anymore. And again, he closed his eyes, for one last time. 

What if we could live on Forever?

Past is history. As we tread forward, we leave footprints behind, most of which are washed away in time. But some, we choose to nurture. Things that collectively built our character. Moments that we wish to reminisce. We call them, memories.

We lock them safely inside the archives of our mind and prioritize them, to only let the best get in. We harbor profound knowledge in cerebral intricacies. A myriad of experiences that stir emotions in our heart. All the memories put together make the story of our lives….but what happens to them when we cease to exist? Where does all that go? Can we get them back?

Scientists believe that it might be possible. Science, over the years, has made tremendous progress. Recent research shows that troublesome memories can be selectively deleted.

Check out the article below:-

troublesome memories

Source:- Inshorts

It is a major leap in medical advancement. Science fiction has an interesting approach to immortality though. It proposes, that if we could capture our memories and load them into a robot, we would live on forever, feeding only on electricity. We’d all have robotic voices and probably sound like Stephen Hawking, only less smart. We’d literally be heartless and I wonder if it’d matter.

Maybe one day we’ll have complete control over our mental insecurities and fully understand its complexity. Maybe we’ll find a way to prolong our legacy. Maybe we’ll heed witness to the magic of immortality when science redefines it. Maybe the day it happens, is right around the corner.