I WANNA BE SPIDERWOMAN!
Until I turned 26, this was my made-to-order reply every time someone posed the rather jaded question … If you were granted one super power what would you choose?
I was crazy about Spiderman. I marveled everything about him. From his red and blue suit to the geeky glasses his alter ego wore to that upside down kiss he planted on Mary Jane’s lips! I sought Peter Parker all for myself. Well, I thought we would make a cute couple!
On my 27th Birthday, my feet began walking the vandalized ground of an entirely changed Hemisphere all of a sudden. The mirror remained the same. But the reflection that stared back at me was a pale ghost of my former self.
Curtains on Spidey.
Blink of an eye and I turned 36.
All the while answering the question with the same tone of an automated humanoid witha very different answer: I WISH I COULD HAVE THE POWER TO FORGET!
And the Hemisphere I resided in decided to play a cruel joke and shifted its poles again without notifying me. I had just turned 37.
2 years earlier…
2016 December 31. The clock was just about to strike 2 PM.
I downed the shutters of my Store for the very last time.
I was turning my back on the only thing I cared about with such passion and intensity.
My Label. My Clothing Line. My MAQTOOB.
It was my refuge, my personal Noah’s Ark when the world outside was spinning out of my control. All said and done when I had lost faith in pretty much everything and everyone in Life, MAQTOOB still held on to its Faith on me strongly.
Until that fateful day in October, 2016 when the books showed I was too broke to go on. The charade I was playing to convince myself to keep going was not working anymore. That’s when my baby silently gave up on me.
December 31, 2016 @ 2 PM the last news bulletin of MAQTOOB was read. And that was the end of an Era of Hope for me.
From a woman who worked for 14 hours a day for a decade I was suddenly this Ship who had lost its anchor. Unmoored and drifting I was numb for a long time, dancing only the dance of a fraying puppet.
12 months into it the withdrawal symptoms finally seemed to wane slowly.
6 months later in July 2018 I turned 37.
A milestone year for me just for the fact that it is my favorite number!
And when my Birthday gift was unraveled for me, I realized with horror that I was actually being granted the wish that I had always wanted for the past decade.
My memory had begun to fade…
When I turned back to look at some of my previous meetings with this D-day, all I could see was plenty of blank spaces and all I could hear was music filled with static…
The same memory that could remember names and phone numbers from 30 years ago; one that could remember faces and quirks of all that these eyes have ever come across; One that could remember every last detail of a customer’s sizes and preferences heading as far back as a decade; one that could recognize a song with just the beginning riffs…now was losing its very identity.
From a child who was applauded with envy for having a photographic memory, I was becoming this sinkhole of uncertainty and hopeless mania.
I was no longer sure of anything. Heck! I could not even remember the places I traveled to as recently as one month ago! Storylines, names of the characters from the book I had and movies I watched a week ago, simple mundane conversations with the family were slowly vaporizing from my Memory Palace.
You know what I felt when it dawned on me that this was exactly what I had wished for?
Of all the prayers I had prayed fervently, what rotten luck that this one was the one that was chosen to be answered and that too at such a difficult crossroad of life!
Of course, it was my folly. I forgot to mention that I was referencing to only the bad ones when I prayed for a little help with forgetting. Sadly, the Angel that passed by that night must have been a stickler for rules! Just like me.
My memory was this bat with bad eyesight trying to fly past a mammoth sized minefield! Getting hit black and blue by the unknown in the wilderness of the unknown!
I did exactly what you would expect a normal woman to do under such duress. I cried. I wailed. And I cried some more.
And then I stopped. I grew some spine and took stock of the situation. Things were never as bad as I had deemed them to be earlier. No reason not to believe it would be otherwise now.
My sister hammered some good sense into my head. Wise as a sage, she felt it was just a phase while I, forever the drama queen presumed it was the first sign of Alzheimer’s!
So I exercised, meditated, read voraciously, learnt a language and embraced my long forgotten Violin with as much enthusiasm as I could garner.
Then the pieces of the jigsaw began to solve itself on its own.
Piece by piece some memories of yore began to return from their long, lazy vacations.
And suddenly out of nowhere a tiny piece of a lost memory popped up one night.
On a whim, years ago when I still was with the now-ex love of my life, I had begun to maintain a memory journal which no one else knew about except us.
Most of what made us, US went into that journal. Our conversations over sunrises at Pondicherry , his poems, the names of our future children, the color of the walls of our house, the cover design of his first book, our first trek in blinding rain in June, the strange way his toes curled when he walked barefoot, the wierd angle his sinus prone nose bent, how his hair always smelt of lavender ,how much we loved the smell of Ylang Ylang and Frangipani and so much more of all that was between us for 4 years and the dreams that were to come true and embrace us…
But the relationship wasn’t meant to be. And on a freak impulse, I burnt that book. Needless to say, along with it died a very dear part of me, that I sometimes still do miss and pine for.
But that night in 2018 when the memory of that journal came to me, all I remembered was how good I had felt to create something filled with all that magic and hope, with utmost love and tenderness. I wanted to be that person again. Someone who found joy in the fluttering wings of a butterfly and the birdsong of a Starling.
10 years of doing business in the cut-throat world of Fashion had left me bitter, vicious, cynical, stressed, tired, unfit and prone to depression and bouts of insomnia. I even feared I was becoming bipolar!
So obviously I wanted to burn this vile person I had become and rise again possibly like a phoenix.
Around the same time is when another epiphany of a totally different kind hit me!
People around me were as busy and as addicted to their phones as they previously were. I was the only one who had Time. Plenty of it! I had so much to say and no one to listen to any of it…
Ever had that fear of dying alone without a soul ever getting close to knowing the real you?
The terror of dying a lonely unsung death, never having gotten the chance to share my real self gripped me and twisted my insides.
Understanding that there was no point in regretting lost chances at friendships and relationships I soon woke up one fine day feeling brave and excited with a ravenous craving!
To let go of the various masks that I hid behind, so people would assume all was well in my world. The craving to be me. The need to reveal…
It was perhaps time to be unabashed and honest and free. So I challenged my introvert self to a duel. And put everything at stake to BE REAL!
And thus began my blog A peep into my travel diaries…
Sharing the travel memories of my past made me dig deep into the vaults of my memory palace but I had to give myself the time to put the pieces together of my fragmented mind. It was a lot like slow cooking. The process sounds tiresome but the results are often mind-boggling and always delicious!
Every like was a connection made. Every comment made it deeper. Every follow added a companion to get to know in this journey and fuse the bond into my renewing memory.
Meanwhile I read blogs of some amazingly ordinary people with the extraordinary talent to weave enchanting stories and breathtaking poetry!
An entirely new, colourful, imaginative and creative World opened its gates for me and I felt like a kid let loose in Disney World.
When I was ready to share more than just my travel memories with this new world, I quietly changed my blog name to A peep into my Memory Palace.
People’s opinions on it were eerily similar. Everybody who has graced a kind walk by my blog has found it commendable that I share so much about me with such passion and gay abandon. I want to tell them all that it is the only aim I set out with.
So Welcome to my raison d’être, My Memory Palace.
You can drop in anytime you wish.
The door with the label Coonoor has a quirky collection of tea. There is Orange Pekoe, Lemon, cardamom, Chocolate and well, Green tea too for the diet conscious.
Have a cup and feel free to walk around. Doors with places’ names for labels are always open. Some doors with the names of men aren’t always. Some of them with years as labels could be jammed. Just give a resounding kick and you would be in!
There is Music and Art and Movies to keep you company, as will the acoustic version of “Story of my Life” by The Piano Guys which is the theme song. Though I hope you do like Calum Scott…he’s getting the maximum ear play this week.
Oh! Lest I forget, there is an eclectic variety of Nostalgia too!
And while you are here please tread carefully. You are in a crumbling edifice and there is much to see and hear and precious little time.
Remember my friend, each memory you read means a peep into my world and sharing a moment of my life.
Every travel story you read means you have walked with me in those divine lands, seen the gorgeous sights I saw, shared the myriad delicacies I ate and heard the silent notes of the music the Universe secretly shared with me.
Every poem of pain, loss and longing you read means you have held me, comforted me and shown that you care. With every word of your wisdom and hope, you give me the wings to fly past the remains of the desecrated fragments of my heart.
And each time you walk out, promise me to turn around and wave goodbye…So I could Thank you for leaving behind some of that divine star-dust of yourself for me to remember you by and taking a tiny speck of me with you to sprinkle into the world.
You might never come back and I might alas lose you in the quick sands of my fragmented memory.
And sooner or later I might wake up not recalling Who I am…Will I recognize these eyes when I catch them looking at me strangely in a mirror someday?
Maybe I won’t. One can never tell for sure.
But the time we spend together today as One in my crumbling Memory Palace will forever be treasured as a tiny episode of Shared-Time frozen for eternity in the womb of the mighty Universe.