As I readied myself for a two-day business trip, I saw my six year old, just up from the bed, looking at me from the bedroom doorway. She walked unto me, hugged me. Then, she signals me to bend down, so we may indulge in our ritual of running our noses together. The hugs me with all her strength and then sit on the chair in front of me as I have my tea.
She smiles. Her smile is somber and sad. I ask her why she was sad. She whispers something inaudible. Did she say that she will remember me when I am gone for the two days?
I prod her again and she smiles, with that smile which only kids have when they are six year old, with broken teeth and unbroken faith.
"Why are you sad?" I ask her.
"I am sad because I will forget you once you go. I will go play and forget that you will not come back in the evening. I will think that you have gone to the office in the city only." Says she.
I am stunned by the profound honesty and the denseness of the feeling which wraps around us- me and my daughter.
I want to console her, to alleviate her sadness by telling her that Bangalore is couple of hours flight from Delhi and that I will be back tomorrow. But the sad truth that she just spoke cannot be sullied with grown-up's rationale. It is so sacred that one can only kneel before. The truth that when we say that we will remember, we may not be always truthful. But what can be more loving than the lamenting the possibility of forgetting those we love. That is
most mature thing one can hear anyone speak, let alone a six year old girl.
Loving, remembering and forgetting, will happen and coexist all our lives, shadowing all our relations, like passing weathers. We may not be able to remember those we love all our waking moments. But love would mean we will lament the fact that we are not able to the remember them always. It would also mean that when we remember them, we feel the tinge of pain over the moments during which their memories left us alone in the cold. This is all
that one should hope for, not to be remembered for all the time, but when remembered to be remembered with the same fondness which stay unblemished under the dust of time. That is love and that is remembrance.
I whisper to my self that this love and this forgetfulness, I shall grant my daughter and I wish this innocent honesty of her to last her lifetime. I remember the poem in Urdu I read long time ago, when I was a studying, which went something like, granting translation error and errors of age
"O Ocean, whose name you call with such longing
As you rush towards the shore?
Is there someone of your own
That you are looking for?
You might have forgotten the love itself
But you must be still remembering forgetting that love."
As long as you forget me and remember forgetting itself, I will still sleep in peace believing that I am loved. The damp weather will still bring the smile to me, long after you have gone to build a world of your own. Like many other things I have learnt from you, love is not being with you always, not never losing you, not even forgetting you, Love is not forgetting the act of forgetting. There are of course incentives of poor memory as long as it is innocent as Nietzsche would say, "The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time.”