Things once new become a part of our lives and we stop noticing them. Tiny pieces of our former selves hanging on the walls, gathering dust on shelves or simply stuck on the cupboard door. The lyrics that once stirred our hearts, the quotes that struck a chord inscribed on walls fading away a little with each sunrise. Brightly covered books that we once coveted get pushed to the furthest corner of our bookshelves. I woke up one morning to find a thin sliver of winter sunlight falling on Calvin’s outraged face in a fading poster demanding euphoria because happiness simply wasn’t good enough. Burrowing deeper into my blanket, staring at the face of George Harrison winking at me from the poster I wondered.
I wondered about the little girl who loved going to school. There was a time when every time I passed my school gates on my way to somewhere I was hit by nostalgia. I tried every time to peep in and catch a glance of the building and its familiar windows with a foolish grin on my face. Now I barely even notice that I am passing my school, but in the off-chance that I do I still find my lips spreading into that hopeless grin. Memories scattered all around that building; the memory of my endless wait for my mother one rainy day still sits under the giant portico arches swinging her legs. My memories of staring at the gulmohur tree when I should have been learning compound interest still stand and look at the smooth basketball court where the tree once was.
Nose deep in nostalgia I dug out CDs with old photographs, old albums that my mother meticulously filled with fleeting moments from my childhood, older albums that held stories of the generations before me. I have always been a person who takes a lot of photographs, trying to capture the silly little things that make me happy. Sitting on the patch of sunlight that falls on my bed from the adjacent window, surrounded by some fading and mouldy photographs and a CD that my laptop keeps rejecting I am gripped by a sudden panic. What would I do if I lost the photographs? What if they repainted my room? What would happen when the mango tree occupying the other corner of my school field met the same fate as the gulmohur tree? My memories razed to the ground, my childhood buried under a fresh coat of paint.
Looking around the room I try desperately to commit every inch of the room to memory. The small corner beside my books closet where I sit and cry so that no one finds me, the fading scribbles on my walls from my sister’s particularly artistic phase at the age of two, all the things that makes that space mine. I spot the rectangular patch on the backside of the door, where there used to be a poster of my favourite cricketer, and suddenly my panic disappears. The image of the poster is still fresh in my mind and if I close my eyes I can almost imagine it still up on the door. I remember the fight with my brother when he had ripped the poster off, the endless hours of tears and pain that had followed, also the innumerable days of guilt tripping him that came after it. There had been other such patches in my room, some of them now covered with new posters, some with paint that I splashed and some with snapshots of newer memories.
These splashes will get covered too, the posters will fade and wear, the snapshots will be replaced, and the old will make way for the new as I change. Yet every once in a while I will sit in a patch of sunlight, close my eyes and see my room as it used to be, remember the girl I once was and smile at the memories. The older, hopefully wiser me, will catch a glimpse of my school building as I pass by it and if I close my eyes and imagine the corner of the field, I will always see a gulmohur tree standing on a carpet of red.