Thursday, November 26, 2009

NOSTALGIA: Remembrance of things past

This was triggered by a series of photos that a friend from college days had posted. The memories came rushing in. Somehow, there was a longing for the times gone by, a sweet ache. Given that I spend most of my time amongst poets and writers, through their words, a poem by Thomas Moore came to mind. I read it in my teens, but somehow it has stayed somewhere and has now come to renew its acquaintance!

Light Of Other Days- Thomas Moore

Oft in the stilly night
Ere slumber`s chain has bound me,
Fond Memory brings the light
Of other days around me:
The smiles, the tears
Of boyhood`s years,
The words of love then spoken;
The eyes that shone,
Now dimm`d and gone,
The cheerful hearts now broken!
Thus in the stilly night
Ere slumber`s chain has bound me,
Sad Memory brings the light
Of other days around me.

When I remember all
The friends so link`d together
I`ve seen around me fall
Like leaves in wintry weather,
I feel like one
Who treads alone
Some banguet - hall deserted,
Whose lights are fled
Whose garlands dead,
And all but he departed!
Thus in the stilly night
Ere slumber`s chain has bound me,
Sad Memory brings the light
Of other days around me.

Freddy Birdy, in an advertising campaign aimed at promoting better care for the aged, wrote that old age is when you look for your friends in the obituaries. I sometimes see my parents do that. And see the dejection when they find a familiar face. There is a sigh and a statement "Ayalum yatra aayi". Translated,it means "he/she has also said his/her goodbye". They possibly realize time has flown by and the stories of bye gone days then come up. The fights, the jokes , the slights , are all detailed and surprisingly ,tears flow, scowls deepen and sometimes laughter consumes them, as though all that is discussed is current. I guess somehow, at some time point in your life , it is the sum total of your memories, that decide how rich your life has been or how well you have lived it.

Most people have an opinion that it is living in the "now", that is important. While the past is over and the future is a mystery, the present is the reality , they argue. Even as I agree with them, it is inescapable to me that all of us carry baggage from our past that defines us and which affects our emotional quotient.
It then makes sense to me , that we celebrate the good times when they happen and build a bank of happy memories to draw upon , when the tide turns and joy becomes scarce! Probably this explains why we follow rituals and festivals religiously, and that too with pomp and splendor. And I guess in the times we live in , photos and videos help preserve this for posterity!. One way of transcending time!

I also believe that "vengeance" has such a high valency with a lot of us, for this reason. Retribution is an effective anti-dote for a negative and hurtful memory and manages to neutralize it somehow. I once saw an infant cry after falling and his mother, in an effort to stop him crying, pretended to give the floor a spanking for hurting her child! The child immediately stopped crying:) Possibly this also explains why popular fiction is replete with stories of vendetta! The "Count of Monte Cristo" being the most enduring of them. The Mahabharata has the incident of Draupadi refusing to wash her hair till she could get the blood of her tormentors to wash it with! One way of ensuring that the incident was never forgotten by her husbands!! Chanakya's revenge brought down an Empire!! In Hamlet, the bard examined this question as a dilemma that Hamlet faced after his father's murder. Clint Eastwood with his cop capers and Charles Bronson with his "Deathwish" franchise banked on the unrequited anger of the "victim" when the system fails to deliver "justice" or an "eye" for an "eye" !! Probably why someone told me that the best medicine for a rape victim would be the testicles of her castrated tormentor delivered in a salted jar !I agree ! It would probably bring down the crime rate !

Nature has managed to keep a beautiful balance between what is forgotten and what is remembered. We learn to forget things that are not essential and to loose the emotional imprint of many unpleasant things. I realized that it was a blessing, when I read about a lady who could not forget anything. She was an emotional wreck, because every taunt, insult and incident from infancy onwards, was fresh in her mind, making it difficult for her to move on in life and have a long term perspective . She simply could not enjoy the moment and live in the present !

Yes, Nostalgia has its sweet and painful moments! Prof ONV Kurup in this poem dwells on the sweet ache of walking down memory lane into the garden of memories. One of my favourites. It appeared in the movie "Chillu"


Movie Name: Chillu (1982)
Singer: Janaki S
Music Director: Sreenivasan M B
Lyrics: Kurup ONV
Year: 1982
Director: Lenin Rajendran
Actors: Jalaja, Kanaka Latha, Shanti Krishna, Venu Nagavally

Oru vattam koodi ennormmakal meyunna
Thirumuttathethuvan moham         (2)
Thirumuttathoru konil nilkkunnora nelli
Maram onnuluthuvan moham      (2)
Adarunna kaymanikal pozhiyumbol
Chenneduth athilonnu thinnuvan moham 
Sughamezhum kaippum pulippum madhuravum
Nukaruvan eppozhum moham

Thodiyile kinar vellam kori kudich
Enthu madhuram ennothuvan moham  
Oru vattam koodiya puzhayude theerath
Veruthe irikkuvan moham            (2)
Veruthe irunnoru kuyilinte
Pattu kettethir pattu paduvan moham
Ethir pattu paduvan moham
Athu kelkke uchathil kookum kuyilinte
Shruthi pinthudaruvan moham
Oduvil pinangi parannupom pakshiyod
Aruthe ennothuvan moham
Veruthe ee mohangal ennariyumbozhum
Veruthe mohikkuvan moham          (2) 

"Veru the ee mohangal ennariyumbozhum veruthe mohikkuvan moham" .These two lines, actually captures the soul of this poem, which is about a man reminiscing about his bye gone days.

ONV at his best. If one takes the temerity to translate this, it would mean
'Even as I know,
these wishes will remain wishes,

Yet I wish
to dream these dreams"

Another favourite of mine, "Pomakal Vazhunna kovilil ninnoru sopana sangitam pole". And the soul of the song "Ormakalkendu sugandam, en atmavin nashta sugandam..."

Ormakal Ormakal .....orikalengilum kanda mukhangale marakan eluthamo?
"swapnangal enodu vida paranju" ... unforgettable lines.

No collection is complete without this song "Aliyambal kadavailann arraku vellam, annu nammal onnayi thuzhanjile kothumbu vellam.." A man reminiscing about the troubles they went through..and the love they shared..

Nostalgia English Songs

Nostalgia Hindi SongsNostalgia Hindi Songs

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