Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Frozen Memories - by Mano

We immigrated to USA long time ago. Even though we visit India frequently, our memories of India are frozen at that time we left. Since then every time we visit India, the changes, good and bad, give us shock. For example, an ordinary Kancheepuram silk Saree now costs Rs.5000.00. Even though we can very well afford, my wife says “my marriage Saree was only Rs.1000.00”. When we left India, a plate of idlis was only Rs.2.00 and now it is Rs.20.00. But it is not shocking to the people who live in India because they grow every day with that change.

This frozen memory happens to all of us. Say we had a friend in school. We have not seen him/her in the past 15 years. Our memory of that friend is still the same as we saw him/her the last time. If we see him/her now, we will be shocked. In school, he had a nice thick curly hair and now he is bald-headed. She was a cute little beautiful girl and now she has 2 kids and weighs 185 lbs.

Going back the place we visited long time ago is also the same. The last time I visited Delhi was in 1997. I visited again 6 months ago. I was pleasantly shocked to see the Los Angeles style freeways. The toll plaza at Gurgaon looks more or less the same as the toll plaza at the San Francisco Bay Bridge. The Ring Road from Moti Bagh to Safdarjang Hospital to AIIMS to Defence Colony to Lajpat Nagar was crowded and congested. Now there is a smooth freeway there.

In the past 300 years, lot of Indians have migrated to Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Fiji Islands, and West Indies. Their memories are also frozen at the time their forefathers left India. In those places, those Indian origin kids learn about Indian traditions and customs from their parents and grand parents. They, in turn, learnt from their parents and grand parents. Therefore, today’s Indian origin kids think as Indian traditions and customs what was practiced 100 years ago in India.

There was an incident happened this weekend. This prompted me to write this blog. We were invited to a cocktail reception in a friend’s home. The host and hostess are from Malaysia and speak Tamil at home. They have never visited India. As soon as we entered their home, the host shook hands with me. The hostess started to fall on my feet (to get my blessings) and half way through I stopped her. She said she is delighted to receive me because her grand parents told her that it is auspicious and good luck if a “Brahman” comes to the house. I smiled and said I am not that kind (pious, learned, knows 4 Vedas) of Brahman. In fact I have come for a cocktail reception. She said “I do not care. All I know from my grand father that it is auspicious and good luck if a Brahman comes to the house. Therefore, I need your blessings”. Memories are not only frozen but passed on to the next generation also.


  1. Thanks Mano for the post.

    Memories....Yeah lots of them. They remain buried deep within us and one day, we take it out, dust them and relive them.

    The traditions, practice and culture are passed on from generations to generations...which most of us follow it without knowing why we follow!

  2. Thanks Insignia. You are absolutely right.

  3. hiii Mano

    wow! I too have some fond memories of my ancestral home and a big combined family :)

    nice read :D

  4. Thanks AS. Yep, fond memories indeed. But, as the saying goes, we can go to the place but not to the time.

  5. Mano -
    As the third comment said...a good read and an interesting perspective.

    I like the way you tied it to the memory someone will have about a person in their past, whose face is frozen in time even though they age everyday.

    Well worded.

  6. Hi The Cagey Bee,

    Welcome to b log. Thanks for your comments.

  7. Nice read... I am currently facing this shock treatment regarding the price hikes. I simply cannot digest it. I was gone for just one year for God's sake! Everything is so damn expensive.

    Nice to read posts by Mano.

  8. Gautam,

    Absolutely!! 1 year is a long time now a days buddy.
    I keep going away for 3 months and when I come back, I cant recognize stuffs.

    For eg. I went away from India during October 2007, then; never heard of Hyundai i10. I arrived on 1st week of February. I saw lot of i10 on the roads. I was like "Whats happening?"

    Changes are inevitable agreed, but nowadays they are drastic and too fast

  9. Thanks Gautam. What you said is very true. Each time we visit India, I could not digest the price increase in restaurants. But our relatives take it in the stride and move on.


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