Excursions Of A Bibliophile

What are u reading these days?

As I grew up…….

Posted by Vish Mangalapalli on February 10, 2012

Who was it said that memory is what we thought we’d forgotten? – Julian Barnes in “The Sense of an Ending”

“What is coming over Laliah? His flowing beard, saffron cap and those black beads, is he converting into an Osho disciple? asked S
“Well, conversion is a strong word. He is following Osho. I thought everyone knew it. It has been more than a year and half now. He has been to the Pune commune twice already. His belief seems to be growing” replied R
“But R tell me this; this Osho thing; is it only simple mounting and unmounting or is there something spiritual to it?” 

This stark reference to sex in dry mechanical terms mentioned so off-handedly jolted me. I controlled my instinct to turn and look at S. I continued to look with a pretended interest the gardener who was watering the fruit laden guava trees. If I had looked at S as a reaction to his statement, it would have been a disaster for I would have given myself away. As a child of ten, the world expected me to be unaware of the contours of sex. It was this belief in my innocence that appears to have given confidence to S to say what he said to my father in my presence. My assumed innocence to them was a protective cover against which their conversation was expected to bounce off without affecting me in any way like a rain drop on a buffalo. It has been more than three decades since this conversation took place on a hot summer evening in the well-tended lawn of S whose family we were visiting that day. Father, S and I were sitting in his lawns while mother and sister were inside with the lady of the house

 Three decades? Yes, three decades and from the dark swamps of my memory this snippet of a conversation came to the fore suddenly without any hint. It was as if this memory was a hot air balloon whose strings have snapped allowing it to rise unhurriedly into the sky. There was no special reason or suggestive trigger for this recall. It just bobbed up from somewhere unknowingly. I was not ashamed then nor am I ashamed now to write about this conversation. It was not just the exact words that I remember. Attached to the memory of the words there was also a memory of a distinct feeling: the feeling of a subtle fear. It was the fear of facing the bigger world, the assumptions people will make about me at every stage of life and the taboo things that I will learn about even before society grants me its silent permission to go ahead. But why now? I really do not know. How many such memory bubbles will I encounter as I go along? Who knows? Forgotten memories and forgotten feelings hitting me once in a while like large meteors in space that crash into planets at the most unexpected times reminding me of my long gone past and life. How prescient Saul Bellow was when he said that memory is life !

Do all men and women go through this? I am not so sure. Well maybe they do. They too all grow… as I grew up

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