(As a comment, I wrote a few words about frozen memories in another blog. Our blogger friend A asked me to write a post on frozen memories. So, here it is.)
Before I started to write my own blog, I wrote this post as a “guest” in Insignia’s blog. I am reproducing that post (with Insignia’s permission).
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.7000.00. Even though we can very well afford, my wife says “my marriage saree” was less than that. When we go to a restaurant in India, our mind automatically think about the price we paid before leaving India for the dish we are ordering . 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 next door and now she has 2 kids and weighs 185 lbs.
Going back to the place we visited long time ago is also the same. The last time we visited Delhi was in 1997. We visited again one year 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. In 1997, 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.
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, those Indian origin kids think as Indian traditions and customs what was practiced 150 years ago in India.
This happened last month. 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 (old, 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”. (I was thinking in my mind that after few more drinks, I would start blessing everybody. Hahaha.)
Memories are not only frozen but passed on to the next generation also.