There is a dialogue in the movie “Before midnight” where one elderly character Patrick on the table says
“Well, maybe so but every generation believes that they’re witnessing the end of the world but… I feel that I’m actually living it.”
I think my grandparents must have felt that too when they moved borders leaving everything they called their own. I think my parents must have entertained an idea of a bleak future being born in unstable environments immediately the years following 1947. My mother being born in a refugee camp at Purana Qila, Delhi and spending first few years there before my nana being allotted a house in South Delhi. My Sikh neighbors may have felt when Sikh riots broke out and they had to cut their hair.
Or when multiple crisis broke at several times in the history – we hear it from our parents’ and grandparents’ point of view. They all must have felt the same anxiety and restlessness we all are feeling reading about the Ukrain-Russia war.
But a very interesting aspect of how we look at crisis when we cross them are the stories we have for the future generation. When the future generations look back – they see it from pictures & stories the parents show and tell. We learn it first from our families. What were my parents doing in X year? They spoke about a movie they were watching in Rivoli theatre, 6-9pm show at Connaught Place, Delhi (Satyam Shivam Sundaram in ’78) while Yamuna over-flooded so they rushed back before the bridge was closed for days. I am told about sis’ birthday celebration on 2nd Nov’84 when I was only 2 years when the sikh riots broke out after Indira Gandhi’s assassination on 31st Oct’84 and our childhood neighborhood sikh girlfriends – their nick names were Poppy & Choppi (yep – Sikh names and the unrelated nicknames!) were hiding in homes in our neighborhood so they couldn’t attend the birthday party. I have a vivid memory of our school bus attacked with glass bottles during Mandal commission riots in Aug’ 1990 and the next day we had a dance performance at school for Independence Day. I was more concerned about the dress that I was carrying for rehearsals not getting spoiled over my own life.
There is a line in Game of Thrones by Tyrion Lannister. I do not remember the verbatim but it said, “when people do not have entertainment, they create it.”
Did people stop making memories when the news & events around were terribly sad? Did they stop watching movies and shows or stopped listening to music or stopped celebrating birthdays?
I remember how I managed to celebrate my son’s 5th birthday on 3rd Apr’20. It was just a week after the Covid 2020 first lockdown. I didn’t even get time to collect balloons. Amazon was not delivering. No shops were open. Remember how the fear then was far bigger at that time than the actual calamity. It is a separate discussion that the covid calamity actually hit us a year later.
For our future generation, we will always be about pictures and stories. For my son, it might come as a question – mamma what were we doing in February 2022 when the Russian Ukraine war broke out. If he asks, I will tell him I made him macaroni and we watched TV on the 26th Feb, Saturday. Something so mundane that a parent in Ukraine would be dreaming of right now.
Since I am overloaded with quotes and memorable lines, adding one more that I love. It is from Sacred Games on Netflix.
The point that I am trying to make is keep going. Keep making memories. Author and activist Glennon Doyle said, “Keep going. That’s all you have to do, ever. You really don’t have to be amazing, or fierce or beautiful or successful or good. Just keep going, please. Slowly is fine. Crawling is fine. No feeling is final. Except hope.”
When we are out of this particular gloomy time, we will have stories to tell. Keep making memories for our future generation because they will have that for life. Like I do from my parents and grandparents.
And with this particular picture – I would tell my son that we squeezed in a quick weekend visit to this museum of illusions in Connaught Place in Dec’21 just before the third wave of Covid Omicron put us back indoors in weekend lockdowns. It might look weird to some when some people are celebrating while others cannot but it does not have to make sense to anyone else but only you.
Last quote before I forget how to end this blog entry.
Bertolt Brecht wrote : “In the dark times Will there also be singing? Yes, there will also be singing. About the dark times.”
Till next time…