The games nostalgia plays

Taking a sepia-tinted view of childhood and yearning for the life we once lived are universal phenomena. Our childhood might not have been very comfortable, the past not so perfect yet we love to indulge in sentimental glamourisation of the past, recalling those bygone days with nostalgia. The wistful feeling that everything was better in our world gone by and we were happier is so romantic.

How fondly we recall sleeping under the starry sky on summer nights! Growing up, there were no air conditioners, no coolers either to give respite from the hot weather. Heat inside the rooms used to be so unbearable that sleeping in the open on summer nights was more a matter of compulsion than a choice, yet we are nostalgic about it.

Taking out folding beds and carrying light bedding on the roof every night used to be a tedious routine. All the cots were lined up, one beside the other, with a single pedestal fan to service all the beds. We regale ourselves reminiscing of breezy, pleasant nights but don’t want to remember how we used to get drenched in sweat on sultry nights. We joyously recall counting stars, identifying constellations and our excitement on seeing the shooting stars, but consciously forget droves of mosquitoes at night and flies in the morning hovering over us that won’t let us have a peaceful sleep.

Also, we go into selective memory lapse when we forget the rains disturbing us on several nights, forcing us to rush inside. There were times when we would doggedly keep sleeping in a drizzle but were forced to beat a hasty retreat when it turned into a downpour. As the rain stopped, we would again be back on the terrace. This mid-night to and fro movement was most annoying, but these irritants of yesteryears have conveniently turned into pleasures in our minds.

The fact is that blemishes become faint, almost invisible, when we take a long shot, but a close-up magnifies imperfections. No wonder, while we tend to romanticise and glamourise our past, there is a tendency to discount the blessings of today. .

It is ironical when we were children; we wanted to grow up fast and become independent, but now there is an ache, a longing for the past, the craving to return to the care-free good old days.

The reality is that our reminiscences are not about what life was but the way we choose to recreate it. We remember the fun part, especially of our childhood but overlook the travails and traumas. It is selective amnesia that cleanses the past of all the pain and makes it look appealing. Well, this is the magic of nostalgia!

(Published in The Tribune as MIDDLE on 25 July 2022)

18 Replies to “The games nostalgia plays”

  1. It’s true,ma’am.Past always has very pleasant feelings ,as it contains sweet memories. I also remember my childhood days. Now everything is changed . You presented your feelings beautifully in this blog.
    Apart from this,the time I spend with you as your student also has sweet reminiscences..

    1. This is very sweet of you Garima . In fact , this is what the magic of nostalgia is. You remember the fun part forgetting about unpleasant things.
      All love and blessings

  2. You are absolutely right, Rama. Our mind does play games. We want to remember only the fun part and romanticise it. Life is a mix of good and bad at any stage of life

    1. Very right Alka . Life is a mix of good and bad . It is good to recall happy memories but problem arises when we undervalue the blessings of present .

  3. Rama these memories are deeply etched on our minds. Perhaps the natural positive instincts sustain the better aspect of our experiences. Undoubtedly, you’ve stolen pieces from everyone’s heart and jotted down the lived- experiences to perfection… Kudos

    1. Thank you so much Vidula for reading and giving your valuable feedback. I agree forgetting the travails of the past and remembering better aspect of our experiences makes us happy. Indeed positive !

  4. Rama you have taken me ,am sure most of us back to the memory lane…each and every experience is relatable…yes one thong for sure ,..notwithstanding the discomfort the nostalgia is enjoyable . Good job Rama! Keep it up.

    1. Thank you so much Mrs Dhawan for your words of encouragement… mean a lot to me .
      True , despite all the discomfort nostalgia remains.

  5. Hello Rama dear whatever subject you take up you always reach perfection. This article has taken us back many years. Though we had hard times those days , but still remember it with fondness. Full justice done to the subject matter . We are proud of u

    1. Thank so much dear Mrs Luthra. Thanks for your generous words of encouragement and support. Feel nice that the piece resonates with my friends.

  6. It is a pleasure reading your articles so frank and truthfully penned down ! Amazing skill indeed. I think we are thankful lot counting our blessings more than negatives .! Keep writing dear Rama .

  7. Thanks Vini for your encouragement. Feel motivated.
    This is what I feel . .. absolutely nothing wrong in delving into our past with nostalgia but that should be make us devalue our present.

  8. Very interesting article . It was reality but all madhur yaaden. We enjoyed all weather .we were to positive. Life is good. Life was good. Dear ma’am you have written about all our sweet memories. I love it

    1. Yes Seema , this is the magic of nostalgia. .. every memory of our childhood appears sweet and pleasant.

  9. Rama you create a Nostalgia Our childhood Starry nights in dreams & sleeping under the stars seemed like walking amongst the stars. Just like poetic description of the moon & stars. Thinking about Dhruv Tara and watching them one day with Doorbin. Wow Rama reminiscing childhood the way brought in front of us was really romanticising

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