Of memories, oblivion and forgiveness | Pakistan Today

Of memories, oblivion and forgiveness

To seek forgiveness for acts done, words uttered and broken promises is the only thing we could do

To be or not to be, asked Hamlet. An absolutely apt question, it was. However, it was also his failure to choose between either that landed him (and those around him) in perdition. It was his indecision and indecision alone that ruined people he loved, folks he loathed and ideals he cared for. The doom that was a result of his choosing no course of action proved evil that was all-pervasive and left no one to mourn for the departed few.

Hamlet is everyman, goes the adage. You need not to be a prince or a leper to feel the dilemmas of indecision. In our lives, chance and fate throws down the gauntlet, every now and then, that brings us to crossroads where we are condemned to choose one and let go of the other.

What we choose remains. What we don’t lurks around.

We, the humans have been living and dying in the midst of other humans. We are born of them, raised, fed and clothed by them, befriend them, fight and kill them, enslave and emancipate them, love their souls and break their hearts, make them ours before abandoning them to the wolves. We create ripples of happiness in a sea of sorrow. Out of guilt or as a coping mechanism, we go to each and every extent to distract ourselves from our ever-present past. At times we succeed at it, most of the times, we don’t.

Can we forget? Not a chance. We don’t forget people we’ve hurt or betrayed or left, as they say, unceremoniously

This all, dear reader, happens when your conscience is alive and kicking. If it is dead then congratulations, you are beyond the vagaries of guilt and regret. Or as a friend of mine put it, conscience is either your best friend or worst enemy. Well, it is both. One moment it makes us human, the very next it punishes us for being human.

Can we forget? Not a chance. We don’t forget people we’ve hurt or betrayed or left, as they say, unceremoniously. Our memories are the worst taskmasters, we’ll ever know. We may bury a thing, a memory, a person’s voice, a lady’s touch for a day or a decade, but it remains. And when you think you have forgotten the touch, the smell, the feel, the sense; they are back.

I say discard everything and anything said above, except conscience but conscience. Perhaps, if there is ever a heaven or hell, it has to be conscience. The rewarding heaven for our magnanimous petty good deeds! A hell for our gravely huge sins! All of it, all the good, and all the bad, right between our ears and behind our two eyes is heaven and hell, in a word, our conscience.

We think we are progressing, yes, but only with age. Besides that, this life we live is a vicious circle of guilt. And nothing, nothing ever changes in this life. Or shall I say barely changes in life. Our life is less about our riches, our power, our acquaintances and more about our mind. We could be living in a castle, enjoying all the luxuries life can throw one’s way, but none of them would matter if our mind is a dungeon. Because in the end, it’s our head we live in, whereas rest of the things are just accessories to/for our life.

So if our mind, this place between our two ears, is a dungeon, what makes it a dungeon? Are we born with one, with a pre-set operating system that makes it a dungeon? Or does it mature over time? According to my own understanding, all of the coding of the functioning or evolving of this dungeon is done at a very initial stage, starting right after we are born. The starting period is crucial. And works at a very high place and slows down and tapers over time.

Since this article is entirely based on honesty, and ideas, perceptions and reflections, it is of little academic value and may sound and feel like a rant.

And a rant it is. A rant from a dungeon, even if some people deny that it is not the case, the fact doesn’t change. What changes is how dark it is in there. Some people have it better. Some have a high functioning bulb of ignorance (who in my opinion, are the most blessed ones). Some have a small window to it. Some may have a small tunnel to crawl through to get some light.

Our memories gnaw at us, forgiveness is the only solace and oblivion awaits us.

The march continues for the alive, for the dead, destination has long arrived. Two cheers for life and all it makes us go through.