In the last few days I came across many reports that spoke of Manmohan Singh’s appointment as Finance Minister in 1991, and the turnaround in the economy he engineered. Repeated references to the year, 1991, triggered a train of thoughts.
What did I do in 1991, I wondered.
It was the year I completed my schooling, my 12th standard. At the beginning of the year I donated my tonsils. Then there were a couple of picnics with schoolmates; those were our last few months together, and we wanted to have some fun outside the school boundaries. There were many group photographs. There was also a threat from a dada of our class asking me to stop “going behind” a girl I rather fancied. He fancied her too, but his threat was along the lines of “she is my sister; leave her alone”. I left her alone.
Then came the board exams – bad – followed by entrance exams – worse. I then had to move to Bangalore for my graduation (under-graduation, if you follow American terminology). New place, new college, new hostel. The hostel was managed by a strict octogenarian who switched of the hot-water boilers by 7 am (so we all had to finish our bath by then), peeped into our bedrooms from time to time (curtains were forbidden), and held a roll-call at dinner time to ensure no one was out late (we jumped over the gates after dinner anyway).
Sketchy details, at best. A pity, really, because memories are our biggest wealth – the more we have, the wealthier we are. How do we preserve this precious commodity?
Of the different ways to preserve memories, letters, journals and photographs are the ones that come readily into mind. Photographs are common; the other two less so. Had I maintained a regular correspondence with someone during those years, my treasure chest labeled “1991” wouldn’t appear so depleted. Had I maintained a journal, the details would probably have been richer.
I hope not to carry such regrets about 2004. I now have a blog; I have to maintain it well.