Of leaving memories behind….

“But after all a human being is a human being. And people do feel hungry. So my nephew, I remember that he told me that the coin was khota, damaged. And I cried. Then I put my hand in my other pocket, and I found a letter of my father’s, a letter that he had written to his sister-in-law. It must have been in that pocket by chance. And I had one chaddar—a shawl—of my father’s, sometimes I would read the letter, sometimes I would touch and kiss the shawl. I kept that letter for many years. Now I don’t know where it is. Whenever I was full of grief at something, I would weep, I would take comfort form it. But tears are also a good sign. All that overflowing is good. How much I cried that day when I learnt that coin was damaged.”—a 1947 India Pakistan partition story from The Other Side of Silence, Urvashi Butalia.

“The women sat among the doomed things, turning them over and looking past them and back. This book. My father had it. He liked a book. Pilgrim’s Progress. Used to read it. Got his name in it. And his pipe—still smells rank. And this picture—an angel. I looked at that before the fust three come—didn’t seem to do much good. Think we could get this china dog in? Aunt Sadie brought it from St. Louis Fair. See? Wrote right on it. No, I guess not. Here’s a letter my brother wrote the day before he died. Here’s an old-time hat. These feathers—never got to use them. No, there isn’t room.

How can we live without our lives? How will we know it’s us without our past? No. Leave it. Burn it.”—passage from Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck.

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