These dreams were woven long back
I came, but to relish
A powerful tool is nostalgia
To take a step behind
As the world marches forward
In reins and rhythm and rhyme
So this might be it. Nostalgia is what we want. Old memories are what we crave for. The reason being simple enough, they induce emotions deeper than just plain thoughts, not just a mere scratch on the surface but a spark that stirs the soul.
It is impossible to resist the curiosity to drive down the memory lane, every once in awhile. To fall in love with an entire era: the people, the notion, the life. Ah, those times! The beginning of every evening conversation. Memories seeping in like a seductress, enchanting as a mystery, enthralling as magic. They come with a drugged ecstasy and leave with a crippling sadness. That, the past can never be touched; that part, can never be felt, is something we acknowledge but barely accept. Period.
So bring to us back our nineties. This is what our hearts crave for. We want the ‘Road Runner’ playing on our antenna TV sets again, we want our radios back on shelves (cassettes on a proud display) or better still, replay the scenes straight out of some typical Indian 90s family scenario and snap a ‘kodak’ moment: captured in a tiny, black and white, never-to-be-touched-on-the-surface reel.
But then I hear my mother quietly humming, engrossed in this medley from this film, ‘An Evening in Paris’, frolicking in an aura of freedom that only blind reminiscence can entertain, golden on a blank canvas, and I know, somewhere I do know, she belongs to the seventies. Yes, not the nineties but the seventies; that swanky age of ambassadors, colorful polka dots ‘spotted’ everywhere.
And how can we forget our war-fanatics, the collectors of an era shredded with endless battles, the lovers of the forties. What about the jazz-on -the-jukebox (okay, but you got it!) roaring twenties with classy pebbled streets and ladies looking ‘brilliant’ in those glittering flapper dresses?
You see, every bit of it is special. Yet none so sweet. Every age rejoices in its own glory, memories, paradigm and consequences. But does that make it ‘the golden age’ of humanity?
They are, but, our own perceptions, the way we choose to ornament it, in memories, through stamps and post cards, immortalised in literature or emboldened through notes. Maybe, just maybe, it is the people who lived then, who make the era immortal in pages, an unforgettable incident or just an idea flagged with imagination.
The critically acclaimed 2013 flick, ‘Midnight in Paris’ beautifully depicts the notion, with our protagonist’s desperate urge to live through the golden age of humanity, by his perception, the twenties. But when desire turns to reality one night, with a stroke of blind luck (and some magic!) actually landing him in the twenties, he learns that the era might not be so golden after all.
So maybe the concept of a golden era is rightfully flawed. Maybe there was never one, but it was just a figment of our imagination and the work of countless historians who painted it golden. You see, no period in time was perfect. We are the ones who add the sheen of perfection. So what, if Utopia never existed in reality?
In our own personal haven, ‘Nostalgia’ is where we find solace whichever era it belongs to. To each his own. So what if reality says otherwise?