Monday, November 14, 2011
It’s been only 4 years now. Since my visit to the US.
I remember my room in the Marriott hotel in Folsom. I remember the car park. Every morning, we would get into an SUV or some other car and drive out, take a right and head towards El Dorado Hills. It was a long straight road with a dip in the middle and as we reached our destination, we saw the words ‘EL DORADO HILLS” etched on a hillock by the side of the road.
As I think of this ride, I remember driving on the left of the road and also find myself sitting to the left of the driver, in my memory. Although this is impossible. For in the US, people drive on the right of the road and you always sit to the right of the driver.
It’s not always that my intellect corrects me whenever I visit this part of my past.
But when I am corrected, I construct the correct picture in my mind – the picture in which we were driving on the right side of the road and I was sitting to the right of the wheel.
But the correct picture, the true picture is always a ‘construction’. It is never a ‘recollection’.
It is the same when I recollect the ride back to the hotel from work with Jim, my teammate.
Once I rode back from work with Mike, the guy married to a Gujarati and always talked about Channa Masala. I was suffering from stomach ache then. I remember. As we pulled out of the car park and headed out, Mike had braked suddenly. Something had fallen out of the boot and he had jumped out, annoyed. In a minute, he had jumped back in and I had turned to my right to look at him, muttered an apology about not helping, thanks to my stomach pain.
But through all this, I can only remember sitting to his left as he was at the wheel.
Most of the time, I pass by this memory casually, on to the next picture, without realizing the technical wrong in this picture. But occasionally, when I am interrupted by this realization, I stop and construct the correct picture. Mike jumped out to the left of the vehicle and not to the right, jumped back in, and I turned to my left and not right, to look at him and apologize. His frame was not against the background of the Blue Shield office as I recollect but against the open space where the roads were.
The tricks that memory plays on us. Eerie!