Image owned by Madhusudanan Parthasarathy at https://www.flickr.com/photos/mapartha/
Nostalgia is a curious feeling for an amnesiac. Fragments wash over you like red ocean tides before a warm twilight, a mood but without narrative. Having never encountered these images in my long travels across distant galaxies despite knowing their names, I grow increasingly forlorn. However, I assure myself that such a longing is one of the few things that is genuine and may someday lead me back to my origins. A chance encounter with a spiral-shaped galaxy bodes well for I am reminded of some of my earliest memories some several million light years away.
I enter the galaxy with an unaccustomed familiarity of all its constellations. I am sure that I’ve never explored this region before and yet, each glance of shimmering stars, the dance of comets along perilous tracks, the phases of planets replaying age-old tunes evoke waves filed with mixed sentiments. I knew my forgotten past lay amongst one of these solar systems. Why I have forgotten remains still a mystery.
Amongst all the possible destinations in my purview, one emerged as “wanting”, like the dying glimmer of light of a pulsar on the verge of ceasing. This subtle nudge of curiosity would soon transform into the strongest of desires to “help” the straggler, to give one’s last breath to a drowning progeny. Overcome with such uncharacteristic urgency, I beam towards a darkened planet in ruins. This is not the first time that I’ve encountered relics of life before although it is much more seldom that I would encounter life itself. Awash between red tides and under twilight curtains kneeled a young humanoid girl in a white gown. Beneath her in the gentle currents of the ocean’s caress stood the reflection of a crimson moon. The girl’s eyes were closed and her hands were clasped as if anticipating a miracle. When she came to and saw my presence, the following transpired:
A: Welcome home.
Z: I feel as if I’ve relived this moment many times. Have we met? Can you tell me what home is?
A: You and I are one. We are entangled aspects of the collective spirit of an old humanoid race that once inhabited this planet. Amongst the various aspects of our race, you embody Sehnsucht, the longing for a distance place, an alternative or missing way of life.
Z: Why did I lose my memory and was overcome with nostalgia for home?
A: As your lived experiences come to dominate and replace older memories, you will begin to long for the memories that are forgotten. To remind you of home, we channel the familiar memory of today through the syzygy of every Lunar eclipse.
Z: What will happen to the other lost memories? Will they remain as fragments of narratives unrealized?
A: On the contrary, these lost fragments will persist as residuals “wanting” to be realized. In time, you will be drawn to them no different from how you were drawn to home.
Upon hearing these words, I felt the simultaneous sense of reprieve, joy, and sorrow. Reprieve for recovering the home that I had nearly forgotten, joy for the anticipation of new memories with each horizon crossed, and sorrow for the inevitable loss.