Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Looking back with regret

We look before and after,
And pine for what is not:
Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.

-from 'To a Skylark by Percy Bysshe Shelley

It was the time when I had just passed from a coveted institute, tweaked my sense of humour, had a good job, was happily married, lived in a good house in Mumbai (everyone who has stayed in Mumbai know how important that is) and was about to conquer the world. At this time, my mother and sister came from Kerala to stay with us for a couple of months. It was their first visit to Mumbai.

One day I was taking them around the city, showing them the sights which they had seen only on postcards (they always look better on postcards). Sometime during the trip, I got miffed at something (I don't remember what it was; it must have been quite trivial) and I started acting like a million dollars. I was in a huff and did not speak much for the rest of the trip. Jaya doesn't remember the incident. Most probably my mother and sister also don't remember it.

In this TEDtalk, Daniel Kahneman talks about the dominance of the remembering self over the experiencing self and that what we remember is the ending of an experience. I remember the unhappy note on which the trip ended but I don't remember the pleasant occurrences that must have happened earlier. (This blog is being written by the remembering self. The experiencing self must have been quite different. And memories can play tricks.)

Oft, when on my cot I lie in vacant or in pensive mood, the incident flashes upon that inward eye which, Wordsworth assures me, is the bliss of solitude. But my heart with pleasure does not fill.


  1. wow !!! well explained even a small incident !!!
    ya suresh even i do wonder many a times why these monuments n buildings n even naturural scenes look better in picture n postcards !!!!!:P :P

  2. Interesting!!!Surprisingly,I remember my happy times very well but memories of tough times always seem hazy-nature's way of healing,I guess.Your post put me in thinking mode-trying to associate the experiencing and remembering selves...no luck,there..