The human brain is a creation, by evolution or act of God, that never ceases to marvel me. Consider, for instance, how and why the brain selects only some memories to store while discarding others. While I cannot establish this with scientific rigour, I have come to believe through self-observation and some amount of empirical ones that the store of memories in our brain falls into two broad categories. Cherished and painful.
Our minds seem to have a select, Ctrl S auto function, which perhaps functions with one purpose and one purpose only. To embed into our consciousness the principles of life. If memories are deep rooted, we have no choice but to examine them every now and then. Think about it and perhaps, like me, you will agree that our happy memories tell us what we really treasure and value in life, while the painful memories persist till we make peace with the issues that haunt us. Either which way, the bank of memories in our brains tell a story!
It may seem incongruous but I am going to attempt to substantiate the point I am making through the medium of holidays! Why holidays? Well, because I am quite sure that some of the most precious, happy memories we store emanate from holidays we have enjoyed in the past. Question is why?
The best way to answer that question is to take you, the reader, through a journey of the holiday memories that my own brain has chosen to auto save and analyse the possible reasons for the selection.
Daddy, daddy cool!
Come summer, my mother would pack bags and two daughters and take off to spend a couple of months with her parents in Kalpathy, Palakkad, Kerala. I used to love those visits because I was very fond of my grandparents. Besides, I loved the village atmosphere and its soothing daily routine from the prompt ringing of the temple bells calling residents to the morning and evening puja to the ritual of washing clothes and bathing in the river flowing nearby. But of all the summers I enjoyed in Kalpathy, the one that my brain repeatedly flashes across my memory screen is the one holiday that my father accompanied us on. It was also the only ever holiday he took with us. Reason enough as to why my brain chose to auto save memories of this particular holiday?
I know that fathers of today are more particular about taking their families on regular holidays and spending quality time with their kids. But I imagine that the same principle reason why my mind cherished the one holiday I experienced with my dad still holds. And that is, dads are so much more relaxed and fun to be with when they are away from the stress of earning a living and coping with the demands the world places on them. I know my dad was, revealing his fun side, especially on the long, 3-day drive from Bombay (now Mumbai) to Palakkad.
It was this personal memory and the fact that I found resonating memory chords in the minds of quite a few Sterling customers that led to our creating a poster proclaiming that “Holidays are where the best dads in the world are made.”
Remember the opening scenes and the Jame Raho song from the film Tare Zameen Par? It captured the daily morning routine of an urban household living frenetically by the clock perfectly! Actually, W. H. Davies had already expressed it beautifully in his poem Leisure: “What is this life if, full of care; We have no time to stand and stare.”
For those of us who are on the daily run of work, work and more work, naturally the memories we treasure will be of those holidays which gave us ample room to stand and stare at the beautiful canvases created by Nature to soothe and pleasure us. Lulled into a mind state of harmony, we shed away life’s stresses like a snake shedding its skin, and realise that life is still beautiful.
After six years of trying to keep up with financially and otherwise caring for my mother, I finally took a holiday a few months after I inevitably lost her. That trip to Australia was a journey of healing and balm to my stressed soul. So much so, I wrote a piece for Jetwings International, the in-flight magazine of Jet Airways on my return. That article was later re-published on the Sterling blog site. The fact that I still consider Blues Away amongst my best pieces of writing should tell you just how much good that holiday did for my soul. For those who may be interested in reading the article, I have provided a link at the end of this blog.
One with the Universe!
Every person will have their own reasons and perspective on the precise feel-good aspects of holidays. It’s highly personal at the end of the day. For me, the best part of holidays will always be the oneness I feel with Mother Nature and the expanse of the Universe. I tried to capture the essence of this feeling in one of my earlier blogs titled Have you seen God?
Let me attempt here to expand on the feeling. Ever wondered why we seek to holiday in scenic leisure locales? Come to think of it, what’s to stop us from taking off from work and just taking a holiday in the city or town we live in. Ergo, there has to be a reason, right? To my mind, that reason has to be that we intuitively seek the soothing beauty of the greenery that abounds in leisure destinations. Or, the friendly, playful nature of the ocean. That is to say, when it is not storming, of course! Personally, I think storms are magnificent. But, just saying, you know?
I used to hike regularly in the Sahaydris when I was in college. And come back refreshed and reborn each time. But the trip where I came closest to feeling truly one with the Universe was when I visited Avalanche in Ooty a year ago. Again, I seem to write best when it’s heartfelt. Post Avalanche, I wrote a blog for Sterling called Pani da rang vekh ke, akhiyaan jo anju rul de (link pasted at the end of this piece for interested folks).
These then are some of the meaningful reasons why my brain must have decided to store memories from some holidays in the cherished bin. Select, Ctrl S. What are yours, the reader’s, reasons to holiday?
Blues Away: http://blog.sterlingholidays.com/blues-away/