Tuesday, April 18, 2017


I have been wondering quite continuously for the last couple of years that should I rather invest my time in re-reading all that I have already read instead of reading anything new as my retention has become so superbly shitty. But then, the entire thing about variety comes up and I continue to read, piecemeal, forgetting what I just read before I have even had the time to move on. Sometimes, I remember some tiny piece of an idea, or plot device, often forgetting the book or even the characters involved. This ability of things to get so spectacularly smushed together in my memory, without any hope for clarity has been a cause of deep worry and anguish.

I have recently however, discovered the beauty of remembering something long forgotten and the joy of rediscovering it. It is almost a new experience, but tinged with nostalgia making it somehow deeper because you are simultaneously experiencing the same idea as two different people. It is a process of understanding yourself as much as it is about interpreting what you are reading or watching.

We used to have this Oxford reader through standards fifth to eighth and very often we were introduced to fragments of chapters of various books which we would then hunt down and read. Sometimes, the books were too advanced for us - I tried reading the unabridged version of Nicholas Nickleby at the age of 11 and it really put me off Dickens for a while. But it was also a way of reading books which we would probably have otherwise never picked up. Three Men in a Boat was one of those books and so was Gerald Durrell's My Family and Other Animals.
I was watching Graham Norton and  Keely Hawes was talking about a show she was in. I didn't even catch the name of the show, but I was intrigued by the little video they played and after some googling I found out the show was called The Durrells. A faint memory of that  Oxford reader came back to me and all I remembered was that there was a boy who had housed a nesting spider/fly in a matchbox which had been upset and caused uproar. It is a lovely show and I am looking forward to the next season, but what was totally adorable was remembering how I had first reacted to the story thanking the stars that I did not have brothers and the general squeamishness caused in a class full of preteen girls all either recounting tales of horrid brothers or others responding with adequate horror with some badass future Arya Starks recounting their own delight in creepy crawlies. I have commenced re-reading the book and have found that it was a part of a trilogy, thanks to the modern marvels of the internet.

The moral of this long winded recollection being then, that while you have to embrace your own shortcomings as far as recollection and recall are concerned, sometimes, it is worth forgetting for a while if only to remember later at a more opportunate time.

Here's the trailer for The Durrells - it is a wonderful, quirky and funny programme and has given me a lot of ammo for a later piece on families that discuss things and precocious children. The trailer leaves a lot to be desired, but I wish that anyone who does read this, goes ahead and watches the show.

The Durrells


Sanjukta said...

I am glad that I'm not the only twenty-something old with this problem! I recently bought two books (for some reason, I can't go through airports without buying a paperback) and realized BOTH TIMES, halfway through the first chapter, that I had already read them before :( It was eventually a good read because I had almost completely forgotten the story plots but a tiny part of me still regrets that I had to re-read them (but obviously it was too much information for my tiny brain the first time around)

Photogenic Devil said...

You're a girl after my own heart - you always pick my favourite pieces to comment on !

I wrote another one where I think all this forgetting and vague general ideas are actually contributers to your cultural consciousnesses - so we'll muddle through anyway !