Words by Gabriel Rehmtulla Art by Carla Mosqueda
A human brain is like a treasure chest; a place to store knowledge, memories and experiences.
We collect these memories by the colours and patterns we see with our eyes. Shaped by the music of our surroundings and the scents in the air we breathe. The tastes of what we consume and the ways our bodies react to the emotions these stimuli produce.
The beauty of a memory is that you can bring back an entire event from your past and relive that entire episode in your mind. Yet another intriguing fact about memories is that some of them fade and others reshape themselves over time. As I write this piece and recall my life as far back as I can, there are millions of small yet vivid glimpses of my past that I can feel as if they are occurring now.
A long time ago such a glimpse was me gazing at an off-white ceiling next to a window. It would have been either late morning or early afternoon as I remember the brightness and the warmth of the room. I might have been very young as I cannot remember a time before that memory… Or, so I think?
At this magical moment, I remember the monochrome off-whites of the ceiling and the bars of the cot that I lay in transform into the most beautifully colourful sight I have ever seen in my life; better than any sunrise and perhaps better than any full moon that I will ever see. I remember my mother’s face coming out of a blurry abyss into clear focus leaning down looking at my face. I remember her big and beautiful eyes, darkened by kohl looking right into mine bringing about a sudden urge for me to rise up at this serene smiling face.
Another such memory was from years later when my papa got home from his job. I remember him wearing grey trousers and a white shirt with grey stripes. I remember him picking me up in his arms that were still quite warm as he had probably just come indoors from the blazing sun outside. I remember looking at the front pocket of his shirt, tucked inside were a Kit Kat and a Bounty bar. I remember this with crystal clarity each time I revisit either of these two chocolates; the taste shoots me back to visions of my father in his formals.
Peculiar smells are the strongest trigger for me, resurfacing some of my most evocative memories. Playing in the sand dunes outside our Dubai home with my best friend and neighbour provokes this type of memory. The sea shells and their rainbow lustre amongst the sand. We collected them, placing them in a broken wardrobe we found. In our imaginations, this wardrobe transformed into a spaceship that took us to any place we wished for. We decorated it with toys and branches; I recall the seaweed-like smell of the plants we swiped from around the dunes and bring back to our play home.
In recent times I remember going to my first rave with friends, the Kiss my Grass festival, on Australia Day long weekend. Whether it was the drinks, the music or both – all I remember was a sudden vibration of music, travelling through my body. I felt like I had broken out of my body and suddenly connected with each and every one of those thousands of people dancing there with me. Every person I made eye contact with almost had the same look in their eye of being united. Every time I listen to Armin Van Buuren’s ‘Sail’, it shot that moment back to the forefront of my mind.
Memory, a beautiful collection of journeys that wind through the river of life. Enjoy every moment and make those time conquering memories with those around you.