ARS Iyer - Blog

Memories of Another Day

Human beings have many attributes which stand apart from other species.  It is his ability to store past events in his life, happy or sad, in his memory.  Some memories are recalled in graphic detail and others fade as time moves on.  Some memories are etched in your mind forever and remain so till the end of your life.

You have to begin losing your memories if only in bits and pieces to realize that memories are what make our lives. Our memories are our coherence, our reason, our feelings and even our actions.  Without it we are nothing.

The ability to remember the past, to possess a personal history and to convey our own stories is a precious one.  It is given only to some to recall in vivid details events and happenings that have flowed through one’s life. Some events make a deep impression on one’s psyche that enables one to recall such events or moments despite the passage of time. How much of life consists in not forgetting and this not in terms of recalling experiences happy and sad.   It also means the ability to retain information that we need. It includes operating with enough efficiency so that one is not a liability to others.

It would be interesting to imagine being stuck with amnesia at this moment. The change would be nothing short of dramatic. You will have no notion of who you are, where you live and who your loved ones are.  You will remember nothing of what you have achieved. All the hopes and dreams you had entertained for the future have melted away and disappeared. With advancing age your faculties begin dwindling and your physical attributes diminish.

Personal as well as collective history has instances of failures and disappointments and dredging them can only be painful.  Is there any use in recalling them unless it reminds us and teaches us the futility of anger and animosity?  There are always memories that we must forget and forgive and move away from. And there are the ones we must remember and cherish.  They belong to the treasure chest of our memory for they embody all satisfactions and fulfillment of our hopes.

Personally speaking, I have strong memories of various stages in my life which I have been able to put through in my Autobiography running to more than 200 pages written and published when I was past eighty.  Keeping my memories in all its nuances is a gift of God.


  1. Supriya Sundar

    This is so true Daddy. What would we do if not for our memory. I literally live a separate life with the memories of our 416 days. When the 3 of us are on the phone, 90% of our conversation is about the memories from the past. Sometimes I am surprised I remember so much. Though mummy is no longer physically present amongst us, the memories of our times together keeps me content. Thank you for this wonderful piece.

  2. Ambika

    This is one my favorites among your blogs this far Daddy!! The emphasis that you have placed on memories is completely justified, for without memories there is nothing to edge us on in our lives.. The positive memories are like a surge of adrenaline that keeps us charged everyday.. Like Supriya says the memories of our 416 days are something we can never tire of recalling.. Even if we repeat it umpteen number of times it will still hold a special place in our hearts.. Amma continues to live in our hearts and minds through these lovely memories..

    I remember telling you about this book by Nicholas Sparks -The Notebook- where the lead person in the novel tries to help his wife struck with Alzheimer’s disease by recalling the memories of the times they spent together. Memories certainly play a powerful role in our lives and like you say we must get over the painful memories and cherish the most wonderful and special memories of our lives.

  3. Anisha Parameswaran

    So true. Memories are important as long as we cherish the good ones and overcome the painful ones. Also the other side of it is to cherish old memories and look forward to make new ones.

  4. Sabeshan

    I really love how you have captured the power of memory in words. I totally agree that without our memories, we lose our bearings and meaning of life.

  5. rajamani

    dear ars,

    i have thoroughly enjoyed your autobiography. i was born in badagara, just about north of calicut. my kunjappa used to run the devi sahayam coffee club in tali. another great periyappa, m.s.gopalakrishna iyer used to work for commonwealth trust. all this during 1950 and 60s. i have no one anymore in malabar. i am settled in canada since 1973. God Bless you sir, and hope you bring out more than once a month post in your blogs. . sincerely..rajamani