Things that stuck with

The serenity of the night calms the soul, with occasional hustle of the students and the humming of the passing buses. It is probably more than half a year since I last stepped on the road of my school in my running shoes. New graduate students’ accommodations sprouted within this half a year when I was missing, new roundabouts caught me by surprise, and many areas fenced up for even more accommodations and research facilities. But still, the journey round the school remains the same, the air, the streetlights and the crickets. And all same things remind me of the same past.

We were taught the various methods of remembering physical concepts and biological pathways. Memory palace, mnemonics, repetition and even cramming. All works its magic in helping us store information and formulas in the long term memory, allowing us to recall the thoughts even after a long period of time. It is also what sports coaches advice athletes to do, to constantly repeat and practice a movement such that the body ‘remembers’ the motion, allowing the body to retain the ‘muscle memory’, so that the act comes naturally when necessary. Memory palace works by relating ideas with the locality of an object, and then navigating through the palace allows us to retrieve the ideas table by table, room by room.

The method that I can most relate to is probably this repetition. The repeating of an incident in fact, so much that it doesn’t go off even if I want it to. The memories still remain vivid in my mind, as though I’m reliving it everyday. Probably it serves as a reminder by the body, of what I told myself and failed to follow through. And whenever a similar situation occurs again, the memory seems to smack the back of my head, bringing up episodes of the past.

And thus, whenever I step back into familiar grounds, the smells, the sights and the sounds work in unison to trigger the reminiscence of the incidents, whether I like it or not. Up till now, I still believe I made the right choice, though history proves otherwise. Time will always move forward, leaving only trails of memories of what’s done along its way. Nobody will be able to retrace the steps taken by time, to reenact the exact same happenings as before. However, the smells, the sights and the sounds will persist, and they will not grow old and wither with time. The trio will always act in unison to provide the settings for the past to relive itself. Though, it will never happen again, because time took everything with him.

Alas, the roads may still be the same, but the footsteps will never be.


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