The Lost, The Found And The Searching
In my musings, I stumbled upon a question, which on first glance seems simple but upon reflection could be quite a philosophical quest.
If you were given a box full of everything you ever lost… what would be the first thing you looked for?
I posted this question on my Twitter and got some interesting responses from those who had lost themselves, time and loved ones to those who had lost toys, glasses, artwork and cosmetics.
Some of the responses were deeply profound and others seemed less on the surface but I am sure upon digging into the narrative behind the lose one would find an intricate tale and an encompassing sentimentality, that made of all the things you lost, this being the first that popped into your mind.
My forever lost and never found is bangle bracelet, a solid cylindrical band of polished steel. It belonged to a childhood crush, who got it from a grandmother, who in turn had got it from her mum, a connection to their homeland an ocean away, and I had lost it.
Growing up I was a precocious reader with a voracious appetite for books and in my class, she was the only person book body count rivaled (if not surpassed my own). Whenever a new book was added to the library we raced to see who would read it first or who would finish first. Her father an expatriate doctor, had a house with a room full of library shelves packed with books and some days after school, he let us peruse his vast collection.
She had a set of bangles on her arms and every time she moved her hands they jingled almost musically. At school where jewelry was not allowed, she got to keep hers on because they were her tradition and culture; looking back I can see the double standards where the black students had to conform to a set rules which did not seem to be binding to the other students. Other students could keep their hair long, while we had to get haircuts almost weekly because our kinky nappiness was unkempt. Perhaps my hair now in a small part is a rebellion to the years of being forced to conform to look a particular way and behave a certain way….
She had shoulder length hair, bracelets on her arms, a dot of red on her forehead, and I was intrigued. Bangles are an intricate part of her Hindu tradition, she told me no woman ever bought the bangles she wore each are a gift and meaning… there’s a story behind each bangle be it a plastic one, a glass one, or even an expensive gold one, from blessings and celebrations to a remainder to not do evil with your hands.
Once I wrote her a little note, but in the way young boys can be horribly cruel, one of the guys snatched it before she could read it and the guys had a field day on my account and teased mercilessly, until they found someone else to pick on…
One day out of the blue, on the last Friday of the school term, she gave me her steel bangle, a gift from her grandmother, from before she was even born, before her parents had left India to seek their fortunes. It reminded her of a home she had never seen or her feet had never been, but home none the less.
I was flattered, I was scared, I was proud, I had butterflies, my hands shook, my palms sweated as she slid it into my hand.
All weekend long I was aware of it on my left arm, until I was starkly aware of its absence. It was gone. I retraced every step every action I had done but of course, an exercise in futility. I dreaded going back to school on Monday and was somewhat relieved when she was absent from school, then a bit worried as the days drew towards the school holiday and she had not attended class, then schools closed.
On the last day of school we moved to another town and in the next term, I begun a new adventure at a new school, made new friends and I never saw her again.
I have a charm bracelet on my arm now, it has no particular meaning but I like to kid my nephews and tell them I wore it when my hands were tiny because it seems almost impossible to remove( at least not without a pliers and hacksaw)