I dreamt that I had lost my memory. I was in a hotel where I recognized a strange man. Then suddenly I lost sight of him, and saw, that I was lost too. I couldn’t remember the name of the hotel, my room number, or who my strange bearded companion was. I had lost my luggage and my phone as well. But throughout, I remembered my mother’s phone number and kept thinking I must call her and tell her that I had lost everything, including my memory, but I was fine.
In waking life too I find myself losing my memory. I can’t remember names of friends, of films, of things I would have never forgotten at an earlier time. But some memories remain, however hard I try to not remember. They come gushing in, like the time when it seemed I was dying, but the world had no memory that I had ever existed.
I wake up in the morning to find a strange, affectionate text from a bearded friend. He’s telling me I’m lucky that whatever happened to me happened when I was young. It’s a lesson. Remember everything, he says wisely. How do I tell him last night I lost everything, including my memory, including him?
I get double vision often. It goes away on its own but it’s quite annoying. A ghostly after-image follows everything you see. I look into the mirror and see four eyes and two mouths – an apparition. The double vision is even more pronounced when looking at fine things, like text, or like the hands on a clock. Right now the time is both 5:20 and 4:15.
A friend once joked that I had gotten lucky and was getting to see everything a bit extra. I did see it once, in a dream, years ago, where I glimpsed both the past and the future. My grandmother had just died and it was the day, according to the Hindu calendar, which was going to be the soul’s last in the house. My dead grandmother was weeping for me, because I would be facing a lifetime of hardship and torment. Luckier people in the family dreamt that she was distributing sweets. My grandfather, paralyzed by his own grief, tried to explain that she was crying only because she loved me. But I was convinced that a ghost crying was a bad omen. And the diagnosis of my illness was concrete proof of that.
A Reiki practitioner I would meet later would say that healing would happen if only I wouldn’t come in my own way so much. My poor grandfather, nearly blind and suffering from dementia, died saying the same. Things did get better eventually, and my grandmother seems to have stopped haunting me for now. Ah, as I finish writing this, my vision too has improved. The time is 5:40 and only 5:40. But who knows, tomorrow I may look into the mirror and see that without the extra accoutrements of four eyes and two mouths, I resemble my dead grandmother.
Divya Sachar is a Delhi based writer and filmmaker.