ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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​Aid to Forgetting

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To hear the poem read out by the poet, please click below

 

Step One. Clearly remember

what you wish to forget. Note

every detail that must be

unmemoired. Leaving nothing

to chance, bring with the

pied piper’s patience and precision,

all rats out of memory holes,

for reckoning is important,

even in an effort to lose.

Step Two. Convince yourself

why this must be done. Avoid

falling into empathy traps. Do

not travel around the idea.

Travelling tends to erode the

ego. Hold on to your grievance

like a drowning body clutching

at straw. Use every prejudice to

strengthen your case till the

unclear becomes obvious.

Step Three. Break something.

It were best to choose a habit,

routine or law. Heritage pieces,

as long as they are part of the

chronology, will also do. If

they are hard to break, rename

them. Alter their covenance.

Declare they will, henceforth,

remind you of something else.

But break something you must,

even if it is trust, for violence

alone can keep rage poised

restlessly at the edge.

Step Four. Renarrativize since

one story can only be defeated

by another. Craft a tale that suits

you best and superimpose on your

selected material. Some parts may not

agree to begin with but keep trying.

There will always be a plot that

twists your way. Find it, embellish

it till the new story is too attractive

to let go. Then fit into it. You will

see your destination clearer now.

Step Five. Try remembering what

you forgot. There is every chance

things have blurred in your head

and will not respond to recall. Try

anyways. If the dizziness persists,

you have successfully forgotten.

But it so happens, the mind seldom

deletes all. Some files will surface

years later and completely out of

place. If they beget nostalgia or

regret, that will be the real test

proving you had forgotten. These

may also be times you will wonder

if it was at all, necessary to forget.

But take a sedative and move on,

always sanguine you have done well.

 

[Note: Within the archive of personal history and experience, forgetting mostly takes place unaided. Memories randomly manifest, recede, shape-shift, resize, and acquire new contours in us as life traverses more time and places. However, when the subjective fashioning of memory becomes a political tool in public life for superimposing new narratives on the old in a blatant appeal towards historical re/vision, such violent epistemic plunder can only be borne through a conscious psychological strategy of forgetting. Like unrequited lovers, unrequited citizens, too, must take recourse to therapy to survive power.]

[An audio recording accompanying this poem is available on the EPW website.]

 

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Updated On : 5th May, 2022
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