Imagine all the people



My grandparents met after the war, I think.

There was once I camped out at their house with a video-recorder, hoping to record down the small moments of their lives now, as eighty-year-olds. The morning after I stayed over, my grandmother woke me up with some vehemence. We went out into the corridor, it was 7 in the morning, and the air was fresh, and the sky was blue but covered with a thin, wispy, romantic layer of mist. We did exercises out there, or rather, she did, and I stood there with my camera, looking through the screen and then looking at her, back and forth, again and again. I got what i was there for: to witness a moment, or moments, in the life of these two old people that we never really got to know, even as they tended to us through our childhood. Maybe they knew us, but we never knew them.

I sat them down and got them to tell their stories. As they recalled their lives (they were happy to talk about it) I recorded them down, typing quickly on my computer, spelling mistakes and hasty sentences and all, wanting just to record the details. They had met after the war, in a bar. Before that they had their own separate histories. Both had been married once. My grandmother's first husband died, and then a few years later she met my grandfather, who was a womanizer in his youth, slightly arrogant, irreponsible, possibly aloof. He wasn't all that good-looking, but he headed a construction company (that his father had started) and was okay at his job.

Then I was surprised mostly that they had escaped the war, or maybe it's my own wretched pessimism, because I've always imagined that I would never be able to come out of a war unscathed. I would be caught in the path of a bomb, or be hit by shrapnel, or get targeted by the foreign soldiers who would take me prisoner and torture me, or at least that's what I have always believed.

Anyway, they are old now, my grandparents, and they are always talking about the same things. They do the same things everyday, and they boast about their kids, and they wonder why their grandchildren don't visit them more often. It's our fault, or is it the city's?

I don't know what to make of what I had recorded or heard. Their stories seem to me like a version of everyone else's story, but there was also so much meaning and truth. But still it's all history now, and when you come to think about it, the fact that we are all creating history right now and sitting on our asses and watching the clockhand move an inch to the right, now that's painful and irreversible and somewhat sad.

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