Friday, February 5, 2010
I do have a strong attachment to places, not in the materialistic nor in the nationalistic sense. I had a discussion about that recently. I feel that I leave traces of me in places which makes me feel that I own them. The memory of the place becomes my own history and I adore history. As early as 10 or 11, I embarked on a project to learn the personal history of my family, the tiny hidden memory details. The task was not easy. My grandfather would tell me about that lady who died of unknown causes. When I asked to know more, he would say, that was not important. Only after insisting, he would tone down his voice to tell me that some people said that she died of Cholera but the truth is that she died of a "shattered heart", these were the words he used, when she learned that her beloved boarded a ship and never returned -or was it that "her heart exploded"?. Who is talking about history now. Let's get back to places. But places and history for me are one. What matters is my place and my history in this world. For that, places for me become the landmarks of my existence. They only exist for me because I there existed. Take my office for example, I am dearly attached to that small world where I spend more than one third of my waking hours. Although I don't practically own it, but I definitely own what it has become. The place takes the shape of your habits: the wall becomes the wall where you lean back and the framed photos become the resting space for your eyes. They become yours. I personalize the spaces I own and when I leave they remain in my memory as sweet as my first teddy bear. Stairs. Those are my favourite public places. Wooden benches for two. Corners. Coffee houses. Footpaths. As weaker my memory goes, as stronger my feeling towards places grows. I forget what I did or what I said on those giant old stairs but never how it felt to be there and what it feels to look back. Strange.