Land of lost things

The twilight zone where everything we misplace finds its way and waits to be reclaimed:

On a recent flight, I lost a Kindle that I’d been reading, and which I must have left behind on the plane. The airline’s lost-and-found department couldn’t trace it for me, and its whereabouts remain a mystery.

It was an old, well-used device, with little or no intrinsic value, and unlikely to tempt theft. So what happened to it, where could it have gone?

The unfound Kindle, like the hollow space left when a tooth is extracted and which we keep probing with our tongue, acquired a presence born of absence, which persisted even after I’d bought a new, updated replacement.

The disappearance of my old Kindle – inexplicable, untraceable – became a nagging cavity in my mind, making me think of all the many things which I’ve lost over the years without knowing how, or sometimes even when, they got lost, through misplacement, or oversight.

Whatever happened to that watch, a Tissot, which was given to me by Bunny’s dad when I married her, all those years ago? If ever there was a keepsake surely that was it, and yet, somewhere along the slipway of time, I lost track of it, or it lost track of me, neither to find each other again.

I’m sure it didn’t get stolen. So did I give it for minor repairs and misremembered to collect it in the harum-scarum of workday schedules?

Or that copy of James Thurber’s The Thirteen Clocks which I bought when it was remaindered from The Saturday Club library, and which I’d reread every now and again and which unaccountably went missing when we shifted from Calcutta to Delhi, a long while ago. Did it fall into some crevice of forgetfulness on the part of the packers and movers?

All of us have such mysteriously missing pieces in our lives, like an incomplete jigsaw puzzle. Perhaps they all end up in a limbo, a Land of Lost Things, a realm that harbours not just inanimate objects, such as timepieces or books, but also the miscellanea of intangibles, dreams and aspirations left by the inattentive wayside, planned goals that never materialised, the road not taken, the turning not made, the pledge left unkept.

All these, and more, find a home in the Land of Lost Things, a domain whose other name is Memory.



Views expressed above are the author’s own.


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