Dubai Diaries: Ctrl Alt Del certain memories

In a sense, all relationships require amnesia… for them to evolve into something deeper.


Anamika Chatterjee

Published: Mon 10 Jan 2022, 5:12 PM

“My marriage requires amnesia,” read a headline on The New York Times’ website recently. It wasn’t a clickbait, the article was a personal account of a woman’s ambiguous journey through marriage after 15 years. You know, the time when love boils down to co-existence, and all we expect are easy moments with partners.

The writer seemed convinced that forgetting the not-so-great parts of a marriage are a key to its success. It wasn’t until I read the intro to the piece that the point was driven home — “Do I hate my husband? Oh for sure, yes, definitely.”

As someone who is quite far from reaching that point of discontentment, I was fairly intrigued by the premise of forgetting and moving on — not because it is unheard of, but because letting go, in general, will determine how far we go in any relationship, unless, of course, it violates all norms of decency.

For as long as I can remember, I have had a painfully short memory (not literally, though) of the times when someone has hurt me or fought with me. In real life, this translates into being absolutely disgusted by someone at one point and then being normal with them after a few days, not out of political correctness but because my mind has a way of pressing Ctrl + Alt + Del on any unpleasant memories.

I remember this one time when I proclaimed to a larger circle that I will “never, ever” speak to a friend who walked out of my birthday party in anger, but then asked her if she liked the cake a few days later. “You really are schizophrenic about people,” a friend remarked casually, critical of how my emotional goalposts keep shifting.

I couldn’t summon the courage to tell her the simple truth that I hate to live with unpleasantness. It’s alright when you co-habit with your rage for shorter spells of time, but when it is prolonged, you own that bitterness as much as that bitterness owns you. This is how I remember the women in my family tackling life.

The flip side of such thinking is that there will be people who will take you for granted, stamp on you a little too often because they know you will heal soon. Some may even read this emotional amnesia as indicative of a low sense of self-worth, but it isn’t. Dealing with the daily wear-and-tear of our minds also makes us volatile and sensitive.

Especially at a time like this when we have to renew the terms of emotional engagement with others because the social setting has changed so much, it is only imperative that we give others a wider berth to slip up, and then gather themselves again. There will be fewer people who will continue to say the right thing to you, do right by you all the time.

The key then is to forget, to let go for the larger cause of friendship and love. This also doesn’t men loving yourself less because you are putting others first, rather it means loving yourself enough to be able to heal quickly.

In that sense, all relationships require amnesia… for them to evolve into something deeper.

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