Remona AlyMonday 05 October 2020 Pause for Thought, BBC Radio 2
Cine Film and Future Nostalgia
It was a bittersweet experience for me a few weeks ago, when I made my last visit to a home that I’ve practically grown up in. After living there for four decades, my dear uncle and aunt are moving out from a place that’s housed a whole catalogue of memories.
As we raised our teacups in their boxed up living room for a final goodbye, I could remember a scene from 30 years ago, when all our families were sprawled in this very spot. With some propped up on floor cushions, others leaning on sofas, we waited excitedly for the pull out white screen in front of us to light up, and for the projector to whirl, hum and retell family moments captured on Cine Film.
There was a first swimming lesson while mums were clutching their silk saris by the pool. My brother, on his third birthday party, balling his eyes out when the babysitter’s dog ate his cake. Uncles grinning at the camera, somehow managing to carry off their knitted tank tops and corduroy flares with style.
Thinking of us all together like that, I realise I’m now at the age my uncles and aunts were then, in that living room. I brushed my hair today and found another silver thread surfing a wave through dark locks – and I recoiled, wishing I could turn back time. But despite the anti-ageing lifestyle sold to us in hair dyes, creams and filters, maybe I should be more pro-ageing. I recall the actor, Anthony Hopkins once say in an interview, with a warm smile of wrinkling contentment, “I’m looking forward to growing old’.
The older I get, I tell myself to see every birthday I make it to, not as a burden, but as a privilege. For there is a whole waiting room of nostalgia yet to come.
“Life is a balance between holding on and letting go,” said Rumi, the thirteenth century Muslim scholar and poet. I reckon he’s right. If I only long for the nectar of yesterday, then I’m denying the taste of new sweetness tomorrow. So, I’ll love the past but not cling to it, and look forward to the promise ahead. Hmm, maybe, I should return that hair dye.