Human mind is a very powerful thing. Irrespective of what is physically happening around us, it is capable of creating a world of it’s own making, for us to live in, not only for the present but also the past and the future. I learnt about this fact from Toyna when she was six years old.
When Toyna was 4 years old, she had a freak accident playing on a slide in our neighborhood park. Her right elbow was smashed and a sharp bone piece also injured the nerves in the arm. The injury was so severe that at a point there was little hope of ever recovering the movement of her arm. In my mind, this is one of the worst memories of my life. Till date, even the slightest reminder of those days lead to a lump in my throat and a glisten in my eyes. I can still feel her trembling in my arms in pain. I still vividly remember her screaming her heart out in the operation theater calling for me to come in. The moment is so strong for me that it is etched in my mind in the minutest of detail in pain.
Thanks to a great doctor, Toyna recovered completely from the injury in about six months. While the physical wound healed long ago, the memory of those days continues to haunt me. About two years after the incident, during a long drive back home, I tried to casually check with Toyna if she remembered anything about the accident. I wanted to make sure she was not haunted by the memories, like I was. She immediately responded in her usual chirpy self, “I remember Dr. Yusuf who was really nice to me. I also remember Dr. Maqsood who came home for my physiotherapy. I really liked the hospital room where we stayed. It had really nice cartoons and you let me watch cartoons the whole day!” Then she turned to look straight in my eyes and asked, “Mama, can we go and stay in that hospital again some day?” I had to turn my face away to hide the tears in my eyes. I had no words to answer her question.
The exact same incident which had scarred me for life, had left such a beautiful memory in the mind of Toyna. That too, when she was the one actually going through the pain and I was a mere spectator. That day, Toyna taught me that our mind has the power to create our world exactly the way we want it to be. In our mind, we choose to remember what we choose to remember. These memories create visions of our past lives that we carry into our future. So if we feel that the past has been cruel to us, maybe it is what we have chosen to remember from the past.
Since this moment 5 years ago, whenever I am haunted by my memories of the past, I pull out this memory of Toyna sitting in the car with me, happily wanting to go back to hospital room, as if it was a the best 5 star hotel she had ever visited. If that is a happy memory for her, I have not a single memory in the world which is not happier than that.