Mynti is young. “Young” can be a strange word sometimes. It means that the person is in the early phase of the transition of their life-path. It means that they have more hopes than they have regrets. More unbroken dreams, less failed utopias, less bad memories.
So youth is not easily defined by someone’s age. If someone had had an early onset of rough experiences and challenging times, whether in real life or imagined, their spirit is likely to be weathered. A weathered being is the closest to the cultural position of an old person.
But Mynti was young. And young people can do very instinctive things. They don’t even have a fully formed idea of who they are and what they should be doing. They do things to spite other people, they do other things to prove things to themselves, they do some other things on a whim. And sometimes it is all of them together.
Mynti was young and she also had amnesia.
She had her meals three or four times a day because she could not remember if she had already eaten. So, she was also obese.
Now, being amnesiac and being obese do not go well together. She kept buying the wrong clothes for herself (because she thought she was size zero when she was not). She had a dissociative reaction when she saw herself in the mirror (because she thought she was size zero when she was not). She kept thinking she did not need to work out and she did not need to cut down on her calories (because she thought she was size zero when she was not).
She couldn’t sustain relationships because she kept forgetting her lover’s name.
She couldn’t keep a pet because she kept thinking why was this animal in her house.
She couldn’t love herself because she kept forgetting who she was.
She couldn’t love the world because her idea of what the world was kept changing every hour.
Mynti did not have it easy and she knew it. She knew that she had been dealt a tough hand and no amount of forgetting was going to let her forget that. So, one day she decided she had had enough.
She decided to volunteer to go on a one way mission to Mars. She very well realised that she might never come back. She knew there were simpler ways to die. But it was the most difficult way to live. What were the chances that it would be possible to make a colony on Mars and live there? Very slim chances. But if indeed it was possible for humans to live on Mars, she would learn to live. If not, she would die.
It felt like a good gamble to her. If at all she was forced to live, she would. Else she would slip away. She liked the idea of living as the result of a loss. Life as a worst case scenario.
Maybe she was a pessimist. Maybe she was a fatalist. Maybe she had given up. She would never know.
She had forgotten every friend, every family member, every caregiver that she ever had. She didn’t ever leave home because she could not think of any place to go. But this state of mind did not trouble her. She had infinite patience. She never got restless, she never got bored. She didn’t have any plans or any memories of her plans failing.
This mental state was a kind of peace. A kind of peace that is not frothy. What is the immediate result of this kind of peace? A kind of peace that placed her bang in the centre of the moment. And once she was in the centre of this moment, what did she do? She allowed herself to collapse and not try to rebuild again. In the fabric of time that only amnesiacs can live in, there are air fish that swim in the air. These air fish got into her hair when she stopped resisting.
In her hair, these air fish tugged and pulled and different nerve endings in close proximity to her brain. They started being able to trigger thoughts in her head that reminded her of an episode many years back. This episode was about the time that she was lying unconscious on the ocean floor. She was still breathing but just barely. In allowing herself to collapse, all the energy that she spent every minute to keep herself going, stopped getting spent. She was observing and enjoying the small streams of water that were passing through her fingers.
But this story is about how Mynti fought her condition. About how she fought amnesia.
And how did she fight her amnesiac condition?
She practiced a very unique method for this struggle. She first started putting herself in situations that did not tax her very much. These situations were not demanding. They did not make her feel deficient in any way.
For instance, she placed her chair at a 45 degree angle. She sat on it. And she stared at the terrace.
She went to a public park. She sat on a bench. And stared at an ant struggle her way through the sand on the ground.
She put some water on boil in a tea kettle. And heard the whistles as they went off periodically.
She did these activities for two weeks.
And then she stopped feeling any anxiety to remember anything.
She still did not remember if she had any cousins. She still did not remember if she had a job and how much money she had in her bank account.
But she felt no pressure to remember these details either.
Maybe Mynti had fought her amnesiac condition. Maybe she had done this by making peace with the passage of time and the need to know.
The need to know is one of the most oppressive urges that we hold in our being.
We can never really know. Either what we are doing. Or why we are doing whatever we are doing. Or even if we are doing anything at all or not.
But we keep trying to represent our situations in formats that make us feel we know. It makes us feel that we are more in control.
But are we truly able to control anything at all?
Of all that we know, what is a belief and what is a glimpse of the actual?
We do not have any access to the actual.
After Mynti had freed herself from the compulsion to know, she started being able to experience small pockets of joy. These pockets did not connect and form islands of happiness. But she did not need to be happy.
Feeling joyful every now and then was enough.
She started discovering many more formats of activities. One day she gazed at a star cast night sky for twenty-three minutes and was fully absorbed.
Then another day she boiled the milk and water for her tea on a slow flame for thirty-seven minutes. The visual texture of water and milk boiling is like a volcano erupting. It looks like a land mass shifting to yield altogether another form of reality itself.
“I like shadows. Messages are periscopes.” A voice was starting to bubble up and become active in Mynti’s mind. This voice played in her head. It became an audio track that became an utterance from her lips.
She did not know any specific people to speak to. She would just find herself saying random things to random passers-by on the city street outside her window.
Not many might have tried to decipher what she was saying. Or they might have just dismissed her as a crazy. But some people actually heard her. And some even thought that she made sense.
She was like a light pole on a high street. Her voice was just another sound-byte within a din of noise and clamour in the bazaar.
The news was brimming with another story meanwhile. This time not an asteroid collision but a “cloud of weather changing particles” was on collision course with the Earth.
In a dessert like Obnululu maybe it would rain all the time. Maybe the hills would become really hot. Maybe most people would die?
It was a good thing Mynti did not understand the news. It was a good thing she did not have a circle of friends to push her into any fear.
While this inter-galactic cloud of weather changing particles slowly floated towards our planet, Mynti went about her days just like any other. She woke, she slept, she got absorbed in mundane activities.
Like when there are elections in a country and the birds and camels and other wild-life just go on as if nothing happened. And nothing has happened in a significant enough way for it to be registered by anyone except the members of the country-specific cabal.
Nothing ever happens and some of us find it very uncomfortable. To battle this discomfort we manufacture narrative and continuity in our heads. Just so that we can believe, falsely if so be the case, that we are indeed in the middle of something.