India Uncut

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Thursday, April 28, 2005

The fondling of memory

Mid Day reports on the predicament of a lady named Shyamala Sharma:
“We had just finished celebrating our son’s naming ceremony and had gone to sleep. When I felt someone fondling me, initially I thought it was my husband who was sleeping with the kids nearby and I didn’t mind. But then he was acting strange as he didn’t answer my questions and when I went to switch on the light, he pushed my hand away,” said Shyamala.

When she finally managed to switch on the light, she got the shock of her life when she realised that it was not her husband but her neighbour, Nitin Sonavane.

Her husband "then beat up Sonavane", and took him to a police station, but he was "let off in under four hours". Sharma was quoted as saying:
We thought he would be locked up for good, but were shocked to see him dancing in a wedding nearby the same day. He even threatened my husband that he would teach him a lesson. I am terribly frustrated.

The bit that interests me here is how the memory of that event will shape itself in Mrs Sharma's mind. At the time she was being "fondled", she thought her husband was doing it and, it would seem, she enjoyed it. Later, when she found out that it wasn't Mr Sharma but Scoundrel Sonavane, she presumably revised her memory, and it became an unpleasant experience for her. In fact, it would be correct to say that she was fondled not once, but twice: once, in her impression at the time, she was 'caressed' by Mr Sharma; after that, and this was realised in retrospect, she was 'molested' by Scoundrel Sonavane. There were two events, one an imagined one in real time, the other a real one in hindsight.

Please don't imagine that I am drawing any moral conclusions from this idle musing or prescribing any leniency towards the culprit. Scoundrel Sonavane must get his due. Dancing in weddings is not on.
amit varma, 5:30 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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