That's a lovely amalgamation - places, people and memories! Many times the phrase 'I miss Bombay,' or 'I miss my school' gets me into a heavy duty thinking. Do the people miss the place because they miss the people or because of their memories of the place; do people make the predominant memories of people or is it the other way round? Smells, songs, food and many other aspects make memory but do all the afore mentioned qualities merge with people to give memories? Can't smells exist independently in someone's memory or for that matter can't songs exist independently? Well, its an intricate question which cannot be answered with a direct 'yes' or 'no'. Songs of a certain period are always connected to a love relationship of a certain age. Nothing can diminish the corny love song 'Nothings gonna change my love for you' by George Benson during the years when love flourished in school days which later gave way to 'Hello' by Lionel Ritchie and many more such songs. Now for places - certain corners where one cycled, certain shops where one had stick ice creams, etc are lovely memories which fade in and fade out (to use a term from cinematography). Now, the smells - the smell of the earth when it just begins to rain can conjure up the most romantic outbursts which is not age-specific. During various stages of my life so far, the smell of the earth has never failed to enthrall my being.
A recent conversation with a student of mine made me think of this topic. When he said 'The place X does not fascinate me anymore as all the people I used to know are no longer there.' Well, I asked him 'What about the place itself?' 'Does it not enliven you?' He replied with a blunt 'I don't know' and it led to a silence in the process of our conversation. Maybe both of us were thinking about places, people and memories.
An excerpt from a lovely love song by John Denver and something about memories too:
"Perhaps love is like the ocean
Full of conflict, full of pain
Like a fire when it's cold outside
Thunder when it rains
If I should live forever
And all my dreams come true
My memories of love will be of you."