Memories in the Womb

What is your earliest memory?

I believe for most of us it would be a particular incident or moment etched in our minds when we were three or four years old. My own earliest memory is from when I was about four years old – I remember walking excitedly along with my grandfather, holding his hand tightly – it was the day he came to pick me up from my kindergarten, to take me to the hospital to meet my newborn sister for the very first time.

I often ponder how wonderful it would be if we could remember events from when we were even younger – what if we could remember and recollect memories from when we were yet in our mother’s womb?

In the quiet confines of the womb, we are enveloped in a world of warmth and protection. It is a sanctuary where we grow and develop, shielded from the complexities of the outside world. But can we as tiny, fragile beings, possibly harbour memories of events that unfolded when we were still in our watery cocoons? Could they perhaps shape our personalities or decide the course of our lives even before we draw our first breath?

I have heard my father recount the events of a night when my mother, pregnant and expecting me, had fallen ill. During those days, we used to stay at a house where there was no direct access for transportation. This left him with no choice but to carry my mother (and me) along a railway track for nearly two kilometres to the nearest hospital. My grandfather walked along, holding a torch to ensure that my father did not trip and fall on the wooden sleepers. I can't help but wonder if, within the confines of my mother's womb, I could sense the tumultuous journey taking place outside. Did those vibrations and fluctuations ripple through the invisible connections between us, leaving imprints of strength and resilience in my earliest memories?

railway

The strength, dedication and tenderness my father displayed that night - could it have etched itself into my subconscious, laying the foundation for a profound appreciation of my parents' unwavering support? Perhaps those memories from the womb, intangible yet ever-present, could explain the depth of my bond with them, a connection that transcends mere biology. Perhaps it shaped the foundation of my own understanding of love, teaching me that it was all about selflessness and sacrifice. Could it be possible that these memories, or echoes, influence the way I perceive my parents - an eternal connection that transcends even time?

While it may be tempting to idealize these memories, it is essential to acknowledge that the womb can also bear witness to pain. In a world marred by tragedy and cruelty, the unborn child is not immune to the horrors that unfold around them. The mere thought of an abusive husband inflicting harm upon his pregnant wife sends shivers down my spine. How does one bear the weight of such darkness? These suppressed memories, lurking in the depths of one's being, may manifest in inexplicable fears, insecurities, or a distorted view of relationships.

I am now inclined to believe that more than just an ability to have such memories, what really matters is being conscious of the potential overall impact they may have on us. It's possible that such early memories can span time and close the gap between the past and present. Whether or not these memories can be consciously recalled or analyzed has little bearing on how significantly they can influence us in forming our perceptions, our interactions with others, and our ability to understand and navigate the world.

For I am convinced that the essence of our existence rests in the interwoven fabric of all our memories - the ones that we can explicitly recall and the ones that have been ingrained into us, even though some of them may be memories in the womb residing in depths far beyond our immediate and conscious reach.


Artwork by Namitha Maria Cherian 

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Comments (78)

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Lynu Kuruvilla says...

A nice read, Dinu.

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DSG says...

Hello Dinu Uncle!!, your story about your first memory and pondering on memories from the womb is so cool! It's amazing how a simple moment like walking to meet your newborn sister can stick with you for so long. The idea that experiences even before we're born can shape us is mind-boggling. That part about your dad's dedication during a tough time - seriously touching. Memories are like this invisible thread that makes us who we are, and your story really got me thinking. Thanks for sharing your thoughts uncle!!

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Raju says...

Loved your writing Dinu. Astounded that you could remember events from your childhood with such clarity. Newfound respect for uncle

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Reeba says...

Hi Dinu

Just read this

It’s amazing narration on your memories

The bond between mother and child is so amazing and beautiful

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Ashly says...

Lovely! I did read about Ammachi too and have to respectfully disagree with your take on feminism there. here is a better take on it even though you do not mention it.

there is a resentment in the feminism now borne out of the irritation of having taken on the financial burden of supporting the home, the husband has not reciprocated by sharing the responsibility at home, not just of the tasks but of care responsibility as well.

it is also about understanding that unhealthy minds lead to unhealthy attitudes of creating fear in order to control. but love how the subconscious memories of your dad's care has made you a healthy and secure individual

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Dinu says...

Thanks Ashly for taking your time to comment - really appreciate it. Yes, with regard to our perspectives on feminism, I guess we will have to agree to disagree and leave it at that

In my mind Ammachi was as good a flag-bearer for feminism as you could find - strong, independent, and absolutely loving her role in managing the family, with no room for resentment or regrets.

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BP says...

Hi Dinu .. just went thru your blog .. very well articulated on your favourite subject "memories"

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SS says...

I am in awe with your writing skills and the articulation of such memories. Very well compiled thoughts.

Just wanted to share that our childhood memories are impregnated in the brain unlike our experiences at a later stage. It's scientifically proven too that alzhimers patients cognitive skills, and childhood memories always get recollected but they otherwise don't remember other incidents which happened in recent times.

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Aby Abraham says...

Dinu, Your curiosity and imagination is thought provoking and worthy of discussion, at this point what we know is that the Baby's character and personality has a lot to do with the parental upbringing from the day he or she is born, not much bearing on what happens in the external world when the baby is in the womb, of course Baby inherit genetical traits from parents like intelligence and one could hypothesize from my comment that I didn't inherit much.

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Aby Abraham says...

European scientists have concluded that singing or playing Music to baby in the womb could have long term positive impact on Baby's brain and Babies have shown ability to recall and respond to simple tunes like" twinkle twinkle little star" they listened to while in the womb when they are out of it. Other than that, no evidence that the feelings and emotions that Mom go through in life as the baby is in her womb is absorbed by the baby instantaneously as mom experiences it, more research is required.

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Jese George says...

Dinu, your writing is vibrant. It's crystal clear about your grandpa 's and father 's concern . And I appreciate the virtues they vested in you.

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Vinitha Mendez says...

Enjoyed reading this piece, Dinu. Hats off to the writer in you

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Vasanthy S says...

Enjoyed reading it mone....God bless you....

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GA says...

Dear Dinu, I read your article 3 times over the last few days. It is a very refreshing look at what makes us who we are. It also evoked a lot of memories of my childhood. I was an only child for 9 years, very close to my mother as my father was an officer in the merchant navy, sailing for 3 weeks and home for a week on a regular basis till he retired. From 2 to 5 years, my mother and I lived with my grandparents and aunts. Those were memorable years, where I learned to read and write Malayalam and appreciate the simple things in life.

Thank you for sharing with me as it took me on a very nostalgic journey. I share your thoughts as I know my mother used to read the bible, sing and talk to me while I was in her womb and later living with my grandparents.

Please continue to put your thoughts in writing as you have done and share whenever possible.

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Jai Shanker Sharma says...

The desire and keenness to question and find the truth is ingrained somewhere in our genes

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Priya V says...

Hai Dinu,

Well presented and written,God Bless you and continue to write out your thoughts.

As the Scripture says in Luke 1:41, the baby in the womb can sense, feel etc in their own way

I often wonder in the same way that in our subconscious mind we have lot of things accumulated,if we could really find out, we ourselves would be surprised and ofcourse mothers womb was the safest and beautifull place to be. GOD BLESS

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GI says...

Beautifully written Dinu. The sacrifices that our parents made for us are beyond words and is the cornerstone of that special bond we have with them. It would have been so wonderful if we could have those memories of when we were in our mother’s womb recalling the lullabies sung, etc.

God bless

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Preetha Roy says...

Man is made up of spirit (that which responds to God), soul(intangibles) & body(tangibles).Human soul is a complex entity having many ingredients - memories being one. You have traced them back to the womb & tied that together with your bond with your parents. That is profound. Nicely worded too.

God bless.

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Kshitij says...

It's incredibly fascinating to learn how you conceive such a deep and thought-provoking topic! Paul, you have a special gift of painting a vivid picture with your words. Keep writing and inspiring us to think beyond what we can imagine and feel. It's truly undeniable that the most secure and comforting moments in this life are experienced within the confines of our mother's womb or in the embrace of our parents. Your post got me thinking: Could it be that the memories we have from our time in the womb, before we understand ourselves as individuals, are similar to superpowers that are inherited without our knowledge? It truly brings to mind the notion that our ability to express emotions such as love, empathy, compassion, gratitude, and more is deeply rooted within us, originating from those very memories. May be that explains the reason why someone raised without any parent may get to hear - "when you said this / did that, you reminded me exactly of your mother/father"

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Arun Thomas says...

Very well written, dear Dinu!

Fully agree with you, although our earliest memories are from around 3 or 4 years of age, there are proven effects of the events experienced by the mother during pregnancy, on the foetus, manifesting later in life. Most of us are lucky that our parents lead a loving and caring life all through, enabling us to replicate at least some if not all of those characters!

Looking forward to more...

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Dinu says...

Indeed Arun, agree completely.

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Jack says...

Your blog just reinforces the grit and determination our parents display in bringing us through each phase of our life. I have met your parents and indeed it was a pleasure to have spent a few hours with them.

Well written Dinu and must say that you have elephantine memory.

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Dinu says...

Thanks Jack

Elephantine size, yes..memory, no way

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Sheny John says...

Beautifully written Dinucha, this reminds me of the bible passage:)

“Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things."

May God continue to bless you

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Dinu says...

Amen.

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Mathew Philip says...

Your thoughts in this article is worth discussing and I love to believe that "the strength ,dedication and tenderness"displayed by your father at "that night" and later has surely shaped the foundation of your understanding of "LOVE,SELFLESSNESS & SACRIFICE"

Great thought!!

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Dinu says...

Thanks Thambichayen

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Gibu says...

Very beautifully presented Dinu.

Well, my earliest memory is.. I remember a day while I was going by bus or sitting in some auditorium. Not sure about that part. But I know my hand was stuck because the person infront of me leaned on to his seat's back rest where my hand was placed. He/she did not realise it. And hence I could not pull it back. I was worried and thought it would be stuck forever.

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Dinu says...

Thanks for sharing, Gibu

Yeah, and that's something else with kids - I remember thinking that situations (both good and bad) will continue to remain so - very difficult to think beyond the present. In some way, I guess that's a blessing too.

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Joy Kutty says...

Interesting perspective Dinu.I also sometimes try to recollect my childhood memories. Difficulty is to attach a timeline or age to those memories. My memories appears out of nowhere at times.

As for the talents and personality traits, they are like flowers which bloom at its own predetermined time! Difficulties we encounter prepare us to face them physically and mentally. I am sure that the baby in the womb is also affected and influenced by the mental and physical struggles.

Interesting area for modern science to investigate.

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Dinu says...

Agree, Joykutty

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Thangachan says...

I was trying to find my earliest memory and it was me and my brothers flying a kite. Awesome writing. You should start writing a book.

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Dinu says...

Thanks for sharing, Thanga

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Vinod Antony says...

Thinking the unimaginable. Memories of being in the womb and how it impacts a person as they grow is something to ponder, and yes, I agree. Beautifully articulated Paul.

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Daisy says...

Dinu,

Wow.. so beautiful

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Shaji Eapen says...

This comment is from Mrs. M. Mathew, my school teacher. Beautifully expressed! Yes, right from the moment of conception our future unfolds, like the petals in the rose bud. Mysteries of our talents, our strengths and our weaknesses so wonderfully compacted in the new-born... no wonder, Our Heavenly Father also looks with excitement as each new creation of His grows into manhood/ womanhood.

I simply loved this write-up.

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Dinu says...

Thanks for sharing with your teacher, Shaji

Please pass on my regards and respect to her too.

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Ranju says...

Beautifully written, Dinu. Your words paint the situation well and brings it to life.

Keep writing.

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SJ says...

When i saw the image first i just saw 2 ppl walking on the railway track, its only during reading that i saw someone was being carried too...beautiful story... I do agree...memories within the womb, the anxieties, the excitment all emotions at some degree do pass to a child...maybe that could explain why each child is different, not sure how twins differ in that sense.

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Dinu says...

Yeh, its a beautiful image - one that conveys the complete mood of the situation.

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Jeron says...

I have a nephew who as a small child was very active and at times when we found it difficult to calm him down, we would make him listen to Kenny G's saxophone music which my sister always listened to when she was pregnant with him. We found that this was the only one thing that could immediately calm him down. I guess this is proof in a way that we do carry down some memories from the womb at least for a while..

Thanks for sharing Dinucha!

I also loved this painting from Namitha

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Dinu says...

Thanks for your own sharing also

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Saira says...

Always in awe of your writing style, Dinu. Simple & thought provoking. The story & the pic depiction by Namitha so vividly took us back to the time. Look forward to reading more from you...

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Ruhi says...

Childhood experiences leave an indelible mark and shape us in complex ways. Perhaps, as you shared,the influence starts in intangible ways, at the cusp, in the womb. Enjoyed reading a new perspective.

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Mathews George says...

Thank you for this autobiographical piece. Our narratives form us. Our Stories make us. Your beautiful writing is a testimony to it. The connection between the womb and our memories, forces me to return to the fascinating paradigm of embodied cognition. Thank you once again for sharing your story.

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Mothy Varkey says...

Thanks a lot for the beautiful reflection on memory. Some argue that hippocampal memories are more vulnerable to forgetting over time compared to semantic memories. As the Czech-born French writer Milan Kundera opines— 'The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting. Wish we could reclaim the memories around maternal 'santuary'. Impressive writing

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Dinu says...

Maternal memories - I know they are sacred to you. Thanks Achen

My new word for the day - hippocampal

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MC says...

Amazing Dinu- the way you write with the real life incident and recollection -wonderful-no words to describe how I felt. Very true how the love and care of mother reflects on us.

Bible says - "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth."

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Dinu says...

And I say Amen to that

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Biju Mangalath says...

My admiration for the (Hysterical) muscle power of Poulose Uncle, a bigger admiration for your grandfather who (perhaps in his Sixties) walked along the uneven/stoney terrain guide-lamping every step of his son.

Great job... as usual Dinu! You did paint the picture well with your 'magic of words' and also Namitha who visualized it with her paint brush.

Let more of such creativities keep coming.

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MJ says...

Very nice writing Dinu.. there is definitely a connection between what a child experiences in the womb and what is happening outside, the thoughts and feelings of the mother. This article has set me thinking.. about my frame and mine when my daughter was in my womb and how she has evolved...

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Sujan says...

Thought provoking article Dinu! Yes the connection between the child and parents starts in the womb.

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George Oommen says...

You have brought out your thoughts clearly in an eloquent style. Keep writing!

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Joel says...

A mother's touch, presence and lullaby can sooth a new born. Definitely is a sign that character that one has is shaped by those encouters.

Beautiful writing. Very thought provoking article.

Simply superb. Thank you for sharing.

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SS says...

Your blog is thought provoking. It should reach everyone.

During my Pregnancy my mother and Grandmother instructed me not to watch horror or violence movies. Maybe it is Myth but I do feel external environment can influence foetus.

I remember when i was small walking with my grandmother and going to relatives house. We used to walk through the paddy fields and she used to tell about her childhood days...I used to enjoy those talks it strengthened our bond. I am blessed to have her has my Grandmother.

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Dinu says...

Thanks for sharing your own memories

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Biju says...

Hi Dinu,

Your article kept me arrested until I finished reading the last sentence....it was very interesting. I believe that that the events outside the womb and the mother's emotions influence the personality of the child. Therefore, its important to treat pregnant women with utmost respect and affection because our actions and words influence the future generation.

Thank you for taking this very interesting topic for your article.

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SM says...

Hello Dinu, Thank you for sharing your blog article, as always so intriguing and thoughtful. One of my acquaintances in the medical field, once did bring up this topic of genetic memory. When the more common physical and behavioral traits are passed on, it's possible that genes carry much more than just that. this was such a beautiful read, Thank you!

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JM says...

Hi Uncle Dinu, your article was very thought provoking making it such a lovely read! To add on to your article, I think it is intriguing that spending 9 months in the womb can potentially create this 6th sense in us that can change our relationship with the people we are close to especially our mothers..

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Sherry says...

Dinucha, memories in the womb is such a nice read taking us the readers through the journey of love and bonding that is unwavering and reminding us of that love we at times forget or overlook.

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MG says...

Loved that recollection of Appan - a gentle giant. I know from my experience that the little one in the womb definitely makes some memories. But to think that some not so nice memories made in the cosy dark carriage may stay with our young ones for a lifetime - is scary. How mindful one must be... how many times have I failed. I pray Lord let not my shortcomings harm our children... let them not carry a load too heavy to bear. Thank you for sharing the power of love.

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Christy Mathew says...

Wow! Very profound thoughts! I love you style of writing!

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Vivin says...

Beautifully penned down article. You have painted a vivid picture with your words :)

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Dinu says...

Vivid Vivin

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SG says...

Lovely piece and totally thought provoking for me. Yes now that I have 2 adult daughters, I see what I felt during my pregnancies in both of them. One thing i cautiously did was to listen to music and sing a lot especially after a day's hard work at the office. That was my way of unwinding! That certainly inculcated music in both of them I believe. I certainly believe that a mother's emotional, mental & spiritual stability is important to the foetus in her womb. It does play a role in the baby's emotions & general development to a certain extent besides eating right!

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SC says...

Dear Dinu I appreciate your writing as it give food for thoughts that generate a life true to self and the society with trust in God. This trust in God fostered in the mother's womb and continues to grow in the womb of the Kingdom of God. May God continue to bless your thoughts, words and actions.

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Nirmal says...

Felt it's not just thought provoking, this article is filled with love and compassion.

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Thilaka Ganapathy says...

Perhaps it shaped the foundation of my own understanding of love, teaching me that it was all about selflessness and sacrifice........ profound thoughts!

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Vinu says...

nice one. agree with everything you wrote - there indeed is a very strong connection to the womb. Some of us are just plain fortunate that the connection is one of love, for many its hate and trauma, as you rightly said. keep writing! (PS. loving your partnership with Nami! Love her visual interpretation of that night..)

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Dinu says...

True, Nami is very talented - though she will not admit it

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Indira says...

Essence of our existence rests in the interwoven fabric of all our memories - beautiful line for a thought I so believe in.

Thank you for this - I could travel in time to those little walks holding my fathers one finger with my hand .. took me back to the flights I would have with mom for saying ‘it’s Achan I want’ for anything and everything… memories are indeed precious - scarred or earned - learnings for better ones.

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MB says...

It was superb. A subject no one has thought of so far, I guess. Very well presented.

My earliest memories are vague pictures of a couple of things when I was three. My mother's kitchen and the low window sill on which she kept her masala boxes - a typical Tamilian kitchen.

And that still painful incident when I was left standing at the bus stand as my parents tried to squeeze into an over crowded bus thinking that I was with either of them. I still remember that scene of that bus moving away.

Really moved by your father carrying your mother in the night over the tracks. A really loving husband! They do say that foetus can hear sounds and see light.

Maybe that's what shaped us. A different thought. Thanks for sharing Dinu.

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Dinu says...

Thank you also for sharing and adding your own memories

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TG says...

Such a heart warming write up. The incident of you in the womb has probably had a profound effect in shaping you at least I like to believe that.

My mum has always told me how she(and Acha) were the happiest when expecting me, being the first and also having had to wait 4 years for me.

Somehow I think it makes my relationship with her special though my siblings may not agree.

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Dinu says...

I agree - but I'm sure your siblings won't

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Santosh Mathew says...

Realistic it is Dinu

Pregnscy stage is the most sensitive stage and the atmosphere we create will reflect on the child.

True science.

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Susan A says...

Beautifully expressed Dinu as always - I strongly believe that there definitely is a connection with parents formed while baby is growing in mother’s womb - listening to the mother’s heartbeats and her humming a tune ; the whispers of the father speaking to the tummy- a calm assurance and courage.

The baby feels love and waits to see the faces that belong to these voices. ❤️

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Dinu says...

Couldn't agree more, Susan

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Minila Cheriyan says...

Beautifully written Dinu. Impressions from early childhood experiences certainly mould our thoughts and actions as an adult. But never ever thought about memories from the womb before. Truly amazing concept. Keep writing….

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NM says...

Love it Dinu uncle beautiful writing that transported me to the railway tracks for those few moments

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Chris J says...

A new perspective on the complexity of human development - food for thought. Thanks, Paul

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Sara says...

Beautifully written, Dinu! truly thought-provoking.

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John S says...

The mention of the abusive husband is a sad reminder of the darker side of life

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Dinu says...

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Jerry S says...

Walking 2 kms in broad daylight on an indian railway track can itself be a challenge - I cannot imagine how difficult the walk must have been for your father, carrying your mother at night, worrying about stumbling and falling over the uneven sleepers, always on the lookout for an oncoming train. Respect and salute.

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Dinu says...

Very true

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Mathew V says...

Indeed, not always good memories – I personally know of an instance where the pregnant wife (and unborn child) have been through unimaginable pain – both physical and mental – and I sincerely hope that there will be no negative impact on the child when he grows up. Sad, but true!

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Dinu says...

Indeed - so sad

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A Batista says...

I've never considered the possibility of memories from the womb before. It's a fascinating concept, and your parents' incident adds depth. Great writing, Paul

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JG says...

There is a poetic quality to this article that makes the topic even more captivating!

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Alan G says...

As always, the way you weave together personal experiences and broader reflections is truly skilful. It draws the reader in and encourages self-reflection. Keep writing..

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AI says...

Beautiful piece of writing

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M Johnson says...

I can't remember anything from when I was younger than 10!

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Dinu says...

What about after 10?

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M Johnson says...

that and all - pls no mention

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Dinu says...

ay, never, ever

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Bindu says...

Your words have drawn such a touching picture of that night on the railway track - it was made even more beautiful by the illustration. Loved it.

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Ramesh says...

Thought provoking. Well written as always. Keep them coming please.

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Suresh G says...

The depth of emotion in your writing is wonderful. Loved it!

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Sunil S says...

The possibilities of memories we might carry with us is truly incredible.

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Dinu says...

Indeed, Sunil..

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K Joseph says...

The resilience of our parents - will we ever be able to live up to those standards?

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Dinu says...

We will never truly know unless we try, I guess..

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K Joseph says...

onnu try cheithu nokkaam, alle?

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Dinu says...

pinnallaathe

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S George says...

Very well written, Dinu.

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Deepa T says...

Truly touching - wonderful thoughts penned down - keep writing Dinu!