I always remembered certain things which I thought of as memories. Only later, growing up and getting to know that these things could have NEVER been possible in this life, I started to ask questions about it. My parents were not very into these things, though they did know they felt certain things too, but they chose to shut themselves down from it and ignored their inner voice many times.
They sometimes thought I was crazy, I was not allowed to talk like that because it was rubbish, or they said that my imagination was far beyond the normal. I decided to talk to children of my own age about it, who did not understand anything of what I was telling them and looked at me as if they were seeing a ghost with sudden appearance just in front of them. So, I decided not to talk about it anymore.
The memories never disappeared, they were always there and I have wondered for many years why I had them and what use they were to me. In my mind it was a very normal thing, but to The Others they were weird. I remembered a life as a child, I was 9 and I lived in Indonesia. My mother played the piano very well and she used to give little concerts in the concert room, which was a very beautiful furnitured room. We were not allowed to come there. I hated these concert afternoons, with all of the very well known and very important guests who got invited. I had to wear my light blue dress with all the buttons tightly buttoned down to my throat. It was too hot, it was too stiff and it was so NOT what I wanted to wear. My mother never bothered how I felt, she only wanted me to sit up like a little doggie showing its little act. I actually was brought up by a “baboe” or a nanny, a woman who took care of me. My dad was a military officer who always worked in his office at the house or at the residence, I hardly knew him. My baboe was an Indonesian middle- aged woman who was as a mother to me. I remember that one day, as my mother and father were not at the house, I took her to the concert room. She did not want to walk in, but I told her to come with me. I knew she loved the sound of the piano and wanted her to sit down and touch the piano keys. She refused. Terrified that my mother would find her there, she stood there as a frozen statue, totally pale, her eyes wide opened. I talked her into touching the keys after removing the silk light green colored cloth with the embroidered cranes, my mother made herself. My baboe refused to sit down but did touch the keys in a very tender way. The bright sound of the piano tones filled up the room. She closed her eyes and touched the next key. For a short moment I thought she was going to do the whole key string, but she suddenly stopped as if she realized that she was eating a forbidden cookie. She told me that she would have loved to play the piano but realized that she was only a poor servant and it was not done or meant to be for her to be doing that in her life. As we walked in the room I touched the oiled chairs, but being a child I did not notice that. But my mother did. She got terribly angry at me and sent me to my room, where I had to stay for more than a week. I never told her that my baboe was with me.
I remember I had a girlfriend there in the “kampong”, who was called Todja, an Indonesian girl who was 8. At my 9th birthday I got a doll with blond hair that was divided in 2 ponytails, perfect blue eyes looked up at me and I immediately loved the doll. I brought it with me as I went with my baboe to the market. We passed the kampong, which was a small sort of village for the native people. There was a fence of wood around it. After a certain time at night the natives were not allowed to walk on the streets anymore. I always asked why there was a fence around it, and always got the same answer. Because the government wants it this way. I then asked what kind of government locks people away in camps like that, especially as the government people are the persons who were not even born in Indonesia. My baboe smiled a sad smile and said that this was just the way things were and that we could not change that. I started to ask questions to my father as he got home one day from a very important mission. I knocked on the door of his office in our house and heard him cough before he responded and allowed me to come in. The first things he said was: ’You have grown since the last time I saw you’, I nodded and made a little courtesy in front of him. Then I asked why the natives were put away behind a wooden fence.
‘You probably are too young to understand this, but this is the best for them and for us. The natives are not very intelligent and in this way they will not be disturbing the good order we like to maintain. Do you understand that, little one?’
As I looked at my dad, who was a total stranger to me, I still can feel how a red blush spread out all over my face; I felt ashamed to be his daughter and totally disagreed with him. I kept my silence, knowing that I was not allowed to speak about it in a non confirming way. My dad however, thought I was feeling uncomfortable with the situation because I did not understand what he was saying. He sent me out of the room and as I walked out of the door, I turned my head to look at him over my shoulder. He already was reading his papers and did not see me anymore. I felt sad and strong in a strange way as I walked back to my room and took my doll of the bed. My baboe called me to accompany her to the market and I put the doll in the bag she always took with her. As we reached the kampong I saw Todja there, playing with her little brother. I called her to the fence and took the doll out of the bag. My baboe tried to withhold me but I wanted to give the doll to Todja. She could not believe that the doll was a gift for her. Finally she accepted my gift and embraced the doll as if it was her own child.
‘I will take good care of her’, she insured me. I felt more happy to have given the doll away than I felt as I received the doll from my parents at my birthday. My baboe and I went to the market and returned within two hours.
The next day, my mother discovered that the doll was gone. She asked me if I knew what happened to the doll, I did not dare to tell her I gave it away to Todja and said that I would look for it. I had to lie to protect Todja, but if I would have known what the consequence of that was, I would have told her the truth. One of the other servants, who lived at the house of another important military family, discovered the doll in the kampong. Todja got beaten up and the doll was returned at our address. My hate towards the military persons started to increase in a huge way. Who did they think they were to do this? I went to my mother’s room, knocked at the door and told her that I gave the doll to Todja. She did not believe me and told me that I would burn in hell by lying to her. And why on earth I was defending one of the “little monkeys” as she called the native people. I could only stare at her, not understanding how I could be her daughter. I visited Todja the next day. She was bruised everywhere, her eyes were thick and I took her in my arms, while crying. I could not say anything, but I am convinced she understood me without any spoken word. That was the last time I ever saw her. The next week I got sick. Nobody knew what was a matter. I got an immensely high fever, my baboe was nursing me in a very loving way, while my mum only said that this was very inconvenient, because there would be guests arriving the next day. I remember the sound of the bird that always sat in the same tree. I used to feed him. He kept staring at me, sung for a little while and looked at me as if he wanted to say; don’t you worry I will fly with you. The next morning I died, 9 years young. My coffin was white and was put outside on the porch. I know that the goblet like flowers very strong smelled. My baboe was sitting on the veranda and sung her self-made song to me, sitting barefoot with her legs to one side on her bamboo mat. Tears rolling down in an endless stream. I was buried the same day.
After many years I began to understand the meaning of the memory. In this life I met a girl named Tosca, she was half Indonesian and became my best friend ever. The day we met we recognized each other immediately. (Todja = Tosca, even the names look alike) Later she told me that she never liked dolls at all, but she once saw a very beautiful doll with blond hair, divided in two ponytails and very bright blue eyes. She got it for her birthday and still has it until this day. Coincidence? I know that this is no coincidence, I feel it and she feels it. Our bond is so strong, that even as we don’t see each other very often, we always are connected. In this life she has got the distanced mother who lives for the outside world and status. Who does not care about her the way she wants it.
In my life now I have Indonesian friends, I am allowed to have them in this life. I still cannot stand it when people think they are totally entitled to rule the lives of other people. I believe in equality and respect, I believe in a loving and open attitude.
In this life I choose to help people. In the past life I described I was not allowed to do that.
In this life I see each day a bird that sits in the tree and sings. He looks at me each day in a very understanding way. Each day over and over again at the same time.
In this life my mother is telling me that it is hard for her to understand that I am a daughter of her. As I thought of my mum in the past life.
In this life I chose to stand up for myself. Which I was not allowed to do in the past life. This has been a struggle too. But I do stand up for me.
In this life I once heard the name of a person, called Mrs. Seijs. I immediately felt an urge to see her. I called her up and said that though she had never met me I wanted to pay her a visit. I stood for her door and saw the sign: Piano teacher, conservatorium educated. As she opened the door I knew why I had the feeling I had to go and see her. It was the face of my baboe that looked at me. I was invited in and started to tell her what I felt and knew and remembered. She said that this was very strange. All of her life people said that she looked Indonesian. The most strange thing was that there was no Indonesian blood in the family at all! So she did not understand why she looked Indonesian. From the moment I came in, tears started to roll down over her face. She said she did not understand why she cried. But she felt sad in a very weird way. She asked if I wanted a cup of tea and came back. Then she sat down and excused herself for a moment. She wanted to play the piano for a short moment, to calm down. She played the song my baboe always sung to me….made by herself in this life. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Neither did she. I never saw her back, she probably died by now.
I feel that it was the meaning we met. As I know and feel that it was necessary in a way. There was no reason for us to meet again. It was accomplished, whatever it may have been that was there to be experienced, after my visit I felt totally peaceful.
Memories we have of past lives can help us to understand the process we are in now. In each life I have learned more and more. It has helped me to understand more of me and my path in life. Everything has been saved in the archive of my soul. Every life, every death, every birth. Some of us still remember it, some of us don’t. Some of us believe it is true, some of us do not believe it at all. Life and past life is a given choice to see, to discover and to learn from.