A while ago, my mother was sorting through a pile of very old books she had received from my grandfather. The dates on the books were interesting: they ranged from the late-1800s to the late-1900s, printed in neat black lettering on thick paper coverings. It was interesting and enthralling to flip through their age-old pages — which were surprisingly sturdy for being enclosed in worn covers — fascinating to get to read and feel, for the first time in years, parts of history earlier hidden away from human touch and sight.
The contents of the books were as intriguing as their makes — there was a German booklet with chromatography paper and colour strips of different shades of red (presumably a haemoglobin test kit from the 1800s), a book on the history of England and its kingdoms, some books on homoeopathy, and a high-school mathematics booklet filled with geometrical exercises (dated 1944 and priced at 5 annas, though it seemed the syllabus hadn’t changed too much since then) among others. There was also a diary with illegible handwriting that ultimately remained undeciphered.
There was, perhaps, nothing one would consider “important” in the pile — there were no notes from far-away soldiers, no ancient maps or plans, and no copies of peace treaties or accords — yet there was something special about it, as if even the unimportant bits of the past held their own somewhere, somehow. The booklet with the haemoglobin test wasn’t of use in the present — but it may have been a tremendous breakthrough for that time, a stepping-stone to further discovery and development. England’s long history of wars and conquests has persisted through retellings in voice and in writing — preserving stories and realities of both the conquerors and the conquered which may have otherwise been forgotten. The mathematical concepts from pre-Independent India were true and provable: basics learnt and relearnt by generations of people who continue to utilise them in their everyday lives. These are concepts written down through lengthy processes consisting of time, mistakes, trial and error — facilitated by other revelations and realisations.
Every day we live is history in the making.
History, both recent and ancient, both significant and insignificant, is not remembered for the sheer sake of remembering it. Sure, the past most certainly is captivating, beautiful, and mysterious — but it is also a proof of our growth (and at times, downfall), an imprint of the things we did right and wrong which enabled us to get to where we are. It is crucial to look back, think about and analyse our past. Not all mistakes, big or small, have been inconsequential — many have ended in strife and fatality. Learning is essential, for without it, evolution is impossible. Even our cells learn, to adapt, to change, to overcome, and to survive. To do all of that, they remember the times they went wrong and try again. Life as we know it would be absent without retrospection, without hindsight.
And that, dear reader, is what ‘Hindsight’ is all about — rediscovery, recollection, advancement and knowledge. It is about reflecting (ba-dum-tss) on all that has happened in hopes of improving and protecting the present and the future. I hope you enjoy reading through the profound write-ups, appreciate the intricate works of art, and admire the brilliant photography present in this issue. As always, be sure to like, comment on and share the pieces you loved! Also, best of luck for the new year — I hope we all get the opportunity to fix and mature from the blunders we made this year in the next.
Oh, and, speaking of looking back, I just recalled a conversation with the older team on how great it would be to have every article end with a pun on the theme whenever we tried it out.
In hindsight, that wasn’t a bad idea. Well, too late now.
Warm regards and best wishes,