Shakuntala Rajagopal’s 26-Minute Memoir

385px-California_26.svgHi Readers,

In 2009 I started a blog called 26-Minute Memoir and started publishing 26-Minute Memoirs–stories that describe the essence of your life written in 26 minutes–from students, friends, Facebook and blog followers. In my book Writing Is My Drink: A Writer’s Story of Finding Her Voice (And a Guide to How You Can Too), I encourage readers to write their own 26-Minute Memoir and send them to me, and now they are sending me their 26-Minute Memoirs. Below you’ll find Shakuntala Rajagopal’s 26-Minute Memoir. Please feel free to write one of wimd-34your own. You can find instructions and links to other 26-Minute Memoirs here:

Thanks for reading my blog!


26-Minute Memoir

Shakuntala Rajagopal

The Matterhorn Ride, March 26, 2014

Forty-nine years and 10 months after my first ride on the Matterhorn Mountain at Disneyland, California, I took my second chance on the same ride.

After all, I am in Fantasyland.

What did I expect? I did not know what to expect 49 years ago, and was not sure how wild the ride would be today.

In May 1964, I was on the same ride with my better half, my dear Raj. At the time, twenty three years young, and in this country for just three months, we were naïve about roller coaster rides.

Now I am back here with my 13 year old grandson, sans grandpa.

As we waited to board, he bob-sleds I reached the conclusion that maybe I have chewed off more than I should. But, seeing how my grandson was taking the ride, my pride would not let me step down.  We loaded the bobsleds.

Off we went. Pitch black. I could not see anything in front of me, and could not make out the profiles of my daughter or her husband in the car ahead of me. A loud noise kept getting louder and louder. Then it hit me. The rumble that was getting louder was the rolling of the car I was in. I stopped breathing. Oops. Now we are out of the dark tunnel and barreling fast on a downhill track. My stomach felt in a knot and churned up into my chest. I heard screams: In few seconds I realized it was my voice screaming.

I had no time to acknowledge that I was scared. The cars were on a smooth surface and chugging along, giving a false sense of security before it sped uphill and dropped again. My eyes closed, I heard the screams again. Then, sunlight and the ride slowed, and rolled into the station.

I tumbled out, laughing hysterically. At 23, I did not know better. What was my excuse now?

At least I was not sitting home pining for my husband Raj who passed away three years ago. At least I was screaming alongside my 13 year old grandson, making memories to share with his progeny when I am gone.

I wish Raj was here to hear me, even if he did not share the ride with me. Oh, well. I am happy I can still remember the thrill I had on the same ride, holding his hands, all those years ago.


I am a young 73 year old, now.


Shakuntala Rajagopal’s Blogs

About Theo Pauline Nestor

Author of Writing Is My Drink (Simon & Schuster) and How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed. Learn more about my courses, editing, and coaching at
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3 Responses to Shakuntala Rajagopal’s 26-Minute Memoir

  1. Jan C says:

    Wow. I loved this so much! It was like being on the Mattherhorn Mountain ride. I was intrigued and curious, I was laughing and then boom!, my breath caught in my throat and I was hit with tears when you talked of Raj. You captured your spirit and your zest for life. This is a wonderful and very moving piece.

  2. starroberts says:

    I loved your 26 minute memoir Shakuntala. Life is indeed a wild ride. Your grandson is lucky to take it with you. I’m sure your beloved Raj was there as well, maybe you just couldn’t hear him above the screaming… ❤

  3. Debby says:

    I enjoyed reading this entry very much!

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