Friday, March 16, 2012

The curious case of Forgetfulness

I keep forgetting. I have always had this habit of forgetting very obvious things about life. On the other hand I also had this uncanny and surely weird habit of remembering some genuinely minute detail of some objects/events/persons. People usually attribute these eccentricities of people to their genes. And I can proudly say that this is one thing that I have inherited ditto from my parents. And I have already beaten them hands down in the game of forgetfulness. Because I took it to levels which they can never imagine.

In early childhood, I had a story in Bengali literature book of mine, which had mention of a very forgetful person. According to the story, this person had once gone out with an umbrella in the monsoon. He came back and instead of putting the umbrella in the corner of the room, he himself stood at the corner of the room and put the umbrella on the bed to rest.

Well the story sounded very stupidly funny at that point of time but it feels like a genuine possibility some time in my life. You must be wondering by now why I am being so hyper about forgetfulness and what disaster i have been through recently and stuff. For all of you just one request, please read on and all your questions would be answered.

I have seen people doing stupid, forgetful stuff out of chance, but I have been a consistent performer in this regard. I remember an incident with Sougata, one of my friends from back in my engineering college. We were travelling in train, standing near the gate and gossiping away to glory. In the midst of his jolly mood he bought a Dairy Milk bar. For some reason he was really happy, because believe me, otherwise you never buy a Dairy Milk with 5 friends around you, knowing very well that all you’ll get is maybe half a cube.  Well to our astonishment he bought the bar, and to our even more astonishment he un-wrapped the bar and threw away the bar outside the moving train door, keeping the wrap in his hand. Do you have any such memory which always plays slow in motion in your mind player whenever you think of it? Well whenever I think of this incident I can still see that chocolate bar flying out of the door, a gasp of horror and desperation coming out of the 4 of us and Sougata still not able to grasp and understand what is happening around him. All this plays in slow motion in my mind.

Coming back to the statement that I made some time back about forgetfulness being inherited through genes; let me try to substantiate my claim with some examples. My mother is a natural in this genre. We live in a joint family and ours is one of those rare once which still has a common kitchen with a coal chulha. Well the kitchen happens to be in the ground floor and our abode happens to be in the 2nd floor. My mother, who is the uncrowned head cook of our house, has the responsibility of managing the production and distribution chain of food in our house. She does a very good job of it. But if you have a forgetful mind having such a responsibility can be a real pain. Statements like,”Ooho, I forgot to bring the milk,” or,”Jah! I forgot to give the brinjal curry to your grand mom is pretty common phenomenon. And then, even after she is done with her cooking, you would find her running around the house from ground floor to 2nd floor taking care of some loose end or the other. Whenever my mom goes somewhere outside, you have to leave mom to herself for about 15 minutes, when she revises in her mind her daily chores to make sure she is not forgetting something before she leaves. However, those 15 minutes she never manages to get and so within 15 minutes of leaving home she remembers something she has forgotten. That thing can be anything from her forgetting to close the windows, or her forgetting to put the milk in the refrigerator to her forgetting to lock the doors. 

Well my dad does not make a great deal of his forgetfulness but his contribution to the cause also cannot be neglected. Any action on the part of dad has a minimum reminder threshold of 2.5 reminders (on an average) before the action can has any chance of being performed.
Now coming to the accomplishments of the protagonist; let me try to make a summary of it while trying to highlight my greatest achievements and trimming out the trivialities. The problem with trying to recall your deeds of forgetfulness is that you realize that you had forgotten most of it. Well my earliest case that I can recall is an incident when I was in class 7. Well that particular day of summer, I returned from school, and on the way to the bathroom to have a bath, I somehow entered the Puja room instead (we have a room, which just has various sacred idols and is used for Puja). I sat there for 5-10 minutes before my aunt noticed me. She suspected something out of the ordinary and asked me what I was doing there with a towel on my shoulders and in my school uniform. It was then that I realized that I was in the wrong place and rushed out. In those days I had thought that this was my first signs of nirvana. But later I found out that it was a plain and simple case of forgetfulness.

One day during engineering, I came to the canteen with my friends. When I tried to take a plate I found that something in my hand was hindering me to take the plate. I found it was a lock. It was then that I realized that I had taken up the lock but never locked the room and I had come down to the canteen with it. That day I decided that I had to do something about my condition. Next time I went home I brought with me a tonic called Brainolia. This tonic, which was marketed in a large scale in West Bengal at that time, was supposed to increase your memory and do miracles to your brain. But what can you do to a person if he forgets having his tonic. So I forgot all about the tonic and the day I was leaving hostel after completion of engineering I found it in one corner of the almirah.

There are numerous incidents of my forgetfulness. Very recently, my brother in law had given me some considerable amount of cash to be given to my sister. And I totally forgot the transaction. When my brother in law later asked me if I had given her the money, I asked him, “What money?” My brother in law must have thought I am joking but later during the conversation when he found out that I don’t remember a thing, he got one of the greatest shocks of his life. I told my sister that though I don’t remember anything about the money I’ll still try to find it. She gave me an incredulous look. I explained to her, that if somebody gave me money, there are places where I would usually keep it, which would be away from the terrorist hands of my niece. I would look for the money in all those places. Well it took a while, but I found the money. And that was the first time I myself believed that transaction had ever happened, though I still don’t remember it happening.

And then something happened, someone entered my life and from then on I have seen a steady improvement of my situation. It is for no reason that they call it a smartphone. Smartphones and their revolutionary reminder and notes applications have helped me get a hang of my forgetfulness. I often forget to check the notes that I have made, but otherwise when I remember to check my notes, I am more or less in track of my day to day activities.
(All characters in this article are imaginary)

No comments:

Post a Comment