Memory lapse | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Memory lapse

chandigarh Updated: Jun 18, 2012 13:33 IST
Vikramdeep Johal

"I told you to bring five things from the market. I see just three. Where are the other two?" my wife inquired.

"Which two? I have no clue," I said in all innocence.

"Not for the first time, you didn't hear me properly," she cribbed. "At this rate, you'll go stone-deaf soon."

"Have no fears about my ears," I asserted with rhyme and reason. "I can hear a pin drop or a tap drip even in my sleep. It's my memory that's playing tricks on me."

Indeed, my RAM and ROM haven't been in the pink of health of late. The other day, I racked my brain in vain for my Netbanking password. In self-defence, I argued that if Ali Baba's greedy brother couldn't recall an easy one like 'open sesame', then I could be forgiven for forgetting a tricky combo of alphabetic, alphanumeric and special characters. Eventually, I changed the password and promptly noted it down in a diary. But where the hell did I keep that blasted diary?

Perhaps I should take a cue from Gabriel Garcia Marquez's novel 'One Hundred Years of Solitude', in which villagers fight amnesia by marking everything with its respective name and use, be it a table, chair, clock, cow or banana. They hang a placard around the cow's neck, which reads: "This is the cow. She must be milked every morning so that she will produce milk, and the milk must be boiled in order to be mixed with coffee to make coffee and milk."

The problem is: Who's got the time - or the crazy guts - to pepper his house with such placards? This is the age of multitasking and multimedia, the twin devils which dull and lull our memory. When you are snacking, Skyping and (foot) scrubbing at the same time, you are bound to forget that a pan of milk is boiling away on the stove - unless you have a whistleblower boiler, specially designed for the absent-minded.

Thanks to Google and Facebook, you don't have to memorise Qutub Minar's height or your friend's birthday, respectively. But these modern-day 'gods' can't help you find the car keys you forgot in the restaurant, or the blank cheque you kept in a book whose name escapes you now.

For better or worse, memory is our most quirky asset. We might have a blackout about what we had for dinner last night, and yet be able to vividly recall a sumptuous lunch enjoyed three decades ago. And of course there are people - our politicians, for instance - who pick and choose what to forget and what not. Lest I forget, I'll let Marquez have the last word: "Life is not what one lived, but what one remembers and how one remembers it in order to recount it."