Exams in those days tested the memory of the students after they had read the lessons from textbooks. If the examiners found a sentence missing, the student’s marks used be cut. Well, I used to be no 'mugger' (who mugs up by rote learning). However I crammed up for the exams by slogging. But I always wrote the tests using my own sentences. Alas, the marks I got were nothing to write home about. But some of my friends were having photographic memory, and obviously they used to get good ranks.
Thankfully, the testing processes have evolved of late into the modern objective lines, and people like of me are saved from committing the text to their memory. This brainy faculty has lost its significance and relevance as the technology progressed. Now, we have a plethora of props, call them discs, drives or chips in the computer systems to store and retrieve memory data. Sometimes students rely on these gadgets during exams, which of course needs some expertise.
Next thing, I don't forget a face. However, by default, I lose their names. At the office, I used to spend an hour or so recalling the faces of my staff who just signed the roaster in my presence. After the last colleague had left, I used to lock up my room for this compulsive routine of checking their names in the register. Yet, in the evening review meeting I would look up at the departmental heads for the names of their assistants against whom I had complaints. At home my better half would supply me with the names of people in my life, after I gave her their description. She would help me grudgingly also with the names of the leading women in TV shows and movies; some of my favorite heroines it would turn out having wrong names that I discovered in Google.
We always remember what we love most or that which impacts our minds the best. To forget something is a blessing in disguise, especially our bad experiences, and things useless or names unpalatable some people call us by, using choicest epithets. Peace and amity will prevail when we needed not to return the favor in forgettable bile exchange during our interactions, especially on social networking sites.
Forgetting spouse’s birthday used to be the constant complaint by anyone. But it is not any more, what with the easy access to a plethora of websites including social networking sites that remind us the ‘unforgivable/unforgettable’ events days in advance, not speaking of the digital diaries and smart phones with reminder alarms. In fact, a 'friend' of mine from an e-forum reminded me my wife’s birthday first thing that morning to save my day and face for the entire year ahead. In the same breath he asked me to return the favor which was beside the point.
What surprises me often is how most women remember the story behind each of their saris and dresses in their wardrobe. Whenever a chance comes their way, they will go on explaining cleverly, the details of the make along with the context when they came into possession of the same piece by piece. That speaks about their passion for the intimate things, saris, people or moments they loved. I easily forget the prices and brands of things I bought, including the valuable assets which I purchased or sold, as such figures always elude me the minute transactions end. I belong to such tribe who reduce everything to writing, a la the lead character in a famous Hindi film Ghajini who did engrave on his own body the names people to avenge his wife’s death.
Human memory has a motive, besides being selective. So this faculty is incomparable and cannot be duplicated even in super computers. As seen, memory of the masses is extremely transient, like the water on frying pan. Election results speak out this and politicians capitalize on this. Also our leaders’ memory is short lived, coming to keeping their promises.
Senility is a curse to humans affecting their daily chores. As the joke goes about the height of forgetfulness, a senior person put his hand stick on the sofa and kept standing in a corner. We see such humor in the movies, targeting old people. But Alzheimer’s disease is not a joke. It involves dementia. Population of the elderly in India increased due to rise in longevity. It is high time NGOs and policy planners in the governments did take adequate and necessary steps as the trend amongst the modern youth seems to be ungrateful towards the elderly persons.