Press Esc to close
Tuesday 28 February 2017
News updated at 2:14 AM IST
Weather
Max: 33.3°C
Min : 20°C
In Bengaluru
Sunny day

Failing memory

By V Desikan Dec 5, 2013

Whenever I get a wedding invite from any of my relatives or friends, I start making my plans. Make no mistake – it is not about dates, schedule or about what clothes to wear.


It’s all about guessing people who are likely to attend the wedding and their correct names. This is an exercise to avoid being caught unawares about names during the function. As you grow old, your memory fails you on some occasions and shows you in poor light. When you see a person, you may not be able to immediately recollect his or her name. Homework certainly helps; the oft repeated military adage “the more you sweat in peace, less you bleed in war” applies everywhere. But despite one’s preparations, tricky situations may arise.

As I am at a wedding reception, someone gently taps me on my shoulder and calls me by my childhood nick name; as I turn around his face looks very familiar, but his name remains elusive. I understand that the structure of a human memory is the reason why one can often recognise the person's face and even come up with other details, but the name - that’s a different science! But my main problem really starts when the other person does not accept my apology for not remembering his name and begins offering me clues for guessing his name. This is in fact worse than him repeating the dialogue of Scar in Lion King - “I know that your powers of retention are as wet as a warthog’s backside”.

Sometimes one suffers ‘memory blanking’ that happens generally due to a stressful situation. Four decades ago, an All India Radio employee was suddenly asked to read the news, as the regular news reader took ill minutes before the newscast. As the substitute started reading the typed out news, he came across the lines – “News read by” followed by a blank space. It did not occur to him that he had to say his name. Instead names of all other news readers flashed across his mind. After nearly 30 seconds, which according to him was like 30 hours, he came out of the memory black out and continued reading the rest of the news.

My experience was little different. I was working for a high security defence organisation which deployed a secure access system through a swipe card and password system. I had no difficulty in remembering my password the first three years of using it. But one day my memory decided to play truant. As my first entry failed, I panicked and my mind went into a tizzy and all my further efforts were totally futile. Luckily one of my colleagues saw my flushed anxious face and came to my rescue by punching his password and I discreetly slipped in with him. I take great comfort from the fact that everyone has difficulty with names; so these days I am less embarrassed when one eludes me and also less critical of others when my name escapes them.

 

Go to Top

Photo Gallery
A hand rickshaw puller carries his old rickshaw wheel for repair in Kolkata...

A hand rickshaw puller carries his old rickshaw wheel for repair in Kolkata...

A carnival float depicting, from left, Adolf Hitler, Geert Wilders, Marine Le Pen and U.S.

A carnival float depicting, from left, Adolf Hitler, Geert Wilders, Marine Le Pen and U.S.

A view of the aircraft carrier INS Viraat docked at the Naval Dockyard ahead...

A view of the aircraft carrier INS Viraat docked at the Naval Dockyard ahead...

Firefighters trying to extinguish a blaze that broke out on Sunday evening at the Times...

Firefighters trying to extinguish a blaze that broke out on Sunday evening at the Times...

Women performing a traditional dance during Golden Jubilee celebrations of Nyokum Yullo Festival...

Women performing a traditional dance during Golden Jubilee celebrations of Nyokum Yullo Festival...

Congress candidate Ameeta Singh with her husband and senior party leader Sanjay Singh coming...

Congress candidate Ameeta Singh with her husband and senior party leader Sanjay Singh coming...

Union Home Minister and senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh along with party candidate Ratnakar...

Union Home Minister and senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh along with party candidate Ratnakar...

Mahant Gyan Das along with other sadhus after casting vote at a polling station for Assembly...

Mahant Gyan Das along with other sadhus after casting vote at a polling station for Assembly...

Congress Senior Leader Ambika Soni and Uttrakhand CM Harish Rawat with state Congress party...

Congress Senior Leader Ambika Soni and Uttrakhand CM Harish Rawat with state Congress party...

Congress Senior Leader Ambika Soni and Uttrakhand CM Harish Rawat with state Congress party...

Congress Senior Leader Ambika Soni and Uttrakhand CM Harish Rawat with state Congress party...

Like us on Facebook

Copyright 2017, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523