ravings, rantings and ramblings
I have this terrible habit of forgetting. I forget incidents, and people. I have met many who have commiserated with me. They said that it happens to them ‘all the time’. So, there was nothing for me to worry. Well, from where I stand, there is a need to worry. For those who have empathised and shared the same ‘disease’ with me, well, your score is pathetic compared to mine.
Consider this: I run into this amicable, Bengali gentleman at Ibn Batuta Mall. He accosts with me like friends do when they meet. We exchanged pleasantries, spoke like we were catching up after long and parted ways, almost as if we’d meet the day after, for coffee. The moment he was out of earshot, I turned to my wife to check if she knew who he was; ’cause I didn’t.
If you are not impressed, then, here’s another potent one! I was hosting some event in one part of Dubai. Once the show was over, and my wife and I were trooping out towards the parking. Somebody called me out. I turned to see a smiling gentleman who came and shook my hand, complimenting me on my work that night. We kept the talking. He introduced me to his wife. I introduced them to mine. They both were senior to me, so I kept a civil conversation going. The gentleman, who was still shaking my hand, then said something that totally blew my cover! He cornered me asking if I remembered who they were. And for the last 6 minutes of the conversation I was trying to run down all faces and names I knew. Blimey, he was right! I smiled, still shaking his warm hand, confessing that I hadn’t a clue as to who they were! The couple was a bit hurt (maybe shocked at my bluntness). They reminded me that their daughter was my student at the university where I taught and she had introduced us a few weeks back. I was very bashful as I tried to apologise for my poor memory. And there, behind the couple, I see my student, smiling sheepishly!
OK, this is legendary. I invite a couple friend over from Ghisais to our place for dinner and I accept a dinner invitation at another friend’s at Ajman, THAT VERY DAY! No, you can’t beat that!
My very dear friend starts to see a girl and I forget to mention that to my wife! Another friend, who recently shifted to Dubai was shifting out to Jo’berg. I forget that piece of information. Lucky that the friend and my wife understand my ailment and they exchange latest updates without updating me.
There are many more – meeting families at restaurants, work people, and rank strangers who come up to me asking,”Do you remember me?” Try as I might, I don’t. In my defense, I run down every single name in my phone book and memory, looking for that one name that will stick with the mustached gentleman I am meeting but that doesn’t happen. Nope good sir, I looked you up in my RAM, but you don’t seem to feature in it. Let me just reboot my system and then see! I am running out of excuses.
This is a little hopeless, I admit. Take it as a heart-felt apology to all those who thought I was a rude, snooty, always riding the high-horse or just plain simple ‘looking through you’ – I am sorry. I wasn’t ignoring you. I simply couldn’t place you, in my head.
My friends or colleagues introduce me to their parents and I could forget them faster than you could say ‘amnesia’. Scary, huh? The answer to that petulant question, you have in mind, right now, is NO! I do not forget my wife or my finance guy (who signs my pay cheques). I remember people from history, people who inspire, love, terrify or always tell me a story. Somehow, I do not seem to remember people, I feel, I will not meet more than twice in a year!
It is exactly for this reason that I have earned the nickname ‘Wall’. Many friends and dear ex-colleagues have chosen to fearlessly discuss their lives and bitch about work and home, well knowing that I will forget it in a few hours. They were (and are) right! Or else, I would have been sitting on heaps of royalty earned from my bestseller in Dubai.
Something that can sum up my condition (and not cast me aside as a medical no-hope) was a dialogue in the new BBC produced Sherlock Holmes series, where Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock said that his head is like a hard drive. It only stores what it thinks is important. It discards all else.
Now tell me, do you not do the same?