“There are three things I always forget. Names, Faces and... the third I can't remember.”
What is written above is actually the crux of what I will write henceforth. Maybe there is more, since I cannot actually go around claiming that I have self-diagnosed tiny traces of dementia in myself. “The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interrèd with their bones.” Don’t jump to conclusions of me going anywhere, I am just building up my defence of why I cannot say that I have self-diagnosed a tiny trace of dementia. To get the context right, if I do tell people about this, chances are they’ll not believe me and will be more inclined into believing that I am a
carefree careless person who is so addicted to dereliction that I have devised this canard in my defence. They might grant an unconditional pardon on the first occasion, but ‘fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me’, there is no second pardon in the jury of any self-respecting society. So, I’d rather invent workarounds rather than being foolhardy in telling the naked truth.
Actually I just remembered what I don’t remember; that third thing which I don’t remember is actually a wildcard. So, if I don’t remember numbers, it fits (I’m weak in arithmetic anyway, I have to calculate every time). If it is the list of errands that I was supposed to run on my mother’s behalf, the quote suits the occasion; if I don’t remember what I was going to write about, no worries, “There are three things I always forget. Names, faces and that what I was just going to write about.” See? But well-read people see through my ploy, and the not-so-well-read will not accept anything other than their names. Offering this explanations is a moot point, lucrative on paper, but a cannon with wet gunpowder in reality. The bottom line is, I’m at fault (even when I can’t help).
So, what do I do? What would anyone do? I cannot just ask, it would be unprecedented. But there are just too many to things to remember. I might not have a large social circle, but I do have a large family, with lots of cousins which implies that I have to remember a lot of names. Now that I had been managing their names reasonably well, irony scaled up the difficulty level. They got married. YAY! So, there is almost a 25% growth in that stack of names that my brain must retain and not forget lest I embarrass myself in front of the entire family. Okay, that too would have been fine if we met regularly, but since yours truly thinks he is bear exiled into hibernation (until we meet again), the memory fades. Adding a little more fuel to this fire, the next time we meet, they’ll have another member to the family, and if luck would have it, by the time I have memorized the names of cousins, their spouses and their first borns, they’ll have added another set of flashcards for me to punch into my head.
So, I’ve learnt to watch and learn. You don’t need to call out to someone when they’re sitting in front of you, you just talk facing them and in the meanwhile, pray, that someone calls out their names. Now they won’t be that rude to not listen until you call them by their right name, and most of the time, the generic set of appellations ‘bhabi’, ‘bhaiya (for a veeeeeeeery distant cousin)’, ‘bua’ etc. work. The more voraciously social they are, the more likely will they ask you ‘Do you remember me?’ I’ve played this game of bluffing countless times and trust me, it is the most embarrassing moment when it backfires. ‘Of course!’ I say, and yet, some keep pressing. All I offer is, I know that I know you, but I don’t remember your name or in what relation. That is actually embarrassing when it is my family playing the host. *insert impish grin here*
The young ones are the toughest to deal with because you cannot ask their names from just anybody. And how am I supposed to keep an image to name relationship chart in my head for every tottering child in a joint family’s family tree? Keeping track of what they are doing in their lives is another thing where I am always out of date. Honestly, I don’t read the newspaper to know about them if they had been in news, but even when they aren’t I feel awkward to ask ‘aur sunao, kya chala hai?’ (What’s up?) I cannot ask that same question every time I meet them, so all I do is respond. I don’t remember what I was doing the last time we met, heck I don’t remember what work did I do the previous week when my Group Lead asks me to fill in the timesheets (if I don’t note it down), what are they expecting?
Yet, I’m learning to fake it. To plaster a grin when I’m desperately searching for hints, or praying for divine intervention, that somebody, announce them to me, for I’ve heard that sometimes the Universe obliges even when Murphy’s laughing. Some days I truly wonder, is it that I forget them, or is it just that I don’t remember. For other days, please re-quote what was quoted before.
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