Where is my memory located?


There was a time, many aeons ago, when lyrics of my favourite songs roamed freely in my memory, ready to flow into song whenever I wanted.  There were ready records of phone numbers of friends and family that I could rattle off at will. Birthdays and anniversaries were etched in my grey matter, giving me the joy of wishing dear ones on their special days.

Cut to now. There is a song that has been eluding me from this morning. It sits at the edge of my memory and teases me. I know that I can pick up my phone and look for it on the internet, but just for once I want to recollect and download it from that once sharp memory. As I walk briskly, I furrow my brows, as if that act will somehow help me remember. I give up after a while.

Courtesy – http://www.pexels.com

Has my memory been transferred to my phone? It is a shocking possibility. My phone holds my calendar, appointments, birthdays and anniversaries lists, mobile numbers, landline numbers, sticky notes, songs, voice recordings, news, weather reports, kids’ schedules, shoppings lists, book lists and many other things. Is there anything that I really need to remember on my own? Will I eventually lose my ability to remember even simple things without my phone? Seems quite plausible.

No wonder people clutch their phones as if their very existence depends on it. Wherever one goes, people are tapping into their alternative phone memories for simple, everyday tasks.

Such problems did not exist a few decades ago – a time when my mom could easily quote recipes and lists, where my dad never forgot where he kept anything, where my gran could recollect and narrate hundreds of stories from Indian mythology to keep us engaged.

Somewhere between then and now, our phones have hijacked our memories. And, sigh! The song is still teasing me from the edges of my memory.

‘Creating’ memories


The days are flying, and there are days when time seems to have vanished between sunrise and sunset. I try to recall what I did or what I ate, but I am simply not able to remember. Where did the day go?

However, I can easily identify every single classmate of mine from old school photos. I can remember the lyrics to most of the songs we heard as children.

But now, when someone asks me to sing any new song, I can only remember the tune, and I make up my own lyrics on the fly, much to the embarrassment of my children.

Earlier this week, I was a participant in an event, where our group performed a medley of songs.

We had lots of fun preparing for the event. However, all of us had a problem with our memories and the lyrics. For the first few days we used papers and our phones.

But as with everything else, confidence comes only if we are word perfect. So we tried our best to do away with the papers and our phones.

But this presented another problem – this effort required absolute concentration, where we could not allow even a stray thought to intrude into our minds.

One stray thought and the lyrics just flew away, leaving us opening and closing our mouths like fish, trying desperately to get the lyrics back into our heads.

Courtesy – http://www.123rf.com

What happened to those memory chain games where a group of us sat and reeled off names of animals or fruits and added a new animal or fruit to the already long list?

These days, if I don’t remember to write things down, there is a 100% chance that they will be washed away from my memory, making sure to come back and haunt me in the future.

Once I make my lists, I need alarms on my phone as back up. What if I don’t remember to see the list?

And this is how it is now, my life, trying to ‘create’ memories of simple, everyday things.

Hyperlinking in the forties


After the forties have rolled-in, life has changed in subtle ways. There is always this feeling of being at the mid-point of one’s life, knowing that four decades have flown past, and there is much to be done. However, goal-setting has become more realistic, and one is generally more comfortable in one’s skin. 

Having said this, there is another side to this whole ‘forties’ story. And, much to my alarm it seems to only get worse. For want of a better term, I call it the ‘hyperlinking syndrome’. With teenagers and tweens at home, and multiple activities to coordinate, it is no surprise! 


Courtesy – can stock photo

This syndrome has nothing to do with either the Internet or technology. Let me explain.

So, for example, I go to the bedroom to pick up some clothes. Before I reach the cupboard, my eyes fall on some books that have been left there by my daughter. My brain hyperlinks to this new task. I shake my head and take the books to be put away. As I turn around, I find a towel lying on the floor. Hyperlink again. I pick up the towel, and have the books in the other hand. I head to the laundry room. While there, I realize that the washing machine has finished washing. Hyperlink. I take the clothes out to dry. Hyperlink. I need to water the plants. Hyperlink. I need coffee. I make myself a cup. Hyperlink. I make a list of grocery items that I need to buy. Hyperlink. I look for a pen. Hyperlink. I get distracted by messages on my phone.

It is only much later that I realize that I never took the clothes from the cupboard, and that my daughter’s books are still in the laundry area. This is how it is now.  

Hyperlinks are really cool in the tech-world, but when one’s brain hyperlinks to unrelated tasks, it is not so cool.
Writing down to-do lists doesn’t seem to help any! What I need is a voice instructor that orders and supervises me to finish every task that I take up, before I rush to do another task. 

Memory wiped clean


Certain combinations do not work well together. I am a self confessed obsessive compulsive cleaner; combine this with a dash of forgetfulness, and you have a crazy woman running around in a clean house looking for things.

Recently, we revamped our furniture. The kids are grown up and less likely to spill, soil or tear or doodle on the walls. All these years, our upholstery was in various shades of brown. Shades that effectively camouflaged chocolate and all other kinds of stains.

When our new furniture arrived, I put away everything and arranged all the pieces. A place for everything and everything in its place. Or so I thought.

This last week, I had to burn some music on a DVD. This was my last thought before I slept that night.  I put a reminder on my phone for 6 am in the morning.

When my phone reminded me, I walked straight to the cupboard where the blank DVDs are kept.

Unconsciously, I had gone to the place where the old cupboard containing the DVDs used to be.  In my state of semi-sleep, I was shocked. Where was the cupboard? It took a few seconds for the fog to clear. Oh yeah, new furniture and all that. I sighed in relief.

But then, a few seconds later I realized that I could not remember where I had kept the DVDs.

So opening and closing cupboards, the  crazy hunt began. So many things neatly organized, but no sign of the DVDs.  I had to go buy new ones.

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     Courtesy – http://www.openclipart.org

A few days later I found them safely tucked away, in a carton, with other cables and remote controls.

What’s to blame ? My cleaning skills or my memory. I decided to blame it on trying to start a day without coffee.