Archive for March, 2009

Forgetting – The three syllables can either get you into deep, deep, abysmal trouble or can bail you out of an icky situation like a savior, as the case may be, and alter the course of history (your own and/or of all humanity). Yes, my love and respect for the word and the act itself is immeasurable. Hence, ‘I forget, therefore I am’!

Alright! This was perhaps the lamest of attempts to rationalize my most conspicuous trait – yes, you guessed that right – forgetting. It is so natural for me to forget as it is for a memory chip to store data. If it does not save it’s not a memory chip and if I don’t forget, it’s not me! Sometimes I feel a fish or even an ant has better retention than I do. My lack of memory is very subjective though. There are only certain things or incidents that slip out of my mind, not everything. So, it’s not like I have alzheimer’s or anything. Some people call this trait ‘absent mindedness’ while I just call it ‘forgetfulness’. These little anecdotes will demonstrate what a splendid memory I have and what games my brain sometimes plays with me. In effect, they will show how this trait got me into deep, deep, deep trouble!

Let’s begin with a more recent occurrence. This happened only a few months ago. A relative had temporarily moved to another city and left his almost dump-worthy car with me. My roomie and I began using that car for everything including missed-bus-to-campus-so-take-the-car kind of emergencies. It was mid-term time. One of my exams was at 5.15 pm and I had to catch the 4.30 bus, which, goes without saying, I missed. So, I had no choice but to take the car. Now, the catch is, I didn’t have the permit to park that car on campus (getting a permit for cars owned by someone else was an unnecessary rigmarole, so I gave that a miss!) and had to park somewhere ‘near’ but not ‘on’ campus. So, I parked it at the McDonalds, just outside campus, and walked to class. The exam went well, I then finished post-exam discussions, walked to the bus-stop with a friend, caught the bus and came home (I actually took the bus back home, yes!). Not once did it cross my mind that I had driven to class that evening. The night went by.

Next morning – class at 10.10 am, had to catch the 9.30 bus. Now, it is  imperative that I state the not-so-petty fact that I missed the darned 9.30 bus again and decided to take the blessed car! I went to the apartment parking lot and walked straight to the spot where I usually park the car and………voilà……..NO CAR!! It wasn’t there (How would it? It was twiddling tires in the McD’s parking lot, Helloo!!)!! Scouring the entire parking lot only burnt the last few ounces of flesh left on my bones and fetched nothing. My heart leapt to my throat (I thought I was going to choke to death!). I panicked like a fainting goat!

I searched the parking lot again as I tried to think back to the previous evening. This was the chain of events that I recalled at that time – “I missed the bus as usual, took the car, parked at McD’s, walked to class, gave the exam, walked with the friend and then how did I come back home? O yes! The wretched bus! Then, where’s the……………………………O F***!! O F***!!O F***!!” I almost fainted out of shock! I had never prayed as fervently as I did that day, for the car not to be towed away or even worse, stolen. I was thinking of all sorts of rational and irrational explanations to give my relative, in the event of something unfortunate. I began to think of my bank balance, loans and other finances and about how long I might take to repay him. Going by the crunch I faced, the prospect of paying back seemed pretty far. “Screw the class, I’ve got to get the car back or I’m screwed! Big Time!!” I thought. “The car is your Holy Grail!” – the only thought that echoed in my head like a thousand singing choirs nymphs!

I waited for the next bus and prayed. I prayed through the journey to the Holy McD’s! I got off the bus with trembling feet, and a lump in my throat. I walked into the parking lot and there it was!! My Holy Grail!! My El Dorado!! My Shangrila!! It was right where I had parked it! To me that derelict contraption they called, the car, looked like a mountain of gold and it glowed and shimmered! It seemed as if I had fulfilled my life’s purpose and had nothing more to achieve – Nirvana!! It was then that I swallowed that lump in the throat and ran to the car in slow-motion, hugged it and kissed it! I thanked all the gods a million times, sat in the car and drove back home! I missed the next class in all the excitement and joy of finding the car safe and not-so-sound!

This incident may seem shocking and is likely to create all sorts of impressions of me. But I’ll still tell you the story. I was 10 and was enjoying a perfect summer vacation at my maternal uncle’s place in Vizag’s Naval Park*. Their kid (my cousin) was a one-and-a-half year-old baby then. I was very fond of him and I’d play with him all day. Their flat was on the 7th floor and there was a little playground just outside the building. One evening, as my grandma watched me, I took him down to the playground. My uncle and aunt hadn’t returned home from work. I left my cousin with a few other kids of his age. I had already befriended a few kids my age and was playing GI-JOE with them. My team won a battle and, all excited, I ran home to tell everyone.

The moment she saw me, my grandmother, clearly aghast, “WHERE’S THE BABY?”

SKIP HEART BEAT! SHOCK! STARE! GAPE! STARE LONGER!

She gave me one tight slap, grabbed me by my ear and dragged me out of the house to look for my cousin. Some crying ensued. As we waited for the lift and as her cussing and my sobbing continued uninterrupted, the lift opened and my uncle’s neighbor walked out of it with my cousin in her arms. Man, the relief!! Some killer gazes, threats and lectures later, my grandmom took the baby from her and thanked her. I felt like a prisoner walking to the gallows, as I walked into the house and as the door closed behind me. Let’s suffice it to say that I thought I might be murdered that night and wouldn’t see daylight ever again! I didn’t sleep a wink!

These anecdotes pretty much drive the point home and are self-explanatory of the trait I began talking about, which was……..err……which was……what was that again? Damn it!! Someone remind me! What the hell was it that I began talking about?

PS: With this post I’d actually like to apologize to my cousin, who is now 15 and is giving his 10th boards, for almost putting him on the ‘Missing’ children’s list!!

PPS: * Naval Park is a residential township for Naval officers stationed in the Eastern Naval Command at Visakhapatnam, AP.

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