It’s something whose existence we forget to remember.
It’s something we cannot imagine living without.
It’s something that we fail to notice except when we need to rummage it to retrieve and replay an old scene.
But without our memories, we do not exist.
The last couple of weeks I experienced a few alarming lapses of memory – uncharacteristic, I believe. The first instance is all the more alarming because right now, I cannot remember what I had forgotten. I remember saying “How can I forget something like that?!” — and for the world of mine I cannot recall what it was about.
The second time, I spent two days trying to recollect a name – of someone I once knew so well, someone I had spoken of just last month, someone I had spoken to a few months ago, someone who had resurfaced after a few years’ silence, someone whose name is very common & easy to remember. I went through all possible names that start with each letter of the alphabet, but I did not get it. I knew I just had to make a phone call to another person and I would get it in a second – but making that phone call meant I had lost. I did not want to give up – not just yet. Moreover, I did not want my vulnerability thus exposed. 48 hours later, the name just came back to me – calmly and easily as if it had just gone out for a breath of fresh air. (Don’t ask how relieved I was.)
The third is another slate wiped clean: I remember receiving the medicine. I remember thinking, I need to keep it so that I will not forget to pack it. Then comes the blackout. I searched all possible places where I could have kept the medicine “safe” but it just ain’t there. The medicine that vanished that day has not yet been found.
Motherhood comes with its own share of absent-mindedness. And in my case they did come in droves, in the last 7-8 years. I got used to them, more or less, because the clouds would clear after a while, and the forgotten thing would reappear like that lost name (sometimes they don’t, but I wasn’t unduly worried). But these instances (and maybe more that I have forgotten about) were a wee bit terrifying.
But if we really think about it, it need not be terrifying or alarming. Instead, what could be alarming is the number of thoughts that cross us in any random five minutes of our life. Close your eyes and analyse the last five minutes and you will know what I am talking about. Is it even natural for a person to have so many thoughts criss-crossing his mind? No wonder some of them slip out, and we could safely tag it as absent-mindedness.