Memory: Then and Now !

Here’s a question for you! Have you experienced your memory, so to speak, playing tricks on you? Do you remember something that happened 50 years ago in great detail but can’t for the life of you remember where you left your spectacles a mere 5 minutes ago? To prove my point, here’s a quick example. As I write this blog post, my brain flashes to me an appropriate line: “Yes, I’m certain that it happens all the time!”. It is from the distant past being from the popular song, ” With A Little Help From My Friends”  by The Beatles released in 1967!! 

As we age, there lurks the danger of dementia and Alzheimers. This article in the reputed Mayo Clinic website spells out all you need to know in considerable detail. One of the ways we can fight the advent of this is to keep our minds active. The article says: “Mentally stimulating activities, such as reading, solving puzzles and playing word games, and memory training might delay the onset of dementia and decrease its effects.”

The other day my wife remembered how in the 1950s the houses had wooden gates. One thing led to another and we recalled the times when we envied those who not only had cars but those fitted with luggage carriers on the roof! Of the days when we couldn’t dial a phone number ourselves but had to ask the P & T operator to make a call for you to some one in another part of the country ! Also that it was the ultimate to have someone make a “PP Call” or a ” Person To Person” call as they were named!!

In the same vein,  recently I found myself singing the words of a song that I recalled from the distant past. As kids we had heard it over Radio Ceylon and the Listeners Choice on All India Radio, Madras once a week! In 2020 thanks to technology, I keyed in the snatches of the song as I remembered and hey presto! Google showed me that the song was” A Little Bit Of Soap”by The Jarmels, released in 1961!!  A thrilling moment indeed to not only hear this old song but to see them perform, though sadly I heard none of them are alive today.

I then remembered other old favorites from my childhood,” Que Sera, Sera” by Doris Day, from 1956 which my Dad and his brothers used to hum endlessly and later ” Lipstick On Your Collar” by Connie Francis that dates back to 1959.  There was a boy in school with me called Menon who sang this playing the guitar. I just couldn’t remember his first name but as I wrote this I was amazed to remember – after 61 years – that it was Ashok. He was from South Bombay and stayed in the Lawrence School, Lovedale only for a few years!!

As I write this with my mind in the past, I was brought back to the present by my wife asking me whether I had paid the electricity bill in time. I thought I had but I wasn’t sure. Was that the electricity bill I had paid or the one for my cell phone? Was it for my cell phone or for hers? Was it due on March 22 or March 11? Was it paid by credit card online or by PayTM. I need to sign off and check it out!!

There is no use in remembering Connie Francis, Doris Day or The Jarmels if my electricity is disconnected!!

And by the way, if  you are interested in knowing more about short term and long term memory and all that happens in between you may like to read this article,  Short Term Memory Duration and Capacity

If you can relate to what I have written, I would love to hear from you!


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