I have a very powerful memory. It’s called an eidetic memory in the terms of psychology. It’s different from the photographic memory, which rememberes anything after seeing it once, with one drawback. Like photographs, the recollection fades after a time. I have to painstakingly learn something, but once learned, I never forget it. Just like dimples, which are actually an atrophy or malfunction of facial muscles but enhance the beauty of a lady, eidetic memory is a malfunction of gray cells, which robs them of the erasing power and they retain whatever they have stored till infinity, or till the day one meets one’s maker. It’s a boon as well as a bane. There’s a lot we would like to forget, but are cursed to remember as if it happened yesterday. Anyway…
People struggle with remembering names or faces. I don’t. In fact, I not only remember names, but also understand their meanings in various languages. I am not satisfied by just recollecting faces. I also analyze them psycho-somatically and catalog them. The only hitch is, I can’t link the right name to the right face and goof up royally. I keep talking to someone under the delusion that he’s Ramesh and at the end he turns out to be Suresh. The other day, I met someone, who proved the caliber of this super brain of mine.
That day, I met this guy in the cafeteria of Sutherland, the company I work with. He was an older looking fellow. Short and squat, he had longish gray hair and was all whiskers and moustaches, with his mouth lost in the impenetrable jungle surrounding it. He was a brainy looking chap and seemed lost in the melee of our rowdy café. I thought he looked familiar. Immediately, the supercomputer on my shoulders went to work. It started the herculean task of matching the faces in the database with the names listed therein, meanwhile looking up the face in question. I just stood thinking… if you can call such a complex data analysis with such a domestic name as thinking!
I was having a tough time locating the name. The weird thing about names is not that they always elude you. It’s the fact that they misguide you. You meet a fellow and begin trying to remember his name. You can swear that it starts with S. You go through the canon of Somesh, Sony, Siddharth etc and the chappy turns out to be Ravi! And then you say, that’s what I always thought! Damned silly thing, I say!
I was still trying to figure it out when suddenly the guy started walking towards me. It was difficult to guess the expressions on his face, if any. The shrubbery successfully hid all his features. I pitied the kids of this patriarch, who would spend a lifetime wondering if their beloved parent was smiling or groaning whenever he came to them. He came to me and a voice echoed from the caverns behind the overgrowth of his face, “Hello! Surprised to see you here, sir!”
I was taken aback! Not in a little awe of this guy for scoring where I was still struggling! I managed to say, “Do you remember me?”
“Remember you? You always were my role model, sir! I always admired your business acumen and leadership qualities!”, he gushed.
I looked around proudly to check if everyone was listening. Especially my boss, who never thought much of me. Like all senior directors, he was rumored to spend half his day in the café or the smoking zone. Some wags on the floor also claimed that he received an special incentive for the time spent in the café. I’m not sure how far this was true because he was as permanent a fixture here as the hotplate. Just my luck that he wasn’t there today! The people were busy watching IPL match on the TV. The cafeteria guy was staring vacantly at the ceiling with his mouth half open, daydreaming of whatever these café guys dream of. May be, some swanky restaurant! It was like a cloud bursting over a lake, where it’s ignored, whereas a desert parched due to lack of water. All this praise and no one there to listen to it! I tried to act nonchalant, waving away his effusive praises modestly, while cursing KKR and CSK for their ill timed match and stealing my thunder! I was desperately trying to remember this guy’s name. It’s considered rude and outright criminal to forget the name of someone, who’s so inspired by one!
He continued his monologue, “When you left Wipro, I left soon afterwards. Now I came here in search of a job and luckily met you! It must be my lucky day!”
Wipro! Wipro? What Wipro! I never worked with Wipro in my life, for God’s sake!
He should have seen the perplexity on my face, because he nervously asked, “Aren’t you Apratim Mukherjee, Service Delivery Manager from Wipro?”
“No, sir. I’m not.” I replied testily. “I’m Rakesh Pandey.”
“Oh, forgive me!”, he was motified, though not more than me, who just wanted to get away from the site of accident before some familiar face spotted me and joshed me till the end of my life. “You bear an uncanny resemblance to Mr. Mukherjee! I really thought that it’s him!”
“Well, this is not him.”, I said and slunk out of the café. The only consolation being, I wasn’t the only ass in the world who goofs up in matching names to faces. This Methuselah was worse than me.
Till then, the supercomputer whirred and clicked and spewed out the final result. I knew this guy after all. Only he died 150 years ago. This relic was a spitting image of George Bernard Shaw.
So much for my super memory! Kal se badam khaya karunga!