Friday, March 20, 2009

Memory Remains

Why is that we forget some things easily and some things remain with us for a lifetime? Why do some words, incidents or people provoke some certain memories? No, I am not going to be a psychologist and answer these questions. But the fact remains that memories are inherent to all human beings. There is a portion in the brain called the Cerebellum which is responsible for storing the memories. It is believed that an electric stimulus to this region will stimulate an old memory which you may have forgotten. However, we may not need something as drastic as that! Some memories remain with us forever whether we like them or not!

Like the word ‘Beautiful’ for me. Quick, what does this word remind you of? Some old flame? An actor/actress? An amazing scenery or place? A stunning piece of art? While most of you on hearing or reading this word may get an image of a beautiful girl or a handsome guy, I on the other hand remember a spelling bee contest in my 2nd standard.

There were 30 words to be spelt and the teacher would recite them one by one and we had to write our version of their spellings them down. After some tricky ones like ‘parachute’, ‘editorial’, ‘encouragement’, the word ‘Beautiful’ came. I wrote it as “Beatiful” without the U. After the test, I came out with a sense of accomplishment and triumph. On discussion with my tiny tot pals, I realized that my version of the word was incorrect. I still maintained my defense that the U is not there in beautiful. However, the English teacher being the final adjudicator, confirmed my fear. I have never forgotten the spelling of beautiful after that. I lost the contest by the way, by 1 word: BEAUTIFUL. It is funny how this word and the contest has got stuck in my memory. For me, Beautiful will always remain the fish that got away and not some petite girl. For them, I prefer the word Gorgeous, Stunning and other synonyms of The B word.

But why do I still remember it? Was the sense of failure too strong? I guess not. My best friend ( a doctor by the way)has this explanation:
When strong emotions surge through us our bodies respond by pumping adrenalin into our blood stream. In addition to preparing us to run or fight, adrenalin enhances our memories of what was happening when the emotion hit. This biological response was probably a very good feature of our species. Stories create emotions too and therefore there's no surprise that we remember the best stories, they ones that touch our hearts, make us laugh or even just create a feeling of puzzlement.
Maybe, But I am not convinced. There has to be something more philosophical, something more random behind it. If adrenalin is the reason, why do I remember the time in Goa when we did nothing but laze around on the beach? Was it the break in the monotony from office then?

Or maybe it is the thing with us Indians. We tend to narrow down and focus on our supposed lack of achievements (I'm refraining from using the word 'failure'). I have seen & heard people recount their tales of rejection with pride. I am not counting the traumatic experiences people have, but normal affairs with a tinge of sadness or a sense of failure. Indians tend to give air to their problems so as to (unknowingly) extract some measure of pity and sympathy from their compatriots.

Anyhows, memories are a great thing. They serve as a reminder to our lives, accomplishments, holidays, friends, events. But the are not the only thing; like in the movie Ghajini, the character of Aamir Khan in the movie suffers from long term memory loss and can only remember the last 10 minutes of his life. Wish my boss suffers from that!

Our short term memory is definitely better than our long term one. That is why, you may not remember this whole post but you will indeed remember the story of Dhruv & the spelling contest.


ps- There is also a song "Memory Remains" by Metallica. Recommended.


Anil said...

Really nice but what ever you have written you have not justified that in any scenes.
Let me tell you some thing brain contains detailed representations of lots of different events and objects, we can’t always find that information when we want it( Thats what happened to Aamir in Ghajini).If we’re shown an object, we can often be very accurate and precise at being able to say whether we’ve seen it before.If we’re in a toy store and trying to remember what it was that our son wanted for his birthday, however, we need to be able to voluntarily search our memory for the right answer without being prompted by a visual reminder. It seems that it is this voluntary searching mechanism that’s prone to interference and forgetfulness. You know why you remember the word "Beautiful" because when ever you write "Beautiful" automatically it will come in to your mind about the correction made by your teacher and you will write the word correctly. Our mind id just like search engine, some times when you search some thing you won't get immediate result as there are lot of same thing or search has to go through lot of things so takes time or some times fails.

Love to See your next blog soon.


Dhruv said...

Please excuse some of the spelling mistakes

Anonymous said...

well its a good blog...liked it...reminds me howmost ppl usually remember things..pictoral memory..they associate pics, diagrams , and photos etc with things ,ppl,names, etc..i got a frd who usually associate ppl with thei phone numbers or birthdates..its weird,,but usually rem things which have touched their hearts and modified their thinking, their personality a bit or had a kinda we dont rem the ice-man standing on the road but will surely will rme the one who forgot to ask u its like our brain filters all that happens in a day..analyse it and stores the info..we will be needing in future, or..something one will love to have replay of......

mahima said...

hey dhruv, once again i loved it.. really nice. Btw, care for a psychological explaination of tht memory.. hehe... no ont bore you. But,i liked this one. Do leave a scrap once in a while!!

mahima said...

Just remembered some lines..

the tide recedes but leaves behind bright sea shells on the sand,

the sun goes down but gentle warmth still lingers on the land

The music stops yet it echoes on in sweet refrains

For everything that passes something ' beautiful' remains.

anuj said...

nice blog bhaiya......made me think a lot as to what exactly makes us rememba things..n what i can conclude of it is dat its d "unusual" dat v r most likely to rememba, sumthin out f d course......or may b sumthin dat affects us in sum way.......or sumthin dats pleasant.......or even unpleasant.......but den y do i rememba u sayin'"yeah, i hav a gf, mahima" on jk channel....hw did dat affect me....donno....
n i hadnt heard of d wrd luvsick till i was 13 n guess what u were d 1 who spat dat wrd out......
ummm, tuf 2 say what makes us rememba as ur frnd said, it cud b adrenaline......


Anonymous said...

Nice Blog :-)

Kunal Sapru said...

Very nice blog !!
Nice work.