Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Have you ever stuck your head into the frig and wondered why you’ve opened it? Or frantically combed the house for your car keys just as you are leaving? Or thought of a hundred things to do and when you sit down to do it, nothing stays in your mind?  Don’t  come to the conclusion that you have Alzeimer’s. It could happen at any age…

It was about ten years ago, realising that the present day life is fraught with stress and the compression of a  million to-do things is compressed into a couple of days. The brain goes into an overdrive and it is but natural that periodic amnesia sets in very early in life! There are methods which will remove some of the frenzy you get into when you can’t remember where and what. Every day jot down the things you plan to do, and even if you tick off 60% of the list you have achieved something.

Keep things in the same familiar place. Your key rack should be  in the most accessible place and the keys hung on the nails in the same order. These could be car keys, your store room keys, your cabinet keys etc. But keys to your precious cupboards where you keep your cash, jewellery etc should not dangle in the most obvious place. Tuck the kothu saavi into your waist if you are  a woman, as I do, otherwise hide it in one particular place, and do it when your maids are not watching you like hawks. I have hid these keys so safely, that I have spent hours in a hide-and-seek game looking for them. Moral of the story…. slip it into the same hiding place. When the place has been discovered, its time to change it like your password. When you do, please divulge this to your spouse, but if he or she also has periodic amnesia, tell another member of the family who has a sound memory.

If you still don’t want to tell, open a memory book, and it will be one of your priceless acquisitions especially as an old age comfort device. Reserve it only for your memory recall jottings.  The first thing I did when we converted our beautiful home into apartments, and occupied a downsized version of the original,  was to put away lots of stuff into the lofts we so provided with foresight.  Out came my brand new memory book where I listed the lofts in each room and wrote down what they housed. That dimpled hand beaten copper sombu, the dinner service, old coffee filters, and idli pathrams…every item was listed, so I didn’t have to go into a nerve wracking ordeal of wondering where these priceless possessions disappeared to. And whenever the time came when they didn’t seem so priceless, I knew where they were ensconced and gave them away without a second glance, proud that I had evolved, and happy that I was losing my materialist yearnings to acquire or hoard these things.

Women these days keep most of their expensive jewellery in the bank. But do they know what these items are?  We keep “loaning” or presenting our children with the odd earring, necklaces or bangles. When you question them they are equally vague and say they are not sure what you gave them.  Flip the pages of your memory book and you will find the answer if you have been methodical enough to write it down. And when it comes to domestic help and advances, writing it down, together with the due  date of repayment helps immensely.

Those of us who are great planners, and consider ourselves visionaries, try to tidy our lives for our children.  We make our will, and entreat our children to take away family heirlooms which we enjoyed for many years. Alas there are very few takers among our younger generation today, and once clearance can be obtained from the inheritors, list them so that they can be disposed off or at least written off to people you would like to bequeath them to.

 How many of us write living wills? This was taught to us by a dear friend who wanted to make life easy for executors of his will.  There is absolutely no bar on writing this when you are young!  It just means putting down a list of where you keep your important documents. Like your fixed deposits. Your key to the bank safe. Passwords. Bank Passbooks. Insurance papers. Wills.  Anything at all which are very private and which should be accessible to your next of kin.

I used to wonder if the Memory Book a veritable data base of information,  should be kept under lock and key. The answer is a definite NO NO.  If it is tucked away chances are that you will not summon the energy to go and fetch it. It should be placed within your reach, easily accessible, and yet somewhere where prying eyes will not uncover your secrets.

With all this advice, chances are you might misplace your memory book like I did! To remember where you kept it, now I guess you need sticky notes on your computer and save it on your mobile, and pray that they won’t crash!




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