Forgetting…

Forgotten bug photo © Copyright by Peter Pryharski

I can’t seem to recall the name of our arts class teacher, Madam ________. It was a very unique name. I do clearly remember her face and one particular interaction with her, when she said, ‘it seems Yasser’s favorite color is orange’.

I simply can’t recall the class we were in, or my age at the time, but this could have been the seventh or eighth class for all I can recall. We didn’t have Arts in later years, so if orange was my favorite color, I got to know at about that age. If you ask me today, I still feel, orange is my favorite color. Or it’s a dazzling color to see, that sure it is.

As for our teacher’s name, I just can’t seem to remember and I’ve tried for a few weeks now. It’s a very interesting name, one that you’d remember, but I simply can’t, and I haven’t asked any of my friends. I simply wanted to see if I could recall it over the past few weeks. I haven’t yet.

To confirm that I haven’t lost a huge portion of my memories, here are a handful of names of our teachers from class one and onwards… Madam Tasneef, Madam Zahoor, Madam Kazim, Madam Karim, Madam Azra Wasti, Madam Fatima, Madam Erum, Madam Razia, Madam Ghazala, … all of them no problems, I can recall them and know their names quite well.

Amongst the above, there’s one teacher who slapped me once. And she’s not Madam Razia, thanks to Allah Subhana Wa Taala for that, because if anyone was spared getting a slap from Madam Razia back in the day, it must have been me, and, I vouch for the fact that irrespective of race, color, gender or creed, every student that crossed the path of Madam Razia, had felt the crack of her slap right below their left ear or right below the left ear of a fellow student. If not every, a qualified majority had. I’m only assuming Madam was right handed, if not, then of course everyones’ right cheeks would have been honored. Yet, I was spared and that story is worth telling, in a future post.

So, I can recall a whole bunch of names from childhood, and my interactions, but for some reason, some darn reason that evades me, I just can’t remember the name of our Arts teacher, who actually was a great teacher. Immaculately dressed, appreciative of us and I still do remember her. The name seems to be lingering around, I almost can say it, then I get stuck at, “Mrs/Ms …”.

Wondering over this has given me a valuable thought. My memory may have only started to fade slightly, the slight bit that wouldn’t worry me, but that, the thought of losing some memories close to my heart forever is scary. Not that, like Albus Dumbledore of Harry Potter, we could simply store some of our key memories in the Pensieve of Hogwarts, only to review them later! If at all that was possible in our frail world, it would be another mischievous disaster.

I have found some of my friends in a slightly more worrisome situation. They can’t recall some of what they said or did, and have forgotten great moments that I do remember vividly, we had together. The scale at which this runs is simply shocking. One of my friends who used to visit his brother at PAF (some twenty odd years ago) raved about the Chicken Quorma or Murgh Korma (one of the most tasty curries that originates from Delhi and from the cuisine of the Mughals) made at the PAF mess. It was so amazing for my friend that he had once requested the PAF chef to make a large portion, what we call in Urdu, a Pateela (larger than a usual pot) of this Chicken Quorma so he could bring it back home and store in smaller portions, to eat later. These were times when we were back home in Pakistan to study and our parents still lived in the GCC, so living alone and having someone prepare our food for us, was a challenge.

I never ate or saw this particular Quorma, I can’t place this thought, did I try it, or did I not? Still if ever, I do remember my friend’s insane love of it and this particular story – it’s a true story and we can make a movie out of it – The Quorma? Unfortunately for him, he doesn’t remember it at all, zero, zip, zilch, nada. Whenever I’ve reminded him about it, he just hasn’t been able to remember. I wonder what that PAF chef remembers about this Quorma Haram (derived from Namak Haram, slang and used to mean: unthankful $#&@), a nagging younger brother of a PAF officer who pestered him to make Murgh Korma in bucketloads.

Then there’s another friend, who’s on all kinds of medication (the ones that control sugar, or keep your BP in check) because of a lifestyle that the human body just can’t sustain for long periods of time. He’s been forgetting whether he had told me something or not, over and over again. It’s either the effects of these meds, or it’s simply the fact that one’s too busy to put a marker out there, for what someone had said or was told, at some point in time. This isn’t a disease or something, it’s just poor memory management, or it’s mental fatigue, the fact that you say the same thing over and over again to so many people, you literally can’t recall who you’ve said it to or have. It’s simply an over worked brain, and that affects memory, or may trigger memory loss.

We all forget. It’s said that the name ‘Insaan’ in Arabic comes from a root word that means ‘to forget’. Jokingly I often comment that if said or read like a Westerner, the word would almost be pronounced, ‘Insane’, which is quite amusing given that this particular creation of God, doesn’t seem to stop amazing at any and all levels of stupidity. Stupidity, or the things we choose to do for years (or don’t), then graciously, we tend to forget, naturally, with the passing of time, or the advent of old age.

I’m sure there are events in my past that I wouldn’t recall. I’ve been told that, but I’ve found it hard to believe. As if my mind simply looked up the memory and came back with a blank or a note that, ‘This never happened.’ It either never was, or that I never found it important to hang on to, in which case, it was neither painful enough, nor enjoyable at the least. May be it did occur and that it’s been lost, which is okay with me, because it must’ve been entirely rubbish.

Then there’s the idea that memories are worth keeping, which they are not, because as people realize their Photo apps are getting smarter and smarter in reminding them what they did (or photographed) years ago, or sometimes just an year or two ago, and I’ve only seen people fall into nostalgia (longing for the past) and sadness after spending time looking at their own photos and videos – which should really make them happy for the amazing time spent, not sad or skewed towards an unhealthy state – yet, it’s rampant, our mind, our emotions and our little friend Satan, all nudge us towards madness and unthankfulness.

Considering the fact that this entire article came about because of a little glitch in my mind, about the name of our teacher, and that I’ve been wondering what if I lost some of the things I know from my past about our elders and family, it only encourages me to write more, and make it an excuse to note down some of the stuff that keeps me kicking subconsciously.

An effort like this can help me share thoughts with my children, and to pen some stuff to remember, for the time (if I am blessed with it; old age) when it will be fun to read or to have someone read, this journal.

At least, I’ll try to be a judge then, to see if it all was worth… forgetting?

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2 Comments

  1. Although that brother of PAF officer does sound familiar, Qorma’s love looks weird and perhaps your friend forgot it on a purpose. Keep writing. And pray for Ms Razia. heard she was admitted to ICU in critical condition.

  2. O what have you been doing bhai… kia yaad dila diya… The best lesson of the week in 8th the Art lesson by the wonderful Mrs Bintori 😜 … Its a great idea to pen down you memories n keep sharing so that we can also go back in time 👍🏻 Thanks for sharing 🌹

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