Lakshmi Kothaneth –
How many times have you been part of a conversation where you could not remember the other person’s name?
How many times have you apologetically explained, “I am good with voices and faces, but not with names?”
When was the last time you asked for someone’s full name as you tried to save a person’s mobile number on your phone?
How many numbers do you have on your mobile phone that you have not used and might never recognise if they were to call or text you?
Happened to meet someone after five years and they seemed to know everything about you, you smile enthusiastically trying to desperately remember their name. Then you make up your mind it is better to carry on without embarrassing yourself by asking for the other person’s name. Back home, you are still wondering who the person you spoke to was?
How many times did you want to disappear when a person asked, “Do you remember me?”
Still better, let us take a peek into your mobile phone directory. You will find extra details of some people in order to recognise them. And you hope that the other person would never get to see how you have saved his/her name.
Do you wish everyone wore a name tag?
Have you been worrying whether your memory has been effected? Do you think you are going through the information overload syndrome?
Dr Hamad al Sinawi, chairman of Alzheimer’s Society, says information is a good thing. He says it is good to stay updated. “Things are changing quickly and people need to know the latest news. Then, there are the less relevant news too such as celebrities and what they are up to,” said Dr Hamad.
Dr Hamad said something more that is interesting, “News on products may encourage people to be in the ‘I want that’ state of mind; such as I want the latest car or the latest smartphone.”
That explains our obsession with the social media and YouTube. But somewhere along, we tend to lose details. ‘I want that’ state of mind is very much one can relate to childhood too. As children, we are naturally hopeful. Children beam with a confidence of ‘anything is possible’. It could be the result of fairy tales and pure faith in miracles. As we get older, we tend to be practical and almost shy away from being an optimist lest we are labelled as idealists or not serious.
Once again when you were a child one of the most curious questions we asked when you met someone for the first time is, “What is your name?” And if we forgot, we would ask again.
So what happens when we forget names of people we have met before?
This is what Dr Hamad has to say. “Forgetting names is not necessarily due to memory loss. In most cases, people tend to forget because they aren’t paying attention or he/she is stressed and preoccupied.”
Interestingly, the second part is too familiar and is an area almost everyone can work on. A whole lot of conversations and details can be all lost because the mind was busy with other thoughts. It could be an assignment that needs to be completed or thinking over the minutes of a meeting.
As for the ‘I want’ state of mind, although it keeps the mind active it brings in a materialistic mindset. “It encourages people to be materialistic and it is not long lasting. Once you have the latest gadget, you lose interest and move on to newer things. It is ‘I want’ rather than ‘I need’,” explains Dr Hamad.
In fact, that is a bit of deep philosophy right there. But it still leaves us wondering, “Why can’t everyone wear name tags?” Just thinking.