Saturday, August 24, 2013

Bourne Again

The most famous global citizen living in Amnesia is Jason Bourne.  Hollywood has squeezed the towel dry for every molecule of profit to be made from a most intriguing character created by Robert Ludlum.

Somewhere in between was this piece of magical movie making called “Momento”. Never seen a plot being narrated backwards so well. It also has do with a memory immigrant.  Then Aamir Khan got involved in a Hindi version and killed everything clever about it.

Yesterday I saw a movie called “Mumbai Police”, a Malayalam movie. Great flick. Also based around a memory loss premise. What happens when you suffer a memory loss on the cusp of cracking a case? 

I had a brief personal experience after an accident. I couldn't remember a thing for about 2 hours including who my two close friends were, who were with me when it happened and took me to the hospital. Its another matter that many would gladly have memory loss about having ever met me.

But this isn’t about the movies. But some observations on the memory thing.

You forget everything that happened. But the stuff you’ve trained your mind and body to do works as good as before. Its like that magic writing pad you had as a kid, just pull the foil up and everything on it is erased and you have a blank sheet again.

Most of the stress, trauma and bad stuff that makes life tough is about remembering all that. When you beat up a kid, screamed at your wife, banged the car after a big party, humiliated by the lousy boss at work..etc. If miraculously, you couldn’t remember all that...every day, wow! Life would be the same joy of a kid discovering  the world!

Plus, no one blames you for whatever happened then…once they know it! Of course, this lays you bare for certain things like that email from Nigeria about the $10 million bounty that awaits. (Also your mortage, credit card and telco services providers won’t be happy you’ve forgotten their bills).

So, the net effect is no more daily stress but with all the talents and faculties intact (hopefully physically as well). Sounds like a win-win.

The obvious question is then, why do we want that person to recover his or her memory? Our need prevails over their likely happiness?

Its like being born again. A second life without a trace of the gore of yore.

There’s something else I’d like to point out here…..

….but I can’t remember.


  1. It reminds me of how organisations process memory. Operational Data Stores hold onto the details of recent transactions. Data Warehouses glean aggregate information and insights from the mass of older transactions, but the individual transactions themselves do not matter anymore. In this way, the organisation can still function effectively and intelligently. It remembers details of recent events, and has learnt the right overall lessons from everything that has happened in its life so far.

  2. Ah, sweet memories. Have been able to keep them that way with these fundas:

    * "A hangover is a consequence, not a punishment."-Steinbeck

    * "Let anybody speak hundreds of things against you, do not resent by giving any bitter reply. If you always tolerate such things, you will certainly be happy. Let the world go topsy-turvy, you remain where you are. Standing or staying in your own place, look on calmly at the show of all things passing before you."-Shirdi Baba. My boss at Maars India was cut from this cloth.

  3. I nearly lost my life when I was five.I was at a very large temple tank with my mama for a bath in the evening at my native village near Guruvayoor. Mama was washing clothes and I was splashing water sitting on the steps. I slipped into the water and I vividly remember bobbing up and down several times and I wanted to call out to mama but could not.In those frantic moments, I coul see small fish here and there. Next thing I remember was gaining consciousness on the open verandah on a cane mat with a lot of people including my teacher and the local theatre projector operator in our compound.

    I was lucky. Mama did not know swimming. After washing clothes, he thought I had gone out to play and kept calling out for me. A yougster swimming from another part of the pond towards where we were felt something unusually huge brush his foot and out of curiosity he put his hand in. What he pulled out was my unconscious form. Body had gone a bit blue but fortunately water had not entered the lungs. Bystanders gathered and somebody held me on her head pressing against my tummy and spun around several times which made me disgorge everything. I was carried home and the waiting began as there was nothing else possible. My dad was coming next day for a week's break. People on the ferry etc made polite conversation only to discover he did not know of this incident. I was taught swimming immediately. I swim well even now but I can not jump into water from a height. Until I reached twenties, I would not go near the waves in Marina beach ! I wish I can erase this from my memory.