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Friday 24 April 2020

Do I know you?

Remembering names is a knack. Remembering faces, an art. Remembering both and relating them to each other is super-human...according to me!

I think this is what happens inside the head when you are introduced to a new person,

a) The name and face do not enter the system OR on entry, they are sent directly to the Recycle Bin. 😖
Beep, Beep, Beep !!SYSTEM ERROR!! Tough luck! Hopefully, you are famous or powerful enough to get away with this!
b) The newly entered name or the face - you press only "Save". 
Result - you remember the name only or the face only. 
Facial recognition only Saved: 
Hello, how nice to see you! Long time since we last met. How is Mrs...?? 🙊
Name only Saved: 
Hello Mr Xi Jinping! Not right what you are doing, you know? 
I am Thanos, not Xi!🙈
c) The name and face - both are saved using "Save As" into the correct Folder > Remember. 🙋
$$$ Ding, Ding, Ding $$$ Hallelujah, when this happens!
d) Despite following c) what can you do if Folder > Remember goes into Recycle Bin of its own accord? 😒 😭
Result - You hide in company in fear of offending people you know or don't know!

Before you cast quick aspersions about my upper storey, allow me to share dilemmas I have encountered that make it so.

Breaking stereotypes
While I have never been a great fan of news channels especially not in today's times with ballistic anchors, but as a kid I watched news...yes, we kids from the 70's - 8o's did that. It was mostly read by this poker-faced lady Hindi newsreader. 
I often wondered about the lady on-screen. Her facial expressions remained frozen irrespective of the magnitude of the breaking news she delivered. Her level voice never deviated from its standard, sonorous, stupor-inducing drone either with exultation, or quivered with emotion or screamed in frustration.
Made me wonder, when this lady was at home, would her face don expressions of joy, sorrow or horror when she wasn't within the confines of the newsroom? I tried imagining her being moved to tears watching Ek Duje ke Liye (one of the most tragic movies those days) - no nothing, tried imagining her response if she happened to slip on a banana peel - still nothing. Hmm, strange I thought!

Come to think of it, back during those Wonder Years, I did wonder a lot - mostly about when or if I would ever be over with them!
Working on hopelessly unsolvable physics problems, my train of thoughts wandered from the poker-faced newsreader to the bane of my existence - my physics teacher. 
This grim-faced, acid-tongued, perpetually angry teacher, taught a subject realms beyond my comprehension. If I was ever called upon to vanquish a Boggart with the Riddikulus Charm, I would fail. The Boggart would take on the formidable shape of my physics teacher and try as hard as I might, I could never imagine her appearance or expression transforming into anything mildly docile, leave alone funny! (Non-PotterHeads, sorry if you can't get this!) 

Fast forward to a few years later where I am attending a sangeet function. There is a large circle of attendees cheering a central figure - a middle-aged lady grooving gracefully to a Bollywood number. I join the cheerers, admiring the lady's perceptive and rhythmic dance style. As the track changes, the circle breaks and people move on to focus on their own gyrations. The dancing diva smiles at me and approaches me with, "Arre you? What are you doing these days?" She asked me something else I am sure but, "Don't you have a physics test tomorrow? What is Newton's second law of motion", was what I heard. Brr! 
Let me tell you, it's not a nice feeling when boogie-monsters camouflage as teddy-bears or when your nightmares transform to dancing divas! 👹🙆

Occupational hazards
My neighbourhood grocery, the one I've been frequenting for the last ten years or more has an adjacent, tiny blink-and-you-miss repair shop. A handyman operating it, repairs all kinds of pressure cookers, mixer-grinders, you know the usual kitchen gadgets. I always see the man in his booth, poring over gaskets, whistles, blades and whatnots. 
A few days ago on my routine grocery visit, I spotted a new salesman there. He smiled at me and called out, "Madamji, palak zaroor leke jana, bohot taaza he." (Do take the spinach, it's very fresh.) That's enterprising for a new guy, I think to myself. He helps me pick my veggies with suggestions and tips thrown in. As I am about to leave the grocery I look over to the adjacent repair shop. It's closed. Darn, I needed to get my giant pressure cooker fixed. 
Spotting my bulky package, the over-zealous newbie salesman comes over, "Madamji, cooker humko dedo, kal sham ko le jaana." (Give me the cooker, take it back tomorrow evening).
A man whose sight always reminded me of malfunctioning cookers and mixies that needed to be attended to, is now a grocery vendor? Apparently, grocery salespersons make better money than repairmen! 😝

Personality change
My balcony shade was springing the mandatory monsoon leak. Time to call in my regular contractor Ram - a diminutive, bespectacled man in antiquated safari suit who tried his best to never cross his threshold of one-two word responses. I was stunned when he mumbled something about not having enough workforce. When I insisted that I wanted the work done asap, he said he would try to send his brother to do the work.
The next morning repairs started with a new person at the helm of affairs. He wore dark blue overalls, a trendy haircut, goggles on his head and he looked very similar to my contractor. Ahh, so he sent his brother, after all. He must be his twin. Fancy that! Wouldn't be surprised if he was called Shyam! The man seemed to know his way about with the welding gun and the work was done in a jiffy. He stood stiffly waiting for payment. As I handed him the money, I decided to test my observational skills, "Ram ko thanks bol dena, kaam itna jaldi ho gaya. Aap unko bhai ho an?" (Convey my thanks to Ram, the work got done so fast). The man looked zapped as he replied, "Madam, main Ram hi hoon!" (I am only Ram!)
Now tell me, who in the real world goes for an overnight makeover look? Filmstars maybe, not good ol' Rams! Bizzare! 😳

C'est la vie. Sigh! Life goes on with a smile, albeit not a big one - A general one you can pass of as a friendly "Have a good day" smile or an acknowledging "Happy to see you" one, depending on the perception of the person who sees it! Hopefully, the person in front of you isn't riding the same boat that you are! Cheers! 😊

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