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Read a tale of endurance, will & a daring fight against Covid. Click here for "The Stalwarts" by Soni Shalini.

Raju Ganapathy



Raju Ganapathy


Remembering Rajini Style

Remembering Rajini Style

5 mins

By my age I fall under the category of senior citizen. My body and mind were fast changing. More I ached for the past when I was a half-marathon runner my body ached in the present. My niece wisely advised that my knees have gone bad and I must listen to what the body tells me. My wife these days chides me since I cannot kneel down to her wishes. My friends sagaciously advised that I must own my body and mind and cannot indulge in wishful thinking. As I began to own my body, I found myself groaning and moaning in pain and stiffness. In fact, it was these two pain and stiffness that became my constant companion in the twilight years.

My wife too was catching up with me. But she was made for solid stuff and as if she was born in Spain could easily tolerate a lot of pain. I could hear some stress release from her in the wee hours of the morning when I am awake and she would be still be snoring. In the wake-up time suddenly she would exclaim ” where is my phone?” One had to ring from my mobile to trace her phone. Forgetfulness was slowly creeping on. I was wondering when my turn would come.

Soon began our race of forgetting things. At times I could not remember where I had left my glasses when after a hectic search, I would find it on my forehead. I stopped remembering my credit card number which I used often to do some on line ordering. I can’t just remember my wife’s mobile number. One fine day I was shocked while getting up as to where I was and who I was. My mind had gone blank totally.

One late afternoon after tea, it was the time when boredom was at a peak. I got a call from an unknown number. The conversation went like this: hello, Mr Ganapathy? As I could not recognise the number I asked: who is it calling? How did you get my name and number?

Voice: I am calling from the organization, where you had applied for a position last week.

Me: Oh, Well! Yours in the afternoon was the fourth call and the first three was some personal loan calls. Yes, I had applied. Please tell me.

Voice: is it a good time to talk with you as I wanted to ask a few questions regarding your application.

Me: Could you call after ten-fifteen minutes as I need to do an errand for my wife.

Voice: that would be fine.

Then I found myself in a rush. I could not remember applying for the said job. It must be in the mail. In a trice I opened my lap-top and could locate the mail and the attachment. By the time the call came I was ready. The conversation was pleasant enough I could clarify and elaborate where it was needed.

But this episode left me with a shock. I didn’t tell my wife but I decided to consult a neurologist just in case. I had fixed an appointment at the usual hospital where I would go. At the appointed hour I was ushered into his room when the doctor asked me “what was my problem?” For a moment I went blank. I looked at him bewildered and slowly said “wasn’t he the one who had called for me, when I was in the waiting room?” The doctor smiled at me and said “of course, I did. You are Mr Raju, I suppose and you had asked for an appointment with me yesterday at this hour.”

My memory got jiggled a bit and I recalled the conversation about the job and why I had called for an appointment. Then I told him about some recent episodes of forgetfulness.

He said he has seen many such cases among the elderly. He added that it would be get to wait and watch for some six months before doing any brain scan. In the meantime, I should get started on doing some brain exercises such as crosswords, puzzles, physical exercises like walking, cycling or yoga. I said I already do them and perhaps step up the effort especially the brain activity. Reading was something I was not doing regularly. While departing the doctor said he would call me when the time comes for a second consultation.

That was when I had learnt about the film Ghajini which was made in Tamil first and later copied by Aamir Khan. I preferred to watch the Tamil version enacted by Surya. Of course, the movie was about a young protagonist who loses his memory almost after getting beaten up by goondas who also raped his girl- friend. As and when he gets snatches of his memory, he inks them down on his body and goes around claiming revenge. My case was not one of reel but real. So, I decided to buy a pocket diary and started jotting things down. I also inculcated some discipline in keeping things down like my glasses, mobile, keys, etc. in a fixed place. I put some personal details in the wall paper of my phone like my wife and daughter’s phone no; a photo of the family. Each time I use my phone I get a chance to look at the wall paper and refresh my memory.

My life changed from being listless to list full. Now I have a list of breakfast that contains about fifteen types of dishes. I prepare a list of things to do each morning and I go on ticking them as I complete them. This includes a shopping list as well. I look at photo albums and recall names of the people in them. I look at my WhatsApp list of my friends and remember the names of spouses and their children and sometimes the birth-days of close ones even. These set of activities were becoming a kind of fun and kept me occupied.

Seeing all this my wife amusedly remarked that I have become good at remembering Rajini (Raju+Ghajini) style.

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