I'm so very tired. I didn't have my seven hours last night and the effect is now showing on me. My eyes are droopy, my brain won't function, there is a small thump-thump going on in my forehead, like someone with a hammer is stuck inside my head and banging on the walls, I cannot speak a meaningful sentence without pausing to think in the middle. And all because of a man. I haven't seen this man in ages, haven't spoken to him since forever, and we haven't kept in touch for God-knows-how-long. I was in bed listening to the radio late last night, when suddenly I heard a voice just like his. It was like something snapped, I couldn't help but remember his face, his voice, his singing voice. He has such a wonderful singing voice. Haunting, in fact. That voice haunted me through the night. I tried my best to keep the images and the sounds away, but they refused to go. I tossed and turned, I switched on the lights and read the most boring book I could lay my hands on, I listened to songs sung by other voices, I counted backwards from 100, I got up and drank hot milk, I did everything. But no, I couldn't, wouldn't sleep. Defeated, I lay there, trying hard to remember, the images swimming before my eyes, the voice ringing through my head. I don't know when I finally drifted off to sleep, but when I did I know it was due to pure exhaustion and exasperation.
Morning came, my alarm sang and grudgingly I got up. He was the first thing that popped into my mind. Then like a flash a thought followed: Adnan Sami.
Yes, Adnan Sami. The singer. Last night a song came on the radio and the voice was very much like his. But I plumb forgot his name! The reason I couldn't sleep was because I couldn't remember his name! I saw his face, I recalled his songs, but the name eluded me. I strained all the grey cells and failed to come up with his name. It was too late, and you couldn't wake people at four in the morning to ask "What's the name of that fat Pakistani singer?" I decided if I listed all the Muslim names then somehow I'd get the name. So I started, from the A's. Abid, Abdul, Ahmed, Ali, Arif, Asif,..... I realized what a stupid idea it was Even before I exhausted the A's. I gave up. Then I started thinking of names randomly....let me see... there was an N in it...so Naeem? No. Nadeem? Nah. Nasir? No, wait, I think it started with a K. Kaleem, Karim, Khalid...No, no, no!! Khadija? That's a girl's name!! How about the M's? Mohammed, Mujeeb, Mustafa, Malik....all wrong. Too much thinking early in the morning is not good, I decided, so I did all the things I mentioned above.
The point is, I think I am suffering from Alzheimer's, or something that has to do with memory loss. I'd suddenly forget things which I thought I would always remember, things that I'd taken for granted. I would see/think of someone/something and all of a sudden I'd draw a blank. I would forget names of things, for instance, once I saw a picture of a hibiscus flower, and I tried to think of its Mizo name, and poof! I couldn't come up with anything. I racked my brains for two days, and in the end I called my sister who told me the name. I am especially affected in the name department; I think the part of my brain that remembers names is damaged or stunted or underdeveloped or something. And many a times I would meet people who would smile and be all friendly with all the hellos and the how are yous and I'd try my best to hide the blank look and give some vague reply while my mind would go searching frantically...who is this?... I've seen this person somewhere...now what's his/her name?...how did he/she know me?.... Am I the only one suffering from this affliction, from this disease? Have you ever experienced this kind of temporary amnesia, this forgetfulness, this not being able to remember things which you’ve known all your life?
I opened the newspaper, and my eyes fell on an article that says exercising the brain can make it younger by about 10 years. I’ve heard this said before, but have never really paid much attention to it. Nonetheless I immediately turned to the crossword and Sudoku section, and was in for a rude shock. I had to struggle and sweat to solve a Sudoku puzzle whose level was Easy. It was an awakening jolt, a real eye opener. I used to finish Easy in about a minute, and now it took me almost ten minutes to do so. The truth dawned on me; I had let my brain rot, dry and crumble. No wonder I forgot simple things like the Mizo name of hibiscus. I have to wake up and do some mental push-ups, get the grey cells active and running. Have to pick up the crumbled pieces and put them back together, which leads me to the moral of the story: don’t stop thinking.