Don’t Worry, Be Happy ...About your Bad Memory (Prof.Sreedevi Krishnan)



I have been cursed with the exceptional memory of an elephant and so for those who may be envious of my memory-this is what I have to say-
"Don't worry be happy..about your bad memory"
 Ingrid Bergman once said, ‘Happiness is good health and bad memory’. I
couldn't agree more, as I’m one of the sufferers of ‘good’ memory'. There are many

who suffer from this good memory, some in silence , while
others choose to share their ‘good’ memory off and on.
After a lot of self analysis I have come to the conclusion, that most of my good memory usually consists of a painful  account of every single thing
I have done for others, especially the deeds that went unacknowledged or unrecognized. I am quite sure I am not the only one who thinks so. Even some of the more altruistic among us, in their heart of hearts expect their beneficiaries to be thankful tothem for the favors received. It is only human, I suppose. The common yarn running through our'good memory' is the ‘ingratitude’ of others for the innumerable things we have done for them! It is impossible to find a
single person, who has not experienced ingratitude in his lifetime.
I’ve a pretty long list of people, who not only turn their backs on me
but also became hostile after the pains I had taken to get things done for

A month ago, while watering the plants, I noticed from my front gate, a lady with two smallchildren walking on the sidewalk. She dragged the kids to hurry them up
as they seemed to approach me, The children started crying, unable to keep up
with her strides. I was curious and stood close to my gate watching them.
Then, to my great surprise , the lady was desperately trying to cover her
head with her sari pallu. Suddenly I recognized her, she was my ex-
neighbor from a decade ago. I smiled and asked her ‘Are n’t you Pankajam,
Subha’s mother? “

She gave a sheepish grin and said, “Yes, we are in Velachery now. I’m in
a great hurry to buy some dresses for these kids; they are my grand
children, Subha’s kids. They are flying back to Perth in a couple of days
as Subha has exhausted all her leave. Okay then, see you later”
Alas! this unexpected encounter pushed open the floodgate of my
‘good’ memories……

Pankajam ‘s husband Chari worked in Venezuela for many years but
had to come away with his wife and 15 year old daughter , Subha, to
settle down in Chennai, to look after his aged parents . That was how
the family in an apartment near my house, became my neighbor.

One evening, the Charis with their daughter Subha, dressed in a bright yellow Kanchipuram silk skirt, (Aha! What a memory of the dress of that
girl even after 2 decades!) visited me with ‘Thirupathy’ prasadam. After
preliminaries, Mr. Chari came to the point and said that they need my help to
admit Subha in the 11 grade of the school I taught in at that time. Apparently, all the schools that he tried  for admission  were insisting on her repeating the
10 th grade . Pankajam was almost in tears, when she narrated how their.
uprooting from abroad had affected their finances. She said, her
husband was on the look out for a reasonably good job in Chennai and he
was the only bread winner of the family of five, which includes his ailing
parents, for whose sake they had to settle down in Chennai.
To make a long story short, I managed to get Subha admitted in 11 th std
that too, in a renowned school in Chennai.The father thanked me and promised to invite us for a grand dinner  to his home etc etc.. but that never happened..!
A few years later ,I learned that  the Charis had sold their apartment
to Promoters and  moved out. I was slightly upset that, they who professed
eternal gratitude, had not even bothered to take leave from me!

Imagine my shock to meet the same Pankajam and her grandkids after
about a decade, walking right in front of my house ,trying to avoid me like
plague….. .

Years ago, a fabulously rich business man, Kumar and his wife Usha rented the top story of our home temporarily, just to supervise the construction of his huge
bungalow, right across the street. Though the Kumars had an array of servants, only their fiercely loyal cook Ramachandran, an expert in non-vegetarian cuisine and his ten-year old son, Durga stayed with them.
A Matriculation passed Ramachandran, spoke English fluently and was a
voracious reader too. He borrowed books and newspapers from me,
Whenever he happened to come downstairs, for walking their German
shepherd dog, “Teddy’. Further, he used to sleep on my verandah, as he
had the ‘duty’ to open the gate the moment he heard Kumar’s car horn
at night.

From Ramachndran’s frequent chats,(I loved to hear him as he talked
good English) I came to know that he had lost his conductor’s job due
to his limp after a complicated fracture and hospitalization for more than
a couple of months. Meanwhile, his wife too left him, leaving their 8
year old son, Durga, with him.

One evening, Ramachandran came to me and confided in me that he
was leaving the tenants. He said, he used to be kicked badly by the
master, whenever there was a small delay in opening the gate for his
car. Though I knew that both his 'saab' and 'memsaab ' are in the habit of
shouting at their servants , this news of kicking an old, handicapped
man , that too for the delay in waking up from his sleep in the middle of
the night was simply shocking.

Many months later , while I was attending a meeting of thd   University Women's Association,I was informed about a man waiting outside insisting on speaking to me. Irushed out only to see a shabbily-dressed stranger with a long gray
beard, standing near the door. When I was about to go back, thinking it
was a mistake, I heard the unmistakable voice of Ramachandran.
He said he saw my car parked in the School premises. He was
very apologetic in disturbing me but he was in need of cash. I pitied his pathetic conditionquickly gave some money asking him to meet me later. Just then, the
Principal, while walking towards the canteen to supervise the
arrangement for tea, saw me with Ramachandran and started to walk towards me

I was rather forced to introduce him to the Principal with a brief
summary of his tale of woes.
Then, the Principal asked me, 'what type of cooking is he good at?’
Ramachandran immediately replied ‘All types , Ma’m, vegetarian, non
vegetarian, Chinese, snacks, dinner for as many as hundred guests. I’ve a lot of
experience, This Ma’m has tasted my dishes, as I was her tenant’s

The principal was visibly shocked by the unimpressive looking man’s
very impressive English and asked him to join as the canteen's chef immediately. Apparently, just  that day ,the erraticCanteen cook resigned, and the maids found it difficult tomake vegetable cutlets and spinach vadais for the gathering. Well, Ramachandran’s Vadais and  cutlets were an instant success and every one
thanked me for getting the savior right on time. Before leaving, I
lectured Ramachandran the necessity of a clean appearance for a
canteen cook and gave some more money to buy a couple of decent shirts
and dhotis.

A couple of years later, Ramachandran was transferred to a sister school at a different location. The Principal who, appointed Ramachandran
told me how Ramachandran had risen to great heights and; his cooking
skill was praised by none other than the then President of India, Zail
Singh . Further, his son was getting free education, food and clothing. as
he was included in the deserving ‘poor student’ category.

 One day, I happened to accompany my  friend to the same School, where Ramachandran was employed, As we reachedthe place very early, we both went to the library to leaf through some old magazines , then my eyes fell on Ramachandranseated on a chairreading a newspaper with both legs crossed right on top of the library desk .The librarian Geetha, told him to send some
coffee and  special ‘vadais’ for us, and then turning towards us, she
paused and continued,
“By the way, this is Miss Banerji, the speaker for today’s’ meeting and
this is her friend Mrs. Krishnan.”
Ramachandran lifted his bent head,  looked at meemitted an inaudible ‘Huh", with a half hearted, forced smile.
To Geetha’s question, ‘So, you know Mrs. Krishnan?”, Ramachandran
nodded slightly and mumbled inaudibly," I think so,Maa'm ' and limped away as fast as I could!!
Oh! my very alert ‘mental’ camera captured Ramachandran’s
expression so vividly as to be haunted by its memory, even when I write

Revathi, a colleague of mine, taught Geography in our High School,
I remember how she was excited to receive a round trip ticket from her daughter Shilpa from San Francisco. Shilpa was soon to deliver and being a busy professional,needed help with care of the baby and home. Revathi was elated. Apart from meeting her only daughter, married off three years  ago, spending her husband’s life-savings, she could visit at least afew beautiful tourist spots of the world ---Golden Gate Bridge, GrandCanyon, Las Vegas, Universal Studios..
Revathy took six months’ loss -of -pay leave to be with Shilpa during
her delivery and; to take care of the new born baby, when Shilpa joined
duty after delivery.

After six months, a physically exhausted and emotionally drained
Revathy came back to Chennai with the bitter memories of her stay in
her daughter’s place.

“Shilpa joined duty a week after her delivery ", she said,
'while I had to spend sleepless nights looking after the baby after
slogging the whole day-cooking elaborate South Indian dishes of all my sonin-law’s choice, in addition to cleaning and doing laundry.

No, no ..I’m not put off by hard work alone; in fact I’m used to it. What
hurts me most, is their callous and shabby treatment. They were
incredibly stingy and mean. I could talk to my husband only once in
a fortnight, that too for five minutes, when overseas calls are cheap in the
US. I was such a fool to fall for my son in-law’s flattery. You won’t
believe it, I made about forty masala dosas and vadais for their wedding
anniversary party, barely a week after my setting foot on U S soil”.
Revathi sighed deeply and continued, “Visiting tourist spots! My foot! I
was virtually a prisoner in their house; the only time I went out was to
buy vegetables and groceries. I can’t get over the feeling of being used ...and
to think that my own daughter was a party to it”, Revathy held back
her tears……..

I’m sure Revathy is not alone. Parents have been tearing their hair
about the ingratitude of their children .Even Shakespeare’s King Lear
cried out in agony, “How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a
thankless child”
But, I strongly feel that, to a great extent, parents are to be blamed for
the children’s ingratitude. How can we expect our children to be
grateful, unless we train them to be? While ingratitude is natural like
weeds, gratitude is like a rose-bush nurtured, cultivated, loved and
protected. As Dr. Samuel Johnson rightly puts it, “Gratitude is a fruit of
great cultivation. You do not find it among gross people.” Moreover, in some Indian households saying thank you among near and dear ones are looked down upon..."why did you say thank you to me? Why be so formal with me ..we are of one blood ! etc etc. I beg to differ. Teaching our kids to mind their p's and q's may seem like a mundane exercise but it is this exercise that when nurtured, would help mould our young ones into a well rounded polished adult.
When we teach our children to express gratitude and not to take good
things for granted, we teach them to be grateful to us too. It is very
important to make the children use the magic words “Thank You’ very
often . Inculcate the habit of writing little notes of ‘Thank you’ to appreciate every gift,

however small it may be and to whomever it may be..even if it was their younger sibling who gifted them a little doodle made in their craft class!
I’m sure at least some of my readers would justify my ‘hurt’ feelings
about Ramachandran’s behaviour. To be honest, I compared mentally a
thousand times, the bearded, beggarly picture of Ramachandran and his
smartly turned out, respectable picture in his new avatar as
Ramachandran ‘Sir’ ,in the library. I think it is natural for all of us to
hunger for, call it what you like, gratitude, recognition of our efforts, or
words of appreciation and hurt deeply by the lack of it.
Now, though I remember vividly , theendless list of my bitter experiences and heart breaks, I have learnt not toexpect gratitude. We expect gratitude because of our ignorance ofhuman nature.

Marcus Aurelius, one of the wisest Roman Emperors, wrote in his diary
once: “I’m going to meet people today who talk too much—people who
are selfish, egoistical, and ungrateful. But I won’t be surprised or
disturbed, for I could not imagine a world without such people”.
Remember, it is natural for people to forget to be grateful.

Jesus Christ healed ten lepers, but out of these only one stopped to thank Him.
“When Christ turned around to His disciples and asked, ‘Where are the
other nine’? They had all run away.”(St.Luke).
Yes, they all disappearedwithout thanking Jesus. So, can we expect more thanks for our smallfavors than the gratitude that was shown to Jesus Christ?

The holy book of the Hindus Bhagavad Gita also stresses the importance of doing our duties without expectingany fruits in return.
“Thy right is to thy work alone,
but never to the fruits of work;
let not the rewards of action be
thy motive, nor yet be attached
to inaction”
How profound... Let us all try to exercise this discipline of our minds. It is healthier to do others favors not for the sake of  appeasing others or appeasing society but only for one's own self, for that inner joy one gets from just helping others human beings in need. It would be sensible to forget about it immediately, without making mental notes of expecting gratitude.

Let us also make it a point to pause and thank the multitude of fellow human beings that cross our paths each and every day, each one of them helping us in perhaps the most insignificant and  innocuous way but nevertheless helping our day go by perfectly without a hitch! Let us be a good not only pause to thank them but also let us also practice a little mental exercise of storing it in our memory banks ..perhaps only then will we be rid of our good memory of only remembering the deeds we have done unto others!

Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply

മലയാളത്തില്‍ ടൈപ്പ് ചെയ്യാന്‍ ഇവിടെ ക്ലിക്ക് ചെയ്യുക

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

അസഭ്യവും നിയമവിരുദ്ധവും അപകീര്‍ത്തികരവുമായ പരാമര്‍ശങ്ങള്‍ പാടില്ല. വ്യക്തിപരമായ അധിക്ഷേപങ്ങളും ഉണ്ടാവരുത്. അവ സൈബര്‍ നിയമപ്രകാരം കുറ്റകരമാണ്. അഭിപ്രായങ്ങള്‍ എഴുതുന്നയാളുടേത് മാത്രമാണ്. ഇ-മലയാളിയുടേതല്ല


വിശ്വാസത്തിലെ അന്ധത: ചില വ്യക്തിഗത വിചാരങ്ങൾ (തമ്പി ആന്റണി)

മാതാപിതാക്കളെ ഒന്നു ശ്രദ്ധിക്കു, ഇവരുടെ നൊമ്പരങ്ങൾ (ഗിരിജ ഉദയൻ മുന്നൂർക്കോട്)

അബ്ബജാനും' 'ഖബറിസ്ഥാനും' തെരഞ്ഞെടുപ്പു രാഷ്ട്രീയ കുടിലതയും (ദല്‍ഹികത്ത് : പി.വി.തോമസ്)

ആഗോള സൈബർ യുദ്ധ ഭീഷണി (ജോസഫ് പൊന്നോലി)

പാലാ മെത്രാന്‍ പ്രസ്താവന പിന്‍വലിക്കണോ? (ബാബു പാറയ്ക്കല്‍-നടപ്പാതയില്‍ ഇന്ന്- 9)

സംഗീതമെ ജീവിതം (ലേഖനം: സാം നലമ്പളളില്‍)

ഏഴു തലമുറകളുടെ വികാരം (മോഹന്‍ ജോര്‍ജ്)

വാക്‌സിനും മതവും, ഏതാണ് ശരി? (ജോര്‍ജ് തുമ്പയില്‍)

ഗാര്‍ഡിയന്‍സ് ഓഫ് ദ ഡാര്‍ക്ക് സ്‌കൈ -(കുഞ്ഞൂസ്)

പ്രണവോപാസന (ലേഖനം: വാസുദേവ് പുളിക്കല്‍)

ശ്രീ നാരായണ ഗുരുവിന്റ്റെ മഹാ സമാധി ദിനത്തില്‍ നമുക്ക് ഗുരുവിനെ സ്മരിക്കാം (വെള്ളാശേരി ജോസഫ്)

തേനിൽ മുങ്ങട്ടെ വാക്കുകൾ (മൃദുമൊഴി -26: മൃദുല രാമചന്ദ്രൻ)

ഇരിക്കട്ടെ ഒരു സല്യൂട്ട്! (ബാബു പാറയ്ക്കൽ-നടപ്പാതയിൽ ഇന്ന്- 8)

ദൈവം കേൾക്കാൻ ഒരു ആത്മഗതം! (മാനസി)

എണ്‍പത്തൊന്നിന്റെ നിറവില്‍ ചെറുപ്പത്തിന്റെ പ്രസരിപ്പോടെ ലക്ഷ്മി കുറുപ്പ് (ഗിരിജ ഉദയന്‍ മുന്നൂര്‍ക്കോട്)

പാലാ ഒരു പ്രശ്നമാണ് ! (ഡോ. മാത്യു ജോയിസ്) 

കെ.എം. റോയ് ; വിടവാങ്ങിയ വഴികാട്ടി നക്ഷത്രം : ആൻസി സാജൻ

അമേരിക്കയുടെ അനാവശ്യ യുദ്ധങ്ങള്‍ (സാം നിലമ്പള്ളില്‍)

പെഗസസ്: സുപ്രീം കോടതിയുടെ ഇടപെടല്‍ മോദി-ഷാ വാട്ടര്‍ ഗെയിറ്റിന്റെ രഹസ്യം തുറക്കുമോ?- (ദല്‍ഹികത്ത് : പി.വി.തോമസ്)

Dum Spiro Spero... (അമേരിക്കൻ കുടിയേറ്റ കുറിപ്പുകൾ - 12 -അവസാനഭാഗം: ഷാജു ജോൺ)

മലയാളികളുടെ വംശനാശം! (തമ്പി ആന്റണി)

വിസ നമ്പറുകളുടെ ലഭ്യത-ഒക്ടോബർ 2021

കാറ്റ് ഒരു ഭീകര കാമുകനാണ് (മായ കൃഷ്ണൻ-രാഗമഥനം)

പാലാ ബിഷപ്പും നാര്‍ക്കോട്ടിക് ജിഹാദും (തോമസ് കൂവള്ളൂര്‍)

ചിയേഴ്‌സ്; കൂട്ടത്തില്‍ ഒരു ആമ്മീനും- (രാജു മൈലപ്രാ)

കോവിഡ് -19 ബൂസ്റ്റർ ഡോസ് ആർക്കൊക്കെ, എപ്പോൾ ലഭിക്കും? (ജോർജ് തുമ്പയിൽ)

പ്രത്യേക ഫീസ് അടച്ചാൽ ഗ്രീൻ കാർഡ് ലഭിക്കുന്ന ബിൽ ആദ്യ കടമ്പ കടന്നു 

പാലാ മെത്രാനും നാർക്കോട്ടിക് ജിഹാദും (നടപ്പാതയിൽ ഇന്ന്- 7: ബാബു പാറയ്ക്കൽ)

മതേതരത്വം വളർത്തുക ഒരു മതക്കാരുടെ മാത്രം ബാധ്യതയല്ല (വെള്ളാശേരി ജോസഫ്)

ഉറക്കകുറവ് പരിഹരിക്കാം ആയുര്‍വേദത്തിലൂടെ...(അബിത് വി രാജ്)

View More