Vuja de (no, it’s not a swear word)

There is a new face in town. And she’s called the Forgetful Mom.

Nothing comes free. So when God gave me my two, I guess he decided to take away a small part of my memory in exchange. That part which reassures me that ‘Yes, you have locked the front door.’ Or the part which pipes up and lets me greet one of the mothers I meet at school everyday – by her name.

I was lunching with the girls yesterday (a hobby that all women should pursue seriously) and this common affliction seemed commoner than the common cold. One friend was seriously worried it was the onset of Alzheimers. The other told us how she could actually see herself doing a particular task (‘I saw myself put the camera in my bag, I swear’) – only to realise later, that of course, she hadn’t. A few months ago my mum called and checked if I had handed over the 50k she had given me, to my husband. ‘What money?’ I asked. Of course, this led to a whole lot of panic and some very firm rebuttals from my end that I had never taken the money in the first place, only to be proved wrong again (thank God!) The downside of all this is that in addition to losing my credibility in the world, I am also losing faith in myself.

Now is this a documented fact? Turns out that during one’s pregnancy and shortly after, short-term memory loss is an accepted phenomenon due to hormonal and lifestyle changes. No study has been done on women thereafter – but if your life changes just by being pregnant (wait till the fun actually begins) – it can be logically deduced that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Accusatory fingers have also been pointed at multi-tasking, something that every self-respecting woman has mastered by the age of ten.

But the worst story has to be this one. FM is shopping at a mall and realises that she has lost her kid. As this happened in the US, everyone panics, and they close the mall and check each car and (almost) every shopper in the building. Mom, dad, grandparents are all hyper-ventilating, when suddenly FM realises that the brat is at a friend’s place! Search is called off but I think they plan to take action against her.

So what is the solution? Mind games like Sudoku or Scrabble apparently help kickstart those (lost?) or dormant brain cells into doing some work. Kick the buggers hard, I say. But can this happen while watching a couple of Hindi movies instead? No such luck, I’m sure.

My little secret is visualisation. I read it on a blog somewhere and it works. Imagine you need to stop at Namdharis on your way home to buy some veggies  – (more the husband’s forte than mine, but never mind) – and you just know you will never remember to stop. So you picture the entire sequence in your mind.
Driving to Namdharis.
Pulling up and entering shop.
Buying potatoes, tomatoes and whatever other boring vegetable we normally buy (this does not help, of course.) One needs to be specific.
Pay at counter and leave.
And most often, the script plays out perfectly, and you actually do go home with the damn vegetables.

Setting reminders, writing things down, dreaming up fun acronyms  (SHIT – Stop at gas station; Hair-cut of Kid no.1; Ice-cream thereafter; Towels need to be bought – easy-peasy) are some of the others way to beat the brain, at it’s own game.

If you have any more ideas, do share. The world would be a friendlier place if I could remember where I have put away the neighbour’s spare keys.

p.s. In case you haven’t figured by now, vuja de is the opposite of deja vu; where in deja vu one gets the feeling that you have been-there, done-this before; in vuja de you’re very clear that this has never happened before. When of course it has. To you.

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6 thoughts on “Vuja de (no, it’s not a swear word)

  1. Hey Z, not too sure if this is just a “mom” phenomena. I experience some of the things you mention, like the shop thing…or something as bizzare as not remembering if I have already shampooed my hair, in the middle of a shower…(and I don’t have the option of smelling it to check, that most of you would have :-P). Jokes apart…I might want to attribute it to ‘system overload’ rather than the onset of anything or the fallout of childbirth. There are just so many activities occurring simulaneously or back to back that even a moment of lull or hibernation and you have missed something!

    • Dead right Poovs! Thats my pet theory as well, actually. We are just doing so many things at one time (or thinking about them, which is almost the same thing), that we can’t remember most of it. And a friend described a similar story to yours (the shampoo story) – only she forgot whether she had brushed her teeth or not. ‘Just brush it again – whats the big deal?’ was her husband wise response 🙂
      p.s. forgot to address your first point about this being only relevant to women. Quite honestly, I am hearing this from a man for the first time – though now I am sure this won’t be the last 🙂 and as you are as hands-on as any other ‘mommy’ can get; what can i say but – welcome to the gang 🙂

  2. Zainab, you make us all feel so much better…there is a reason for all that I have done…ops forgot to do. I have 2 such examples of being a “a bit forgetful” involving my elder two kids, but would need to get a no objection from them!
    Tara could not believe what I did, and Babu has now been convinced that it was just a bad dream!

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