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Excuse me…I forgot your name…

Dr Sibichen K Mathew

When was the last time you failed to recall the name of a person? When was the last time you struggled to remember that familiar phone number? It might not be in the distant past. Most probably it might be just the other day. Don’t worry. You are not alone. Many people suffer from this temporary loss of memory during these ‘microchip’ days. We thought it was only the old people who complained of poor memory retention. But do not get surprised! They are better than the youngsters and the middle aged lot. Do you know what is the cause of this disease? It is another virus: the technology virus!

Not too long ago people used to scribble the important contact numbers and addresses in a small diary. However even without referring to that many could easily recall more than hundred telephone numbers. Same is the case about addresses, birth days, anniversaries etc. The access to pocket sized digital diaries starting from the basic version of 32KB and later on those upto 2GB in the market was the first step in delegating the functions of the brain to the microchip. Instead of rattling around with various numbers, brain outsourced all activities related to maintenance of numbers, contact addresses, appointments, reminders etc to the chip. People who had all multiplication tables in ‘finger tips’ also thought it wiser to outsource even the task of counting their age.

Gradually cell phones replaced the digital diaries. The smaller size of cell phones and their multi functionality made them most popular among all categories of people. The brain was divulged of its responsibility of information retention and cell phones started doing a thorough job. People entered anything and everything in that little instruments. And if one misplaces a cell phone it is a real catastrophe. He almost loses contact with the world. And heavily addicted people even loose their way to their residence!

As a result of the indiscriminate delegation to and dependence on the microchip, man loses the capacity to memorize information and gradually brain’s power for retention is affected. Anything unused will become obsolete. Same is the case with brain. We face several problems connected to that. You got introduced to that person and talked to him for hours. But when you meet him after a short period you make intense efforts to recall the name. You had dined in your colleague’s house several times and still you fail to recall the names of his family members when you called or visited them next time. How many times you faced difficulties while writing a festival greeting card to your friends’ and relatives’ families. How many times you have forgotten your passwords and frantically clicked the ‘forgot password’ button? Yes, quite often.

One of the successful strategies in interpersonal communication and for winning people, is to address them by their names. If you remember the name of your staff, client, customer or student, and address him by that during the conversation, you accomplish your task much more quickly than otherwise. If you can remember the important dates in the life of your boss, close friends or other associates without referring to your microchip, it will be peasant surprise for them. But, we need to regain the capacity of retention by giving back to the brain some of the functions we outsourced to microchip.

Apart from the memory loss due to over dependence on the cell phones for information retention, cell phone itself can induce short term memory loss. In a study conducted in the Department of Bio-engineering, University of Washington, it was found that electromagnetic radiations emitted from cellphones can result in memory loss. Though cell phone, digital diaries etc are necessary gadgets these days and one cannot totally stop using them, one should take deliberate steps to remember as much information as possible through practice. That only can improve the capacity of the brain in memory retention. Now take a simple test. Start writing the numbers of your colleagues and associates in a paper. Check how many correct entries. Fifty, hundred or more?

Read a few comments below (Given by readers through the blog )


( spelling/grammer mistakes not corrected to maintain the originality of the comments)

Well thats really true, in college people use to tease me saying I am the Subodh of Dil..... (i forgot the name of the movie )

And now remembering date and numbers are next to impossible... the main reason I think is over dependence on this gadgets... i can't go out without my cell as without it i can't live i guess

regarding the ill effect of cell phones, i heard using ear phones instead of direct cell phone reduce the effect but using ear phones are also not that great... so our generation has to survive

Pulak Barua


Thanx Doc. its indeed an important piece of information....The UCMAS curriculum for the school children, helping to develop their mental abilities by training them to calculate as well as improve their memory and concentration by the conventional abacass system...on the othe hand, we have these electronic gadgets to actually ruin people's mental ability in every possible way....So I guess the message should be, Back to the Basics....which looks impossible to all the gadget freaks, in today's scenario..

----------------------------------------------------- Thank God I read this! And all this while I was thinking I'm getting old Btw, that was a wonderfully informative and an encouraging blog excuse me, I wanted to address you by your name but I think I forgot it:-{

Nargis Natarajan

----------------------------------------------------- I really dont think technology has harmed us that way. We might be confusing cause and effet here. Technology is a there to help and it is us who make a crutch of it. Dont you think?

Lokesh Thakur


A man's great possesion is his memory.In nothing else he is rich ,in nothing else he is poor.The secret of a good memory is attention and the attention to a subject depends upon our interest in it.Modern day youngsters have easy access to all gadgets which reduce the strain of remembering addresses,phone numbers and such other datas.They become so dependent on these gadgets that it gives the impression of their poor memory.Brain has a tremendous capacity to retain facts and figures.If we conveniently off load a portion of the storage capacity are we not giving less work to the brain and become less strained.In my opinion it is wrong to put the blame on technology.While putting the gadgets to their advantage a person should also take care to keep his memory as sharp as possible .
It is true that we must safegaurd ourselves from the harmful effects of electronic gadgets by using them sparingly.


DEar Sir,

See i forget yr name

I dont even have an idea of my wife or daughters cell number.Previouskly i could remember,now i hve to just dial the no from the cell.God forbid if the cell conks off and u are in a strange land.

What u say is true.if we dont use the brain, it will lose its power to retain info.i am expieriencing it.

REg names i am very bad,so i try to use a very crude weapon.I assoiciate the name with somthing else.

like today i met an indonesian called Maangolan.very difficult name to remember,so i just remembered it as first Mango, then refined it to Mangola, the soft juice drink we get in mumbai.

So even if i call him Mangola, he wont feel as bad as if i dont remember his name at all.

For eg my name is Kamal , and u can remember it easily as a Camel,the ship of the desert.So when u see me, think of a Camel,and lo y have my

Good one sir.Thanks.



Excuse me....I forgot what I wanted to say But I think it was .....nice post!
Julia Dutta


Dear sir!

The Humanbeing in the present generation is doing multitasking unlike just a decade ago, he needs implements to function. sooner, we will find new theory on multitasking forgeting name will be subjected to a cell phone not reading the name of the person ,,,,,,,through some electronic interrogation methods


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