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I have a strange problem. Well, may be it is not all that strange considering that someone qualified told me it has indeed got a name to it. So maybe this is not as strange a problem as I thought at first or even unique to me. There are others out there and hey, whoever you all are, I am glad for the company.

It is like this. In my interactions with others, I suddenly find myself unable to recall names of perfectly ordinary things whose names I am otherwise quite familiar with and might even have used just a while before. I can visualize the item, describe it perfectly in words to the minutest detail, but will simply not be able to name it. The more I try, the further the name moves away, into some dark corner, from where it becomes even more difficult to retrieve it.

For example, I might want someone or other to get apples from the market. A simple thing in itself except that while making the request, the word ‘apple’ mysteriously eludes me. I can see apples in my mind’s eye as clearly as can be, I know its smell, the taste, its texture,  how it looks in salads and/or puddings, how it crunches when I eat it fresh. But it’s name eludes me with a vengeance.

This is how the conversation goes:

“You know that thing, a fruit that we eat. Red in color?”

“Oh you mean cherries? Or may be plums?”

“No, no, no. Not that red. This one is a different red. And sometimes it has some green on it.”

“A peach?”

“Nooooo! This doesn’t have big pits!”

“No seeds at all? Strawberries?”

“It has seeds, tiny ones.”


“It’s white ins…”

“You said it was red!”

“You didn’t let me finish my sentence. I was saying it was white INSIDE!”


“Mangosteens are not red outside!!!!!”

“I have had enough of this. Call when you remember! I am leaving.”

“Wait!! You know, the one they say keeps the doctor away?” 

“Ohhh, you mean apples!”

“Yesssssssssss! Get me some apples.”

“Why couldn’t you have just said you wanted apples? All this nautanki of red, green and white, keeping doctors away…!”

“But I was trying to…” my voice trails off.

More examples: Sometimes I can’t name a torch. Instead I say, “You know that thing you use to light your way in the dark? The one we keep on our bedside table?” I describe a cell phone instead of naming it, “Where’s that thing of mine, the one which we use to make calls? You know it, that flat thing which rings.” “Where’s that…. umm thing? The one you use when taking the dog out for a walk?” This, when I need the leash.

I can go on and on, the examples are many. I not only drive people up the wall, I drive myself up the wall. No wonder the world looks all upside down.

©Shail Mohan 2016