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Today morning, I was coming down the stairs like I usually do, slowly, very slowly. The reasons are two. Having only just woken up, I don’t want to miss a step, fall and roll down the stairs. No falling down, ma’am, the doctor reiterates me each time I visit. The second reason is Luci. She would be waiting for me on the downstairs sofa – or on the floor depending on her mood – and watching me as I make my way down, all the time pretending she wasn’t really interested. I lower my head and walk slower, pretending to be stalking her. It’s a game we play every morning.

By the time I am at the last step, Luci is quivering with excitement, her tail doing excited little thumpety-thump-thumps. As I walk across the room Luci gives up her pretense of a few seconds before. Her head tilts to one side in anticipation of behind-the-ear scratches and loads of lovey-dovey kisses from mom.

Today though things went differently. Even as I was coming down the stairs, the L&M manifested himself at the door to his study. Nothing unusual, he does that sometimes. Good morning, he said cheerfully. Good morning, I replied equally cheerfully, still intent on my game with Luci. But just as I was about to take the last couple of steps to Luci, the L&M waylaid me. Catching me in a bear hug he exclaimed, ‘Happy Birthday!’

Eh? What? Is my birthday today? Is it twenty-fifth already? I thought there was still two or three days more to go.

I don’t know how the L&M does it. I may forget my own birthday, but he has never once forgotten the day in all the thirty-eight years we have been married. There goes the popular notion of men as the kind who never remember the dates that matter. The L&M may forget where he has kept the car key, but he always remembers the birthdays of our children and I, as also our wedding anniversary.

Of course, the L&M has a system in place for remembering things. You will find a knotted piece of twine/ribbon, a piece of paper stuck somewhere with nothing on it, cryptic letters scrawled on the kitchen board, also the ringing of the alarm on his phone at all hours of the day. If you ask him, he tells you they are all reminders that tell him he must do something or other.

He tells me I should try it too. I mean, a piece of knotted twine, what could it tell you? I may need another piece of string to remind me what the first one meant. Anyway I hate having to use external aides to remember stuff. Me, the one with the excellent memory, in whose honor he always took off his imaginary hat has to now use reminders? No way!

I DO remember birthdays and plenty of other things too. But the problem is that what I remember while brushing my teeth may not make it to the time I reach the last step on the way downstairs. Then somewhere around breakfast time or later I’d be like, ‘Omg. Today is the day!’ Tough, I tell you. But I have a ready explanation for it. This is not forgetfulness per se but interference caused by having too many things brewing in my head. Whatever anyone says, this is my story and I am sticking to it! 😉

© Shail Mohan 2021