There are very many people who are bad at remembering names. I am one of them. I don't forget Faces; often I don't forget names either. But when it comes to fixing the names to the Face, I come dumbstuck. They refuse to match. I play all sorts of games to reciprocate the cordial greetings by the other chap to make him feel that I know him as well as he does. But it seldom works. It goes like this

'Oh, hello, hello! How are you? Nice meeting you. How have you been?' And then I am at a loss what to say next as I just can't place him. Situation is made even more embarrassing when he so elaborately informs me about my deeds (or , misdeeds). I quickly run through the alphabets in my mind hoping that one will pull the right chord and 'twang' will reverberate the name. It works; but just about 5 pc of the time. Then try another charade.

'So how is Business', hoping that if he mentioned his vocation, it shall open up some association. But people are so uncooperative - 'Not bad, but you know what?, with tight money market and inflation it is not as good as one would have liked.' How informative ! Why for love of God he would not say that cloth was down or electronics were so competitive.

'But you are right in the hub of the market and must be a drawing a lots of customers,'l say.

Again the blighter does not come out clean and talks incoherently, 'no yaar, now people avoid big market coming up in every colony, they prefer to shop there.' He hopefully offers.

How discouraging! Instead of babbling about big markets and so on why he just would not say that people were no more thronging to Ganj or Aminabad. This is really very upsetting .The art of communication or conversation, I tell you, is dying out . People age so vague and have no power of expression.

Then I get a flash, cursing myself that why I did not think of it before , I pull out my visiting card, look, why don't you give me a ring. sometime ,or come over? Then we will talk at length . '

Brightening up he says , 'yes, that's right . I will do that . I will give you my number too.' That is exactly what I have been waiting for . Then he picks up a floating piece of paper , borrows my pen and scribbles a number. Great ! sometimes though I hastily goad him , 'put down your name too, otherwise I shall wonder later whose number it could be'. But mostly I sheepishly take it being no wiser in the process than when we shook hands first .

To cut the whole rigmarole short, I have made it a practice, when in doubt, to straightaway say, I am so and so,' while shaking hands. Most of the times people respond by speaking out theirs, even if they add 'I am ........ , u ting fool ' But trust me I have often met people who just say, ' of course, I know you are.......' Period!

I like best the people who sensing slightest hesitation offer, ' you are not able to place me. Arre yaar, I am....' They are darlings. I feel like hugging and kissing them. Of course, you can't always do it. Most certainly not if the person happens to be a lady. Still!



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