‘Forgetting’ Essay by -Robert Lynd

‘Forgetting’ Written by -Robert Lynd

 A list of articles lost by railway travellers and now on sale at a great London station has been published, and many people who read it have been astonished at the absent-mindedness [विस्मृति] of their fellows. If statistical [सांख्यिकीय] records were available on the subject, however [फिर भी], I doubt whether [कि क्या] it would be found that absent-mindedness is common. It is the efficiency [कुशलता] rather than the inefficiency of human memory that compels [विवश करना/प्रभावित करना] my wonder. Modern man remembers even telephone members. He remembers the addresses of his friends. He remember the dates of good vintages [अंगूर इकट्ठा करना]. He remembers appointments [निश्चित या निर्धारित समय] for lunch and dinner. His memory is crowded with the names of actors and actresses and cricketers and footballers and murderers. He can tell you what the weather was like in a long-past August and the name of the provincial [प्रांतीय या स्थानीय] hotel at which he had a vile [खराब या बेकार] meal during the summer. In his ordinary life, again, he remembers almost everything that he is expected to remember. How many men in all London forget a single item of their clothing when dressing in the morning? Not one in a hundred. Perhaps [शायद] not one in ten thousand. How many of them forget to shut the front door when leaving the house? Scarcely [बड़ी मुश्किल से] more. And so it goes on through the day, almost everbody remembering to do the right things at the right moment till it is time to go to bed, and then the ordinary man seldom [कभी-कभी] it forgets to turn off the lights before going upstairs [सीढ़ियों से ऊपर/ ऊपरी मंजिल].

There are, it must be admitted, some matters in regard [लिहाज, जिसके बारे में] to which the memory works with less than its usual [समान्य] perfection पूर्णता. It is only a very methodical [व्यवस्थित] man, I imagine, who can always remember to take the medicine his doctor has prescribed [निर्धारित] for him. This is the more surprising because medicine should be one of the easiest thing to remember. As a rule, it is supposed to be taken before during, or after meals and the meal itself should be a reminder [याद कराने वाला/स्मरण-पत्र] of it. The fact remains, however, that few but the moral-giants [मानसिक रूप से मजबूत/ मजबूत स्मरण शक्ति वाला] remember to take their medicine regularly [नियमित रूप से]. Modern psychologists [मनोवैज्ञानिक] tell us that we forget things because we wish to forget them, and it may be that it is because of their antipathy [घृणा] to pills [गोलियां] and potions [मरहम]; that many people fail to remember them at the appointed [निर्धारित] hours. This does not explain, however, how it is that a life-long devotee  [समर्पित/उपासक] of medicines like myself is as forgetful [भुलक्कड़] of them as those who take them most unwillingly [बेमन से/अनिक्षा से]. The very prospect [बिवरणिका] of a new and widely advertised [विज्ञापितcure-all delights [आनंद देती है me. Yet , even if I have the stuff [सामाग्री] in my pockets, I forget about it as soon as the hour approaches [पहुँचना/आना] at which I ought to swallow [निगलना] it. Chemists make, their fortunes [भाग्य] out of the medicines people forget to take.

The commonest [अतिसाधरण] form of forgetfulness [भुलक्कड़ पन], I suppose, occurs [घटित होता है] in the matter of posting letters. So common is it that I am always reluctant [अनिच्छुक] to trust a departing [जाते हुए] visitor [आगन्तुक] to post an important letter, So little do I rely [विश्वाश करना] on his memory that I put him on his oath [कसम /सपथ] before handing the letter to him. As for myself, any one who asks me to post a letter is a poor judge of character. Even if I carry the letter in my hand I am always past the first pillar-box [स्तम्भ पेटिका] before I remember that I ought to [चाहिए(नैतिकता के भाव मे)] have posted it. Weary of holding it in my hand, I then put it for safety into one of my pockets and forget all about it. After that, it has an unadventurous [कायरता पूर्ण/छिपा हुआ] life till a long chain of circumstances [परिस्थितियाँ]leads to a number of embarrassing [कष्ट प्रद] questions being asked, and I am compelled [बाध्य होना] to produce the evidence [साक्ष्य] of my guilt from my pocket. This, it might be thought, must be due to a lack of interest in other people\’s letters; but that cannot be the explanation, for I forget to post some even of the few letters that I myself remember to write.

As for leaving articles [वस्तुएं] in trains and in taxies, I am no great delinquent [दोषी/अपराधी] in such matters. I can remember almost anything except books and walking-sticks and I can often remember even books. Walking-sticks I find it quite impossible to keep, I have an old-fashioned [पुरानी चलन की] taste for them, and I buy them frequently [प्रायः/अक्सर] but no-sooner [तुरन्त बाद] do I pay a visit to a friend\’s house or go a journey in a train, than another stick is on its way into the world of the lost. I dare not carry an umbrella for fear of losing it. To go through life without ever having lost an umbrella- has even the grimmest-jawed [अत्यंत गंभीर] umbrella-carrier [छाता-धारक] ever achieved this?

Few of us, however [फिर भी], have lost much property on our travels through forgetfulness. The ordinary man arrives at his destination [गंतव्य-स्थल] with all his bags and trunks [सन्दूक] safe. The list of articles lost in trains during the year suggests that it is the young rather than the adult who forget things, and that sportsmen [खिलाड़ी] have worse memories than their ordinary seious-minded [गंभीर] fellows. A considerable [अच्छी ख़ासी/अधिक संख्या] number of footballs and cricket-bats, for instance [उदाहरण], were forgotten. This is easy to understand, for boys, returning from the games, have their imaginations still filled with a vision of the playing-field and their heads are among the stars- or their hearts in their boots as they recall their exploits [उपलब्धि] or their errors. They are abstracted [अलग] from the world outside them. Memories prevent [रोकना] them from remembering to do such small prosaic [नीरस] things as take the ball or the bat with them when they leave the train. For the rest of the day, they are citizens of dreamland. The same may be said, no doubt, of anglers [मछुआरे] who forget their fishing-rods [कंटिया/काँटा]. Anglers are generally said- I do not know with what justification [तर्क]- to be the most imaginative of men, and the man who is inventing magnificent [शानदार] lies in the journey home after a day\’s fishing is bound to be a little absent-minded in his behavior. The fishing-rod of reality is forgotten by him as he daydreams [दिवा-स्वपन] over the fears [कौशल] of the fishing-rod of Utopia. His loss of memory is really a tribute [श्रद्धांजलि] to the intensity [अधिकता /सघनता] of his enjoyment in thinking about his day\’s sport. He may forget his fishing-rod, as the poet may forget to post a letter, because his mind is filled with more glorious [भव्य/शानदार] matter. Absent-mindedness of this kind seems to me all but a virtue [गुण/खासियत]. The absent-minded man is often a man who is making the best of life and therefore has no time to remember the mediocre [साधारण बात]. Who would have trusted Socrates or Coleridge to post a letter? They had souls above such things.

The question whether the possession [स्वामित्व/अधिकार] of a good memory is altogether desirable [वांछनीय] has often been discussed, and men with fallible [निम्न/घटिया] memories have sometimes tried to make out a case for their superiority [महानता/उत्कृष्टता]. A man they say, who is a perfect remembering machine is seldom a man of the first intelligence [बुद्धिमानी], and they quote various cases of children or men who had marvelous [अद्भुत] memories and who yet had no intellect [योग्यता] to speak of. I imagine, however, that on the whole [सम्पूर्ण] the great writers and the great composers [रचयिता] of music have been men with exceptional [विलक्षण/असाधारण] powers of memory. The poets I have known have had better memories than the stock-brokers [शेयर दलाल] I have known. Memory, indeed is half the substance [संक्षेप/सार] of their art. On the other hand, statesmen [राजनेता] seem to have extraordinarily [विचित्र/असाधारण] bad memories. Let two statesmen attempt to recall [याद/स्मरण करना] the same event- what happened, for example, at some Cabinet meeting- and each of them will tell you that the other\’s story is so inaccurate that either he has a memory like a sieve [चलनी] or is an audacious [निडर/साहसी] perverter [झूँठ बोलने वाला] of the truth. The frequency with which the facts in the autobiographies [आत्म कथाएं] and speeches of statesmen are challenged, suggests that the world has not yet begun to produce ideal statesmen-men who like great poets, have the genius of y and of intellect combined [संगठित].

At the same time, ordinarily [साधारणतया] good memory is so common that we regard [मानना] a man who does not possess [रखना] it as eccentric [सनकी]. I have heard of a father who, having offered to take the baby out in a perambulator [बाबा-गाड़ी/शिशु-गाड़ी], was tempted [आकर्षित] by the sunny morning to pause on his journey and slip into a public-house for a glass of beer. Leaving the perambulator outside, he disappeared [गायब] through the door of the saloon bar [मधुशाला]. A little later, his wife had to do some shopping which took her past the public-house, where to her horror [डर], she discovered [पाया/खोजा] her sleeping baby. Indignantक्रोधित at her husband\’s behavior, she decided to teach him a lesson [सबक]. She wheeled [पहिये पर चलाकर] away the perambulator, picturing [कल्पना करते हुए] to herself his terror [आतंक/भय] when he would come out and find the baby gone. She arrived home, anticipating [आशा करते हुए] with angry relish [भावना/रुचि] the white face and quivering [काँपते हुए] lips that would soon appear with the news that the baby had been stolen. What was her vexation [कष्ट], however, when just before lunch her husband came in smiling cheerfully [प्रसन्न] and asking: \”Well, my dear, what\’s for lunch today?\” Having forgotten all about the baby and the fact that he had taken it out with him. How many men below the rank of a philosopher would be capable [योग्य/सक्षम] of such absent-mindedness as this? Most of us, I fear, are born with prosaically [साधारण] efficient [कुशल] memories. If it were not so, the institution [दिशा-निर्देश] of the family could not survive [जीवित] in any great modern city.

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