Some of us have totally lost it. We have little time for ourselves and even less for our loved ones. We go about life as if we are so pressed for time that the world would fall apart if we paused to think.

One fall-out of this sense of totally unlimited urgency is that we have become forgetful to the core. In a tizzy at all times, we keep on losing things, forgetting appointments and naming people wrongly.

When we were young, this proneness to being absent minded was associated with the really elderly. Today, we not-so-elderly people are even more susceptible to the problem.

I for one have the tendency to call acquaintances named ‘Suresh’ as ‘Saurabh’ and those named ‘Vikram’ as ‘Akshay’. I have noticed though that it is easier to remember names of the female variety. The reasons for this variant to the phenomenon are not yet known.

I also tend to forget meetings and appointments unless the mobile phone reminds me of them. There are times when one has to cut a sorry figure at not having reached the venue of an important rendezvous.

Remembering birthdays and anniversaries is entirely out of the question. Websites like Facebook and Geni serve as important aides in such situations. Predictably, my wife is not pleased at my forgetfulness but she’s not much better herself so I get away lightly on most occasions!

This malaise of absentmindedness has reached such alarming levels in our society that people leave behind mobile phones in taxis and train compartments by the hundreds. One has also heard of wallets, purses, lighters, pens, pen-drives and even laptops being discovered in restaurants by waiters who clear the tables.

A friend of mine tends to look extra busy with multiple communication devices bulging out of his pockets at all times. He recently staked a claim for the absentmindedness award of the year when he met me for lunch at a restaurant. So caught up was he with all sorts of calls and emails to attend to that he put a sandwich in his pocket at some moment and noticed it only while leaving. The soggy eatable had messed up his pants to telling effect. The resultant peels of my laughter are probably reverberating inside his head even today.

Another glaring faux pas occurred one day when a few families travelled together for a holiday and had much fun. So boisterous was the mood and so numerous the number of children in tow that two kids who were busy watching TV got left behind on the return journey. Their parents thought that they were in another car and it was only when the group stopped for a meal along the highway that the lapse was noticed.

A recently returned cheque took the cake however. The signatory had wanted to present his granddaughter a largish amount to mark his 75th birthday but instead of affixing the current date he wrote the ancient year of his birth on the cheque. The error was noticed when the bank’s advice arrived in the mail. It simply said ‘The date appears to be erroneous’.