After the Selfies

After the Selfies

It was the 26th of October and a very busy day for me. I was co-organizing a seminar on Dementia for my club. We had invited two eminent practising psychiatrists as speakers to this seminar which would be attended by around 50 people.

I arrived earlier, with the other organizers, to review arrangements at the venue. Sheila, a fellow organizer, was very anxious – she had misplaced a text which was to be read out to introduce the psychiatrists. I had seen the text once before and wrote it down from my memory for Sheila to read out – crisis averted!

I had always been proud of my razor-sharp memory. As a young student, it had helped me do well in class. I was also the life of my gossip circle as I could remember even the minutest details of events that had transpired. I was lost in a beautiful stream of thoughts from the yesteryears when I was jolted back to reality by the shrill voice of the psychiatrist – “Trouble remembering recent events and increasing confusion”, she squeaked on, “are early symptoms of dementia”.

The talks were followed by queries from the audience leading to many interesting discussions around managing patients’ conditions. Everything went very well.

After the guests had left, we organizers congratulated each other on the successful event. Once again, I was praised for my sharp memory, which had saved the day earlier. We made payments to the florist, the catering staff and the event venue administrator. Then the photo session started. We posed with our club banner. A lot of group selfies were clicked. The photo session went on for a while.

“I called you so many times to ask you where the black file was”, said my husband when I got home. “The accountant had come to collect the income tax acknowledgement. I was sure you would remember. But you never picked up the phone,” he continued. Still puzzled at having missed his call, I frantically searched through my handbag to check my phone to see when he had called. But I couldn’t find my phone. It was gone!

My face turned dark. I have lost my favourite and most useful device, also a gift from my husband. All my contacts, personal information, bank details; I couldn’t dare to think any further. My husband tried calling the venue to inquire about the phone, but the venue had closed by then. We had to wait until next morning.

I tried to recollect where I might have left my phone. The last thing I remembered was the selfies. My memory, which I was always praised for, had gone blank. It was all a confusing blur after that. I remembered nothing between leaving the venue and getting home. What did I do? Where did I go? Who was I with?

A chill went down my spine and my ears turned warm when the shrill voice of the psychiatrist rang in my ears, “Trouble remembering recent events and increasing confusion…”

That was the night I lost my phone.


Charulata Panigrahi
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