Thursday, September 29, 2005

A photographic memory

Sayesha is writing a thesis.

Wait, that makes me sound like a nerd.

Let me rephrase that.

Dissertation. Sayesha is writing a dissertation. On Bollywood.

"Sayesha is writing a dissertation on Bollywood."

Ah, that sounds much better.

So yesterday, I went for my second meeting with my supervisor, and he lent me this book 'To be or not to be: Amitabh Bachchan' to use as reference for my dissertation. It's a 4-kg book (yes, I weighed it when I got home retired hurt from lugging it back). And you can kill a man with it.

So during our meeting, he suddenly asked me, "I forgot to ask you this in the first meeting, but why did you pick me to be your supervisor?" And he asked me that very seriously. I knew why he was asking that. To make sure I was not a 'bouncee'. Since he does not teach me any subject, he was wondering if I was one of those whom every other professor in uni had rejected -- the 'bouncees' -- and if after bouncing around, I had resorted to asking random professors if they would agree to supervise me.

I had seen this question coming. But it was a long and weird story why I'd picked him.

"It's a long and weird story, Sir."

"Go on. I'm listening."

"I first met you about six years ago I think. For like five minutes. We met at the Canteen 2 bus stop and you asked me if I was from India. You gave me your card, and told me you had worked as a photojournalist for 'India Today'. You invited me to an Antakshari party you were having at your place. And then my bus came and I left.

And then I never met you after that. I graduated in 2002, and have been working for the last 3 years in the east, far far away from uni.

When I moved to the west 3 weeks ago, during packing and unpacking, I discovered a lot of stuff that I had lost. And found your card amongst it. And since I refuse to do my dissertation on anything but Bollywood, I figured you'd be the perfect supervisor. But I wasn't sure if you were still around as you could have been a visiting professor. After all, it had been so many years. But I looked you up on the uni website and found you. And that's how this came about."

"Stroke of luck, huh?"

"Yeah! To remember all this and find you again six years later at the right time!" I leaned back in the chair, beaming with pride at my fantastic memory.

"Five." He looked at me and smiled mysteriously.

"I'm sorry?"

"Five years, Sayesha. Not six."


"I met you at the Canteen 2 bus stop in 2000. It's been five years. You had longer hair and you were not as thin as you are now."

My jaw dropped. It literally dropped.

"You remember me? From that one brief meeting five years ago?? How???"

"I'm a photographer, Sayesha." He smiled.


Bhavesh said...


//"I'm a photographer, Sayesha." He smiled.

yaar, kya tum itni khoobsurat hoon?? hehhe :-)

u r some person sayesha.. i discard all those business cards i ve in my wallet every few weeks coz they make it feel soooo heavy...!! how much more such memories do u ve??

Princessse said...

AWESOME. sheer irony of the situation! :)

Anonymous said...

wow!!! :-)


Sayesha said...


//yaar, kya tum itni khoobsurat hoon??

No. I am not. :)

You know Justme, I also throw away business cards, especially the ones randomly given to me by people, which is why I was really surprised at the turn of events!

Yeah man... at least I had the card to remind me of him. He had nothing. Just a photographic memory. Wow.

Amazing, isn't it? :)

Kaala Kavva said...

the guy is truly amazing...
maybe u made such a mark in the guy's mind in ur first meeting that he remembers u since..

Bhavesh said...

aree yaar i wasnt talking abt physical beauty.. i was talking abt d beauty of d heart.. ;-) from wat i ve read of your posts i can vouch for this beauty of yours of sure..!!

ok..ok.. enuff of praising thee.. :-)

Anonymous said...

wow! so brave of taking up such a job. hope u complete this thesis in this lifetime ;)
but on a second thot why such a useless topic :-"

as usual, just kidding *grin*

Ravi said...

"A dissertation on Bollywood" ?
What is that all about? Please enlighten. Are you really going to do research on Bollywood?

Haan Photographers do have good visual memory....and an eye for great detail.

Humjoli said...

Sayesha, u need to do me a favor now. Ask your supervisor about what he eats for keeping his memory so sharp. Its really amazing. Should I change my profession to photographer now? ;o)

Humjoli said...

by the way I agree with Ashish, the topic is really useless. You can better devote your time for something more useful. if you need ideas, let me know :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Sayesha (always wondered what the name sayesha actually means),

Following the appearance of your blog on rediff, i have been a regular visitor to it... Apart from the incident, I have to praise you for your writing style. It is really nicely written. Keep the "blog-hungry" crowd happy ...

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a nice mentor :)

Anonymous said...

Your narration is cool :). So photographers have a great memory haan ??

beaming with pride at my fantastic memory.

next time think twice before start feeling proud about your fantastic memory ;-).

Anonymous said...

Maybe when he met you, he thought, She'll make a funny mom!

Ok Ok...that was horrible...but we were ALL thinking it!!! Don't lie!!!

But seriously, faces are not hard to remember. I can remember faces i've seen quite well. Names on the other hand.....I used to have a teacher who called everyone John or Jane cause he couldn't be arsed to remember their names. I'm even worse than that guy... :-)

Sayesha said...

#Ze Chapaater!,
Naah, I don't think we had enough interaction in those 5 minutes for me to make any mark... he's just amazing that's all. :)

I know baba! I was kidding too! :)
I was just trying to make you feel like a shallow and horrible person. And looks like I succeeded! ;)
ps: And thanks for all the praise! :P

Tu nahin bachega!!! :D
ps: And I will complete it in my lifetime. What is that supposed to mean anyway?? Is that a jab on Hopscotch?? :(

Yeah, I won't be covering the whole of Bollywood (impossible to do that in a lifetime) but certain aspects such as greying of the character sketches, and impact of the NRI audience, etc.

I'm not gonna ask my supervisor strange questions. What if he rejects my dissertation man? Dun wanna become a 'bouncee'! :D
ps: No I don't need your ideas my dear. My topic rocks. It's one of the 13 reasons why I am doing a Master's in the first place. (No, I won't list the other 12.)

Sayesha apparently means 'princess of hearts'/'attained with great desire'.
ps: Thanks :)

Yes, he's incredibly helpful. And I'm not just talking about the reference book that doubles up as a weapon of self-defence.

//next time think twice before start feeling proud about your fantastic memory

So YOU are the President of the 'State-the-obvious' Club! Achha!

Stop it already. The baby post is history. And no one except you was thinking it! You're obsessed, man! :)
ps: I am still amazed. As a student, I may see like 50 professors in 4 years and remember their faces. But professors see thousands of faces every day! And he remembered one he saw for 5 minutes 5 years ago! That's just really good memory.

Anonymous said...

I used to work in a computer lab in a school of about 50,000 students. I saw LOTS of people. But after a few weeks of working there I could pick up on who was new there, who had been there before and who was a regular. Its not that hard Sayesha. I'm sorry but I'm not impressed with the fact that he remembered you. I'm impressed that he actually knew the year he met you. Now if he could specify the month and day too, then that would just be the icing on the cake :-)
But you know something, my grand parents and all the older generations are also good at remembering things like this. They know the family tree and connections you never understand. They can pick up on what happened in a specific year and what they were doing then. If this prof of yours is a lot older, then I'm certain he may fall into this category of tempered minds.

Sayesha said...

I respect your viewpoint. But I refuse to deny credit to someone for something I know I am perhaps not capable of. That's how my life works. :)

Sahil said...

Now now kids don't fight.

It's one thing working in a computer lab and identifying regulars and newbies there, but its another thing to have randomly met someone five years ago and remember them so well. Remember details such as her having more hair then, and being thinner now. And that also in a quick 5 minute meeting.

That is pretty amazing. I pride myself on my memory, but this guy rocks.

Either that - or you really did leave one mind-blowing impression on him (but perhaps u havent realised that).

Anonymous said...

Amazing incident... :)

This brings a funny thought to my head... there are so many times you see someone you've seen a few times before and maybe think you should say hi. But then you wonder if they remember you at all. And you don't want to freak somebody out by saying "Hi, I notice you take this bus at 830 AM everyday... Wanna be friends?".

Maybe they do remember you, and maybe they're thinking exactly the same thing... Is that a friendship lost? I wonder...

It's nice to see that in your case, this chance encounter is turning out to be something more meaningful :)

Angelsera said...


Anonymous said...

what...everything is calm n quiet here? shux...*brow knitted*

rimjhim said...

interesting coincidents ...!!!

Actually this may happen with many meet a person after five-six years....BUT then everybody is not privileged with that photographic realize this amazing coincidence!!!

And your style of writing has just added immense beauty to it!!

Unknown said...

Interesting...dissertation on Bollywood..very interesting!
This guy seems so of those types that put the swing in your step after meeting them.

virdi said...

will all due respect to you sir... can you take a good photo of sayesha's hands and send it to me??? :-)

Anonymous said...

Sahil - no fight here. Just a difference of opinion that we can all sort out in a mature manner. PILLOW FIGHT!!!!!!

What I was trying to get across in my bad angrezi was that being impressed is a very personal thing. If something doesn't happen frequently to you then you will be impressed. If it does then you won't.

Haha! You were too busy reading that spiel and now i've pummeled you with the pillow! Victory is mine!!! *runz out* :-)

(a la Stewie Griffin from The Family Guy)

Sayesha said...

I don't think I left a mind-blowing impression on him. His impression of me was probably the same as your impression of me. And we know what you think of me.
ps: Ok, time to be nice to Sahil -- I think you have a great memory too.

I know exactly what you mean! I have some 7am people in my life too! (Who incidentally think I am stalking them!) :O

That was my reaction too! :P

Don't even think about it!

Thanks :)

Yeah, I'm really excited about both the dissertation and the oppportunity to work with this supervisor! :)

Oh man!! You made me smile on a day I was really upset. What would I do without you?? :)

What?? Guys are having pillow fights in their pink skimpies now?? Methinks Sayeshaz is turning to Sleazeland! Halp!

Anonymous said...

hi sayesha..
Thats a beautiful name btw, i just read what it means:).well,i guess it does suit you completely:) i came across your blog yesterday and i am already a fan! i am not much of a blogger myself.waiting for further posts and planning to finish reading your previous posts soon:)
keep it coming:)

Anonymous said...

excuse the error in the previous comment.

Anonymous said...

pink skimpies - HAHA! Good one!

You made me smile on a day I was really upset - Why so down? You're generally so happy and going with the flow. Kya hua? Kyon Hua? Kisse Hua? Are you in lurve? :-)

VT said...

Prior to your brief encounter, he might have "watched you" couple or more times before and might as well have taken special interest in you (as he asked you if you were from India).

I can as well remember with 5 mega pixel resolution (read more details) even briefer encounters I had @ age 13, with girls that interested me.

Not to belittle the genuine photographic memory your sups. might be having but just to bring out a possibility :)

Anonymous said...

dissertation on bollywood :?:
u never seem to stop amusing me

Siddhu said...

After reading this, I seriously am speecchless! I just loved the way the story ended - reminded me of that story by Somerset Maugham about that guy whose face was scarred or something. Don't ask me why, but that's exactly what came to my mind:)


Anonymous said...

oh, sayesha still lets me comment! *faints with joy!* *thud!*

Sayesha said...

Thanks a lot! :)

Had a minor tiff with a dear one... Ho jata hai kabhi kabhi... :) And yes, I am in lurve. I am always in lurve. With everything.

What a killjoy, yaar! Kabhi toh kisi ko credit de do bhai!

Arre what the hell! Anything I do, and you're amused! :O

Oye you're back! Welcome back! Will check out your blog later... saw loads of snaps but haven't had time to read.
ps: And thanks :P

Sayesha splashes a bucket of water on Fao's face to bring her back to consciousness.

//oh, sayesha still lets me comment!

Yeah, yeah, she does. Thank your stars for that moronic but adorable common friend we have! ;)

Anonymous said...

You're a sure fire candidate for filmdom, yaar! Bollywood ke gaane ek jhatke mein gaa sakthi ho, ab thesis kar rahi ho, Bollywood actor log ke peeche bhaagthi ho autograph lene, woh log tujhe yaad rakhte hain, so much experience in the field, yaar!!! You would put the existing no.1's to shame !
Bas, all you need is a chiffon sari and long hair back again! :-)

Anonymous said...

dont read so much, there is nothing between the lines! I have never read Hopscotch, leave alone making a jab at it.

All I meant was that if you start working on SUCH A THESIS, every time you'll cover existing things, bollywood would come up with more stupidity - so you'll never be able to finish coping up with their stupidities !!! hence cannot complete it in this lifetime.

Sayesha said...

Haan haan, zindagi mein bas yehi baaki reh gaya karne ko! :)

Arre baba... tu bahut serious ho jata hai yaar... :)
ps: I am covering only the intelligent aspects of Bollywood, so don't worry :)

Prahalathan said...

Great BLOG!
I took a feed... U should provide links to Site feeds on your page...

Nice work!
Keep BLOGging!

Bhavya said...

Wow! The guy had quite a memory!