Dates, Memory And Dreams

Read this story and come back, I will then tell you my story.

Crazy, huh? I agree.

Even before I knew the basic math, I could tell the exact day for any given date. Trust me, I didn’t know that 1+1 was 2, but given an year, month and date, I could tell you the day in a matter of seconds. My mother accidentally discovered this ability and suddenly I became popular among friends.

Infact, interview for my school admission had the headmaster asking me days for July 1st and August 15th of that year (yeah, I will come to my memory later). My classmates, seniors, teachers, family and friends were always behind me asking me the day for some date. What was amazing to the others around me was not at all a big deal for me. Needless to say, I would get tons of questions from “How do you do it?” to “Can you teach me please?”, day in and day out.

Shakuntala Devi (no introduction needed) is a family friend, both from my father and mother’s sides. Thank God, my parents were certainly not keen on trying to make me a ‘star’ by taking me to her to get more ‘training’. That’s pretty much what almost all their friends told them constantly. Even when Ms. Devi visited our home, absolutely not a word about my skills were spoken. Furthermore, a doctor friend of my mother who was living in America for a very long time wanted to get me onto Oprah Show!!! It probably wasn’t feasible at that time, but the point I am trying to make here is that I had slowly realized that I had some ability which most others did not.

Slowly but steadily, the pressure was building.  I was scared. I no longer wanted to be the ‘intelligent kid’. Plus, I had so many other hobbies that I did not want to miss out on. So, when people started asking me the day for a particular date, I started declining to answer. And to this day, I have kept that up. A few people around me know that I have this capacity. But, I really don’t like being the centre  of questions. I agree to tell the day only when I am in a mood, and that is quite rare now. But, quite regularly, I play with dates within my head. That gives me a kick and makes me feel happy, that I am as ‘intelligent’ as I was when I was a little boy!!!

Now onto memory. Fortunately or unfortunately, I remember so many details from my past with pin-point accuracy. I honestly wish that I did not remember so much detail. For kicks, let me throw out some examples here:

May 25th 1979 – We left Mysore to go visit my mother’s cousin in Bombay. We reached Bombay on 27th. The next wednesday, I had a lot of pain in my legs because we walked too much and I was just a little kid.

July 9th 1983 – I was playing ‘chAr patthar’ on the street and I suddenly had a bad stomach pain. Later I was diagnozed with jaundice.

August 30th 1983 – My parents flew to America to give music concerts.

October 12th 1983 – My parents came back from America.

August 8th 1988 – I had fever.

April 1st 1990 – I was sitting in my room upstairs, heard ‘Mere Sapnon Ki Rani Kab Aayegi Tu’ from neighbor’s TV, and came down running to switch on the TV.

Obviously, it’s not hard to remember birthdays and anniversaries at all.

One last thing, which is hard for the others to believe, and scary to me. There are several instances where my dreams and thoughts have come true. Most of them have been newsworthy items. Things like plane crashes to changes in heads of states. The latest one being Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo. I know, it absolutely doesn’t make sense, you really don’t have to believe.

Going back to the news article, I guess it’s time for me to talk to Dr. James McGaugh. But then again, I am happy the way I am, why complicate things?

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26 Comments on “Dates, Memory And Dreams”


  1. Hello!
    Nice to read about you.
    great abilities u have.
    We r working with Shakuntala Devi
    Have a Look at our website on Vedic Maths

    Call me up – it wud be great to talk to you.

    Thanks
    Gaurav

  2. rads Says:

    DS: That was fascinating and yes, I do believe you. There was a time when I could reel numbers off and remember more than I cared. I still think memories and arbit incidents from my past has lingered on, but the skill of keeping in memory dates and numbers have sorta slipped away. Especially after the baby. I believe there’s scientific evidence to prove that am not unique and such….

    In any case, reading this made me wonder: At times do you feel it a burden? To be able to produce and to carry so much around, does it at any point in time become a load that you’d rather not walk around with?

    I know your last line said you were happy, but it’s a thought that crossed my mind, and had to ask 🙂


  3. Fascinating, Mr.Rain-man. You should go to Vegas and see if you can monetize that ability at the blackjack table. Just kidding, of course. :p Given that you turned down training and Oprah, I would guess you are not interested in that kind of thing.

    “Obviously, it’s not hard to remember birthdays and anniversaries at all.” – you know, a married man making a statement like that is another way of saying “aa bail, mujhe maar”; you cannot slip up even once.

    On a more serious note, have you noticed if this ability has somehow “balanced” out by a decrease in some other skill or ability?

  4. Vasuki Says:

    Hmm, very interesting post! I was somehow not too surprised on reading this! I think your “Die Another Day” was the first post I read on your blog, and I was like “how come he remembers so many details and so vividly?” and that too in such a situation…and then your posts like ‘cArAyanNa’ 🙂
    I dont know if this question has been asked too many times or if it bothers you, but I was just curious to know that with such vivid memories, you should be able to “experience” all those past events far more intensely than an average person, for whom its just a vague residual impression…does the bad memories make you feel as bad as you had felt when it had happened? Do the good memories of the past evoke the same happy feeling you had experienced at that moment? Just curious, you can avoid answering that if it bothers you.

  5. some body Says:

    vasuki:

    “does the bad memories make you feel as bad as you had felt when it had happened? Do the good memories of the past evoke the same happy feeling you had experienced at that moment? Just curious, you can avoid answering that if it bothers you.”

    you screwed up. believe me, because:
    a) d.s. will now forever remember that you asked this question which bothered him
    b) earlier today, while he was takin his siesta, he dreamed that some body would make the points i am making right now, and that i would be that some body! you realize, don’t you, that some body is very famous. 😉

    bpsk:

    ‘On a more serious note, have you noticed if this ability has somehow “balanced” out by a decrease in some other skill or ability?’

    i think d.s. is deficient in modesty – true, false or the croc kind! 😉

    ‘you know, a married man making a statement like that is another way of saying “aa bail, mujhe maar”; you cannot slip up even once.’

    you took the letters out of my keyboard! i meant to ask what d.s. does to perpetuate the myth of the forgetful husband. i just returned – on friday – a library book titled something along the lines of ‘why men forget and why women remember’.

    d.s.:

    all kidding aside, i think you are the first kannadiga i know who is this smart. i know (not know of, but personally know) tamilians and telugu folka with extraordinary mental ability, but not kannadigas. maybe (though i am one) it is me shortchanging kannadigas, maybe it is me just never being around enough kannadigas (especially in the last two decades), or maybe it is kannadigas being more modest, or falsely modest.

    you have to agree with me that indians as a whole are much more modest than, say, the americans. and modesty, which would help you in india, definitely hurts you in the usa.

    btw, on bpsk’s blog, i believe i referred to a recent cover story article in the national geographic of human memory. which profiled:
    a) a person who can recollect each day of his life (or her life – i don’t remember the gender)
    b) a person who had no “hard drive” but only flash memory. dude eats breakfast, comes out, then goes back for breakfast. some days, he has breakfast three-four times!

    btw, this memory with dates, doesn’t it also spread to photographic memory with books etc? how come you did not land up in iit, iim, stanford etc? or did you consciously make the effort not to use your ability in for-profit enterprises – class exams, entrance exams, …?

    remind me never to challenge you to an antyakshari 🙂

    – s.b.

  6. some body Says:

    d.s.:

    i routinely write long comments, but gotta confess – most of those i leave here are among the longer ones.

    – s.b.

  7. some body Says:

    d.s.:

    i thought i might as well add a link.

    – s.b.

  8. praneshachar Says:

    great and I do agree we have not heard of a kannadiga with such skills or kannadigas as usual are publicity shy. so many talents are hidden and not exposed.
    great to know about a person who so talented who is known to us thro blog and hope to meet some time.
    let this amazing gift help u and wish you all the best

  9. neel3 Says:

    Superlative ability.
    Thanks for sharing it here.

  10. neelanjana Says:

    That was wonderful to know..

    Although I never had the ability to tell the days from the calendar, I did have somewhat out-of-normal memory. I still have some of the dates and events etched in the brain – some good and some bad – and incidentally one of these is the day when I got sick, which later turned out to be jaundice 🙂 .

    Over the years, this ability has declined, and actually sometimes I feel my memory has become sub-normal 😦

  11. pArijAta Says:

    That’s a great ability you have, DS! I have a pretty weird memory, in that I remember some (unimportant) details and manage to forget almost all the important ones. 😦

    I have a lousy memory when it comes to birthdays and anniversaries. I mean, I know all of them, but happen to miraculously forget them a day or two before the event unless I set a reminder for myself. Of course, I remember a week later and send them a belated wish. I’ve regularly done this to my parents(!), my sister and even R, for the past many years. Now my parents call me on their birthdays and wedding anniversary (if they remember), and ask for wishes.

  12. Manaswini Says:

    ನಮಸ್ಕಾರ,

    ಬ್ಲಾಗ್ ತುಂಬಾ ಚಂದ ಇದೆ. ಸುಮಾರಷ್ಟು ಪೊಸ್ಟಗಳನ್ನು ಓದಿದೆ. ಖುಶಿಯಾಯ್ತು.

    Very interesting post indeed.

  13. Aram Says:

    Remarkable ability, remarkable post, and remarkable comments.

    Even more remarkable is the last but one para, about dreams and thoughts on newsworthy items coming true. The memory tricks are nothing compared to your uncanny ability for preternatural predictions

    However, I don’t understand why this is scary to you and why you say “it absolutely doesn’t make sense, you (we) really don’t have to believe.”

    Here is an account of similar abilities which, I hope, proves that your rare and supernatural abilities have been found in others too!

    My maavshi and I share a love for Modesty Blaise thrillers which were out of print for the last many decades. Last year, Penguin India brought out a series called Retro Revival in which they published 13 Modesty Blaise books and I got the entire set. Modesty as you might be aware is the female James Bond who set up in early 1960s “The Network” in Europe’s underworld long before the word acquired its present meaning. The novels feature at least 3 characters with abilities like yours. Willie Garvin whose ears prickle when danger lurks around the corner. Lucifer, with a paranormal ability to predict death, can predict the names of persons from a given list who are likely to die in the near future. The blind Dinah Collier who can divine gold and other precious metals besides being able to sense danger and ability to navigate in the dark, etc.

    If you say these are but characters in fiction read further.

    Wouldn’t you find it remarkable that Peter O’Donnell, the creator of Modesty Blaise sets the now famous 9/11 date in one of his books (Sabre Tooth published in 1966) as the date for the invasion of Kuwait? Also, strange that a genuine invasion of Kuwait took place 25 years after Sabre-Tooth was first published.

    Immediately after the twin towers were bombed on 9/11 immediate precautions were taken to protect the Golden Gate Bridge. This was saved from destruction at peak rush hour by Modesty in The Night of Morningstar (published 1982)

    Undoubtedly, the rarest of such rare abilities are there in both humans and animals and despite our huge advances in science and technology there is an enormous amount of things we are yet to find out or understand.

    PS:- Would you care to have the full set of 13 Modesty Blaise books? I can guarantee an absorbing read.

  14. Aram Says:

    “There are several instances where my dreams and thoughts have come true.”

    This reminds me of a treatise on Yoga (Lectures on Yoga)written by my namesake the late Swami Rama of the Himalayan Institute in Pennsylvania. It is said there that one of the elements of Ashtanga Yoga is Sathya and “anyone who makes Sathya the main focus of his life will find that whatever he utters will come true, for such a man is incapable of untruth.” I have seen this happening and perhaps you and your readers might also care to experiment. (No, not even white lies!)

    It just strikes me as I write this that if everybody takes up Sathya, the whole of this Kaliyuga will again transform into a Sathya Yuga and almost all the problems plaguing us would vanish, except perhaps the infamous agasa might still surface! 🙂

  15. some body Says:

    aram:

    is modesty blaise piblished in prose format? i used to read modesty blaise comic strips in the early 80s – i believe it was published in the national herald.

    – s.b.

  16. Aram Says:

    s.b.:
    Yes, indeed these 13 books are NOT comic strips, but 12 full sized novels and 1 collection of short stories called Pieces of Modesty. In fact, the very first story in this collection demonstrates a beautiful point, which I remember mentioning in Nilagriva’s (?) blog, that violence can be stopped only with violence – I need to cut your throat before you cut mine.

    If it pleases you, I shall be happy to arrange to FedEx the full set, or send through anyone going to the US from Bangalore if you know anyone. The whole set carries a printed price of Rs.3050 but I can get a discount of 25%.

  17. Srik Says:

    Wonderful to know. Helps when we meet 🙂 I better watchout before picking a debate with you, henceforth!!!

  18. Veena Says:

    Oh my GOD…! DS you are already so happy reading all the above comments so let me stop! 🙂

    s.b – Enjoyed reading your comment more than the blogpost. Well, I don’t agree with that statement you did about intelligent guys, both about DS and as well as general kannadigas.. why are you removing your self from the benchmark ?

    well, Modesty is the best policy.. 😉

  19. sunaath Says:

    ಇದೊಂದು extra ordinary capacity. ಮೆದುಳಿನಲ್ಲಿ generate ಆಗುವ frequencyಗಳಿಂದ ಇದು ಸಾಧ್ಯ ಎಂದು ಕೆಲವು ವಿಜ್ಞಾನಿಗಳು ಹೇಳುತ್ತಾರಲ್ಲವೆ?

  20. Aram Says:

    s.b.: did you notice that your first comment here contains the word, modest/y 4 times? Makes me wonder if your subconscious had some intuition that somebody, sorry some one was going to write about Modesty Blaise! 🙂

  21. some body Says:

    aram:

    re: modesty and ms. blaise: i got the same impression – seems like d.s. is rubbing off on us!

    re: the books – sorry but i am not that much into modesty blaise. just another comic strip i used to read along with phantom, mandrake, bahadur and the amar chitra kathas.

    veena:

    thanks for the compliments!

    that was good that you disagree with me about kannadigas – just goes to prove my limited interaction with kannadigas.

    – s.b.

  22. Aram Says:

    D.S.:

    Your post has begun to “haunt” me. 🙂

    Permit me to sketch here my own experiences that make me wonder if I too am a psychic or just a plain psychiatric case.

    Your penultimate para on precognition raises a question in me on whether an event which you foresee can be prevented. No, I definitely do not have precognitive abilities as you do. But many times when I worry too much about something happening, I see that it does not happen much to my relief. So, is it my perceived psychic powers that have averted the undesirable happening? 🙂

    Much as I would like to believe so, a psychological personality evaluation test given me by a family friend who is also a Professor of Psychiatry gave me an impression that it probably was not. The test had posed lots of similar questions which made me think that such beliefs might suggest an irrational mental state. The good doctor never revealed what insights he gained into my personality.

    Right from my pre-teenage years, I have observed that most of my wishes ultimately come true but almost always with an aftereffect of ruefulness that I shouldn’t have wished for it. This experience of mine is not unique and has been written at length in an obscure essay on Prayers by Richard Bach, in his book “A Gift Of Wings.”

    Another observation in my personal life is about divine retribution — Whenever I do something wrong to somebody, an equal or slightly less than equal ( but never more) retribution swiftly happens. This particular observation has been corroborated long ago by an old friend who held a Masters in Electronics. While the retribution is almost always less, the rewards for my good deeds is invariably more than what I deserve.

    Another observation is that I have a peculiar knack of getting into bad situations, almost self-destructive, mostly out of stupidity – Like falling at midnoon into a well seen in the night. I invariably end up with my skin intact as if some guardian angel is always behind me protecting me from harm, from everything except myself.

    Your post led me to http://beyondtheblog.wordpress.com which I am yet to go through but looks like a good read on issues of paranormal phenomenon.

    Thanks very much.

    @s.b.:

    “seems like d.s. is rubbing off on us!”

    — would you believe it, I actually wrote these very words in my question to you and then deleted and rewrote something else!

  23. Shiv Says:

    DS,
    This is amazing !
    Man of many talents..
    Great going buddy


  24. @ Gaurav:
    Thank you.

    @ rads:
    It is most certainly a burden. But a burden which I like 😉

    @ BS:
    Do you know “Rain Man” is one of my all time favorite movies? Plus, now I am waiting for the movie version of “Bringing Down The House” slated to be released later this month.

    I know, I cannot slip up birthdays and anniversaries even once. Tough call, oh well, not really 😉

    As for your more serious question, I am a true believer that all men are created equal. No, it’s not a fashion statement, I really believe that. So, yes, if you are good in something, you are bound to be not-so-good in other things. It all equals out in the end.

    @ Vasuki:
    LOL…no suprises, huh? That was a surprise!!! No, the bad memories are not as bad as the original. Same with the good ones. Memory is nothing compared to what you experience in reality, at least in my opinion. But, I do live in the past, several times. it’s good sometimes and it’s bad some other times.

    @ SB:
    First of all, I am NOT some super smart stud which you are making me to be. Just by reading the comments on blogsphere, all these years, I can tell there are several Kannadigas who are much smarter than I am, you included!!! Again, the definition of ‘smartness’ is very subjective. A person with my abilities is whom you consider ‘smart’, and a person with your abilities is whom I consider ‘smart’. Makes sense?

    As for the prejudices, here is my take. I have seen some super smart Tamilians. But, I am yet to come across *ONE* Telugu guy who is that smart. Infact, almost all Telugu guys I have met in the US are extremely mediocre and only care about how much money they make. Does that mean there are no intelligent Telugu folks out here? Absolutely not, it’s just that I haven’t seen any around me. I am sure there are tons of super smart Tamil, Telugu or Kannadigas around the World. So, I dispute your argument.

    As for IIT, IIM, yes I didn’t try at all. Come on, I had such a cozy bed, why would I want to live in a hostel? 🙂 On a more serious note, I am pathetically lazy and overconfident. There are occasions where I have bought my engineering textbooks the day before the final exams. Getting into IIT requires hardwork and quite frankly I constantly look for the easy way out. So, I didn’t even bother trying.

    And yes, I don’t EVER recall being in a losing side in Antyakshari 🙂

    @ Praneshachar:
    Thank you, I am humbled.

    @ Neel3:
    Thank you very much.

    @ Neelanjana:
    Awesome! Let me tell you something, don’t let it go. Just make sure your brain is busy and you will be fine. The worst thing is for us to rust it out. So, don’t.

    @ pArijAta:
    Even I rememebr so many junk things. I just don’t get ti. Nobody would ever use that information. LOL @ your parents calling you and asking you to wish them. As for November 4th, maybe I should send you an email before I send it to R 😉

    @ Manaswini:
    Thanks a lot.

    @ Aram:
    Thanks for a thorough comment, as usual. I am a HUGE James Bond fan, but never got into Modesty Blaise. And yes, i am a big fan of Nostradamus and truly believe in his abilities. Yep, I absolutley dislike people who lie. It amazes me how people lie so easily.

    @ Srik:
    LOL..no, debates are always fun. It is what motivates people and improves the knowledge. So, keep it coming, I love it.

    @ Veena:
    So, you don’t think I am smart, huh? LOL…I am just pulling your leg 🙂

    @ Sunaath:
    yes, but still, people may find it to be just another cock-and-bull story. Not that it matters to me 🙂

    @ Aram:
    Nostradamus has said several times that the future can be changed. Difficult, but possible. And, I believe him, blindly!!! It looks like SB and you are having your own intuitions. Man, my blog has so many levels 😀

    @ Shiv:
    Thank you mate.

  25. some body Says:

    d.s.:

    ‘Again, the definition of ’smartness’ is very subjective. A person with my abilities is whom you consider ’smart’, and a person with your abilities is whom I consider ’smart’. Makes sense?’

    a few weeks ago, i received a chainmail with an excel spreadsheet with a catty question whose answer was the password to the file (yes, that one). i forwarded to a few family and friends (you’ll doubtless remember which date and day ;-), to see if they could break the code. let me take away those who just replied saying that they got the answer and those who did not reply. two people stand out:
    —————————
    person a replied: “i cracked the code. i thought it was very easy. in fact, i thought it was too easy, but i did not get the answer on the first try. i thought i had misread the question and tried again, again i failed to get the correct answer. finally i opened an empty excel spreadsheet, methodically wrote the numbers, did the calculation and got the correct answer.”
    —————————
    person b replied: is this a trick question?
    i answered: no.
    person b: tell me the answer – i do not believe you.
    i: i won’t.
    b: it is , isn’t it?
    i: wow! so you did plug away and get the answer, eh?
    b: nope, i asked brother google.

    who is smart? person a or person b? who stands a better chance of performing better at a software firm?

    – s.b.


  26. @ SB:
    Point noted, but at the risk of digressing completely, let me continue with my response (I do like to argue with you 😉 ).

    Call me foolish, but as I mentioned earlier, I truly believe that all men are created equal. So, if you are better than others in something, you are bound to be weaker in some other thing. There’s a reason why blind people can sing better and amanujam failed in all the subjects except Math.

    Why is it that the greatest of modern day inventions are all done by white men?
    Why is it that the track and field competitions from 100m to marathon is filled by black people?
    How come Chiense and Indians do really well in Math Olympiad?
    Whay are NFL quarterbacks and NBA coaches caucasians?
    Why is six out of seven Janpeeth award winners from kannada are Brahmins?
    How come vachanas in Kannada was mostly written by the Lingayats and the classical haLegannaDa epics were written mostly by Jains?

    Environment and genes certainly play a role. Each of us are good in certaing things and not so good in certain other things.

    But, I guess what you are trying to bring up here is the true meaning of ‘success’ rather than ‘smartness, if I am not mistaken.

    I do agree that ‘success’ depends on whether you are good at a relevant ‘thingy’. With that angle, I guess your example makes sense. But then, that is just one realm of life.

    In a nutshell, my point is that you are probably as successful as I am in professional life, probably more. Afterall, I am just an “electron” 😉


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