The human brain is a network of 100 billion neurons with the mind-boggling capacity to store 20 million songs. With such a huge hard drive, some of us still manage to be dim bulbs!
The fault could lie in our RAM (Random Access Memory) or the working memory. If the RAM is in the league of 8 GB, chances are we’d be able to recall nearly everything. If, on the other hand, our RAM is in the realm of 512 MB, we’re likely to have the memory of a gold fish.
At school, I think, all of us had a rather distracted frame of mind. Which probably explains the profusion of mnemonics (memory aids) to make us remember things. I still recollect my physics teacher’s naughty little mantra: Oh Be A Fine Girl, Kiss Me. Apparently, it’s the nifty way to recollect O, B, A, F, G, K and M – the seven types of stars in a galaxy arranged in decreasing order of temperature.
Google tells me that ‘My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nachos’ is how kids in America remember the nine planets. In our geography class, ‘HOMES’ was the code word to memorize the Great Lakes of North America. For those who’ve forgotten, it’s Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior.
‘Dumb Kids Prefer Candy Over Fancy Green Salad’ is a very contemporary way to refresh your memory on Domain, Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus & Species (the taxonomy of life as taught in Biology).
The beauty of mnemonics is, anyone can create their own formula for calling to mind just about anything - not just lists. For instance, the number pi can be worked out to the 15th place by just counting the letters in the following sentence: “How I like a drink, alcoholic of course, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics”. That would be 3.14159265358979.
In a nation of mug pots, it helps to have desi mnemonics. So I wasn’t surprised when I stumbled upon ‘Sona Chandi Tole Pandit Badri Prasad Har Har Bhole’. It’s the cheat sheet for arriving at trigonometric formulae for Sine, Cosine and Tangent.
Basically Sona (sine) is Pandit Badri (Perpendicular/Base), Chandi (cosine) is Prasad Har (Perpendicular/Hypotenuse), and Tole (tangent) is Har Bhole (Hypotenuse/Base). Any crammer would tell you, that’s simply ingenious. But then, mnemonics were meant to make the dreary job of mugging smile-worthy, right? Before I take leave, I’ll sign off with ‘Lovely Cadbury Dairy Milk’. It’s the delicious way to chew on LCDM, the major Roman numerals!