Of mnemonic associations

Images trigger associations that you never knew existed in your memory. I am not sure if you identify with this observation but this seems to be the case with me and I can remember blogging about this as well earlier.

Well, this was another such moment for me during my North Sikkim trip last month. The Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler, like most of the other Scimitar Babblers, is a skulker, found usually in the dense undergrowth in moist forests and bamboo thickets. This time, we were lucky that we spotted a pair and they seemed a bit social as well – making a few quick and hurried forays to the edges of the bamboo thickets from were we could spot them clearly.

As I spotted them through the viewfinder and clicked the first few shots, the image of a young Bengali/Assamese bride flashed through my head. The white markings around the eyes and the supercilium seemed to me like the decorative Gopi dots (I am hoping that this is what they are called) that adorn the foreheads of the bride in some of these traditional weddings.

Now, I don’t remember ever having attended a Bengali or Assamese wedding. Haven’t been a fan of movies to have seen something like this there. Maybe, the association itself is flawed and hopefully someone will point this out. But for the life of me, I can’t figure out why this association got formed in my head.

With birds like the Scimitar Babbler that are extremely fidgety and are usually in the thick undergrowth where sunlight struggles to penetrate, it is quite a task to capture an image that is sharp enough to highlight the feature that set me off on this deeply-buried synaptic journey. Thankfully I do have one close-up to share.

Now if you can help me figure out (a) if these bridal decorations on the forehead (above the eyebrows) are called Gopi dots (b) if this association I recalled is for real or is flawed and (c) if these ‘mnemonic associations’ happens with you as well.

3 thoughts on “Of mnemonic associations

  1. Sherry Felix says:

    I looked it up for you: Gopi dots are traditional designs that usually go over the brow extending across the forehead and down to the temples and the top of cheekbones, and may also decorate arms and legs. They can be used to decorate deities or people. And In Hinduism gopi (or gopika) refers to the group of cow herding girls within Vaishnava devoted to Krishna as described in the stories of Bhagavata Purana and Puranic literature.

    Liked by 1 person

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