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Pidgin Punjabi

Surinder was born in Northern India where Punjabi was her mother tongue. As a child her family moved to Kenya where she learnt some Swahili before moving to England as a teenager.

Surinder spoke to her sister on the telephone in Pidgin Punjabi, breaking into English 30% of the time when her Punjabi failed her. Her sister was just the same. She told me that when she was a child her Punjabi had been fluent. I said I thought there was a good chance that she still knew all the Punjabi she had ever known but that she had lost access to it. We agreed to find out.

In trance I told her that she could remember every word of Punjabi she had ever known and was just as fluent as she had ever been. On waking she phoned her sister who wanted to know where she had been taking lessons in Punjabi.

Then Surinder said "I wish I could speak upper class Punjabi" which just goes to prove there's no pleasing some people. She explained that she spoke a sort of middle-brow Punjabi but there was a more refined and elegant Punjabi she had heard but didn't speak. On the basis that you very often don't know until you try I sent her to sleep again and this time told her she would wake up speaking the Punjabi of princesses. And she did.

The next day her sister came to see me!

There has been much debate about the validity of recovered memories and I have no doubt that it is very much easier for a therapist to unwittingly implant his own thoughts and ideas into his patient's memory than it is to ensure the recovered memories are genuine and uncorrupted. But Surinder's case show's that it is possible to recover unsullied memories as I know no Punjabi personally and could not have influenced what she recalled; only that she recalled it.

  

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