Monday, October 6, 2008

Material Girl

While trying to help ma get rid of a few old and useless things that lay caked in dust for all these years, I realized that all that’s dusty and useless may not be dispensable.

  • The bag that baba used to carry to the fish market still stinks…..of fish and dust.

  • Didi’s school diary is filled with complaints from teachers to parents…."talkative"….."did not do her homework"……"was not well prepared for the oral test".

  • The tiny spoon that ma used to force down unwanted morsels of food down didi’s throat has lost its shape and colour.

  • The hairpin that ma used as a new bride is dangerous enough to prick one to a wound.

  • The red gloves that I wore, when I dressed up as Santa Claus in a school function

...have survived in spite of the rat bites and naphthalene balls. Yet we could not throw these dusty, tattered, smelly bundles of memory away…..

Moments become memories…..and objects become tokens…..of love, innocence, pride, sorrow and toil. I had probably realized this years back when I became a collector. Every greeting card I ever received in life (from the time I learnt the value of a greeting) is carefully preserved in a cardboard box that lies on the topmost rack of my bookshelf. The childish writings of friends I have vague memory of, force me to recollect. The little, funny poems added to the cards by those who are now settled on the other side of the globe and have become fathers/mothers of children who are as old as they were when they wrote those poems…..evoke a strange feeling…almost of another life.

The wrap of the candy I won in a lucky dip in a school fete, the pen that my sister bought for me with the money in her piggy bank, the ticket to the first movie I saw with my friends in the theatre with no adult escort, the ‘Leadership Training Service’ (LTS) badge, the flower picked up from a garden in Chandigarh, the ICSE timetable, the newspaper cutting declaring that Aamir Khan is married (Ma said I skipped lunch after that...which is 'something' as I ate 7-8 times a day those days), the earring whose pair I lost, the autograph of a favourite class teacher, the passes to the fest I saw my first crush in, the cartoon of me that my best friend drew on my mathematics notebook, the stamp I pulled out of the envelope that carried the letter from my pen friend from Austria, the envelope in which I got my first fees as an English tutor…..are all pieces of my past…the past that makes me what I am.

I relived five years of my adolescent life in fifty minutes as I read the letters from a dear brother .The praise when I got admission in one of the better colleges in the country, the advice when I thought that everyone could be trusted, the consolation when I didn’t know how to handle my first crush….were like my past speaking to me….summing up my whole adolescent existence.

Hindsight is as important as foresight… as it is the filter that traps our past follies. In fact foresight is often built on hindsight. I am glad that I kept collecting the fragments of my past…..they are the only things that I can call entirely my own. One day when I will be a bundle of trembling hands, shrunken eyes and wrinkled cheeks…. I will open my bagful of goodies… that will be like the zephyr from the past…and then with a scalp full of grey hairs, I will relive those days…and my toothless grins will amuse anyone who would care to notice.

1 comment:

Shoma said...

I can't believe I didn't read this earlier. Beautiful :)