Friday, July 10, 2015

Stories embedded in things #dailydiscard

Letters, birthday cards, notes scrawled on torn out notebook paper, entry passes and I sift through the pile of paper on the first shelf I have decided, in my new-found resolve, to clear out, I find a messy mass of memories.

Driving in to school, communing with other harried parents
A wish and a dream, still unfulfilled
The beginning of something, and something ended
A bouquet of affection bundled into thoughtful gifts

Thursday, July 09, 2015

What can I give up today? #dailydiscard

I woke up this morning feeling a sense that my life was the wrong kind of way. Yes, it is full in many ways, in all the good ways, but in addition to all that love and friendship and professional fulfillment (please note: I do not include material wealth and that house by the lake), there are reams of paper of various description, sarees requiring starching and ironing, fabric lengths waiting to be tailored, forms of legacy media to be either digitised or thrown out, broken cups and other memorabilia that have outlived the get the picture.

A recent conversation with a friend brought up the idea of leaving a "light footprint". We had seen others struggle with getting rid of their parents' and grandparents' things, and were assailed by these visions of our offspring sitting in the middle of all this (what they would most certainly consider junk) and wondering which things to throw away and which to keep, any possible grief they may be feeling at your passing offset by their irritation at having to deal with the material wake of your life.

Since then, I've been wondering where and how to begin the process of lightening the load. Last week, in a sudden fit of un-nostalgia, I told my daughter that if something happens to me, she should blindly throw away all the paper in my shelves and desk drawers. No rifling through, no sorting, just a simple handing over to the raddi-wala. "Don't get me wrong," I said, "I have no intention of dying on you right now, but I just wanted to make it clear--there's nothing of real importance in any of this paper!"

If that's the case, then why not begin the process of clearing out right now? So here's what I plan to do over the next few months.

Discard something every day.

Not just the paper and junky memorabilia, but other things too. Like rancour. And regret. More difficult to do, but just as important, plans that haven't materialised (so maybe new ones need to be made). Clothes that haven't been worn in a year, including those silk sarees that seem to grow more precious with age (the operative word being 'seem'). Just like the #100sarees campaign, I will try to record my saga of load-lightening. But as I throw away stuff, I'll keep the stories that go with them--where there are stories. If the thing doesn't have a story to go with it, clearly, it should have gone a long time ago.

Yes, I know, some time ago I did write a sentimental piece about how things were not just things. But wisdom does dawn. Sooner or later.