Wednesday, 3 July 2013

The Collector Of Broken Things

I remember my days as a child - a time of brightly coloured walls - through fading memories in sepia.

I'm a collector. It's not a hobby as much as a neurotic disorder. Throughout life, I've been a victim of overflowing cupboards and jam-packed drawers, simply because I cannot throw stuff away. I think it's because I cannot completely dissociate an object from the memory it is linked to. If I throw something away, it feels like I'm throwing away an event of my past; like I'm allowing it to be forgotten. And that is very depressing indeed.

Today I was rummaging through my almirah grimly, preparing to, in the worst case, empty it out, having submitted to the latest ultimatum that mom issued. A bittersweet search ensued, as I tried salvaging memories which were so desperately trying to run away from me forever.

I performed my usual trick of shifting stuff from one drawer to the next, from one unreachable crevice of the shelf to another spot where it would stay hidden for a few more months. The reasoning behind my absurd actions is something which eludes me - as the need to look at these objects and reminisce about the past never arises, unless I'm told to throw them away.

But every time I look at lucky pencils from historical examinations, torn-up tickets and broken relics of first-dates, certificates which will never be useful to me anymore, drawings and sketches from kindergarten, nearly-unidentifiable faded photographs, and birthday presents from the last decade, I am filled with a sadness - a sadness which tells me that these times will never come again; that these useless objects are the only things which preserve these spectacular memories.

And when I look at the wall, just behind the fridge, I notice the spot where I once used to stand-up upright as my brother measured my height with his Nataraj HB pencil. This was done ceremoniously week-after-week until I finally stopped growing, or perhaps until that one-week when we forgot. And then, I remember that corner of the wall where he squirted pomegranate juice, because the fruit amused him.

Even the thought of leaving this home alarms me, for it is not just a home, but a cauldron of memories.

Because without these objects, I will only be left with brightly coloured memories of fading walls in sepia.