IN AN ENVELOPE …

To be honest with you all, I am not a materialistic person. Having said that, I have certain gifts, handwritten letters and memento’s which are dear to me. The top two things I really love out of those are: a letter written by my Mom when I was studying in a hostel, the second one is a mechanical keyboard I received. Apart from these, there is something else that is really close to me.

A few years ago, I topped the public examinations. Though I stood first in our school district, it secured me a rank in the top ten in our state. Every year my parent’s organization had sports events and during the award ceremony they also give away academic excellence awards. Our family was traveling out of town during the event, so, I could not attend the award ceremony. After we came back from our trip, my father returned from the office with an envelope.

Aastha, come here. Here is what they had to give you on the ceremony day. Take it.”. It was a white coloured envelope just like the ones we have at offices and banks. I was expecting a memento or a certificate of excellence. I eagerly opened the envelope to find a 500 Rupee note. 500 Rupee note was newly introduced then, and I was happy to have one with me. I kept the envelope in the drawer chest of my reading table. Often, I used to take out the note and keep staring at it.

It was not my first salary. It was not a gift or pocket money I received. It was a recognition of my academic knowledge and that mattered to me. A few months later, my father asked me if I would want the money to be deposited in the bank. I did not agree to that. Whenever I used to feel sad, disturbed or hurt, the only thing I do is to stare at that note. It served as an inspiration for me for many years. It was along with me when I left home for hostel, after that when I relocated to Hyderabad for my job. I was staying as a paying guest back then and usually, they aren’t secure places, so, I may lose it. I brought it back home when I came for holidays. My father noticed the note in the envelope I was holding in my hand… “You have your own salary account now, maybe it’s time to deposit it“. said he..

It was never money for me. Of course, 500 rupees for a 12-year-old matters. It can buy lot of chocolates, books, oil-painting kit, a dress or shoes of my liking. I never chose to spend that money. The respect I have for that 500 rupee note never changed even after I started earning thousands of rupees. I have seen and had many 500 rupee notes, but none gave me the same kick as that note. In the year of 2016 Indian government has banned all higher denomination notes. I have none to deposit back, but my dad being my dad had to ask me if I have notes to deposit. I replied to him that I don’t have any… He then reminded me of that 500 rupee note in the envelope. We had a good laugh. I totally forgot about that note, though several thoughts were rolling over my mind, I requested him not to deposit that note.

If I would have deposited that note, it would have had a value of 500, but I didn’t. Some times I wonder if that was turned into money, would it have helped someone. I don’t know, I don’t know for sure. I could not let go off that note. Even today, when I hold that note in my hand, the feeling is exactly same. It’s much more than nostalgia.

THE REFLECTION OF LOVE

My faded wrist watch – the letter from my friend – a particular Ten rupee note – Nokia 1200 basic phone – hand-made woolen Doll – my broken Acer laptop – a torn English Bible and my collection of books. Yes, these are some of the things on earth, I love the most and would never like to share with anyone. I would never hesitate to tag them #myproperty! Especially, the wristwatch, the letter and the ten rupee note.

It’s been 6yrs, I love to wear the same old faded watch every day, though I have two other brand – new more expensive watches. It is the first gift I received at my first workplace. At times, I won’t hesitate to take 5/- loan from someone rather than spending that particular 10/- note in my wallet because it is a gift from someone!

One of the principles I adopted in my life is – NEVER COMPROMISE WITH YOUR GIFTS. Because the gift is always the expression of our love for someone and LOVE is the greatest of all godly characters.

God loves us & has engraved His love on our hearts to reflect it through our life on earth. In one line, “WE ARE THE LOVE LETTERS OF GOD”.   

On 2nd January evening, my friend’s grandmother gifted me a small hand-made woolen doll which she made for me and said, ‘Son, I don’t know whether I will be alive to see your kids, this is a small gift for your first child. Please accept it and remember me’. The doll she gifted may not look that fancy like the toys from Hamleys store but the LOVE, the EMOTIONS and her THOUGHTS for me wrapped in the doll is heavenly. I will never forget that emotional moment, the smile of her face, the love sparkling through her eyes and her words for me, they are honest and beautiful.       

One of my secret hobbies is the collection and storing of memories. Often, when I feel lonely I browse those lifeless pieces of stuff, I see the pictures of my family and my two best friends and read our old chat histories. Lifeless things are often the reflection of love and relationship we have with someone. It not only reflects their love but also reminds us to LOVE them despite all hurts.

We express our love once but the memory reflects it eternally!

I HAVE A MINI STATIONERY STORE…

Last year in December, Saakshi asked me, “Bhaiya, what can I gift you in the New Year.” I discouraged her saying I don’t need anything but she kept on insisting me like a kid as usual. Finally, I asked her to gift me an Organizer. And now I have that new one when I still have a nice pocket size diary gifted by Rajnandini couple of years back.

Yeah, I have a weakness towards all kinds of stationeries especially diaries, notebooks, stick notes, writing pads and different types of pens. I have these things stored with me for years whether I use them or not… I keep them with me. Everytime my wife sees them and wants them to throw away, I ask her not to do anything like that. If you check my diaries there will be many pages unused yet I don’t throw them away.

I have felt, I have a keen attachment or interest in those plain sheets of papers either loose ones or in the form of a notebook and diary. I don’t like to write something in a used sheet but in a sheet which nothing has been written. Plain sheets of papers in a diary or notebook inspire me to write something new, something interesting, something very different. They motivate me to jot down a Bible Sermon preached in the church, they induce the desire to note down something that I feel important.

I keep a number of different broken and usable as well as unusable pens in a small bag. Though I am not sure whether I will find them right away if I am asked to show them. But I store, keep and preserve them. 

Apart from diaries, notebooks and pens I have bookmarks, small cards, clips, envelopes, stickers, mugs, designer candles, small plastic or tin boxes, plastic spoons, and knives etc., with me. I don’t know why stationeries allure me so much to them. I just love their shapes, sizes, and colours and thus I just store them with me. I don’t have a habit of collecting them regularly but whenever something I like I keep them for years in my mini stationery store (not so organized as shown in the featured pic – collected from Google Inc.)

There are many other things that I keep as a memory. I never give away any gifts that I receive from my loved ones. I literally treasure them even if they are broken and unusable. My this attitude reminds me one of God’s characters which is mentioned in the Bible:

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

He keeps us safe and sound and takes care of us even when we are so sinful and unusable for Him at times. He never forgets to restore us, preserve us and protect us. 

Stay Blessed!

ATTACHED TO MY MEMENTOS

Preserving souvenirs has always been my habit since teenage. I preserved every letter that I used to receive. For any chocolate that was gifted to me,  I used to preserve the wrapper. My diary notes, my to-do lists, greeting cards, newspaper articles that I liked, magazines… the list is endless. I still have the special edition of the newspaper on the Golden Jubilee of our nation’s Independence Day.  I even have the wake-up notes that I used to put up on my room’s door for my parents to wake me up as I used to study till late night. From small pebbles with a different appearance that I got from a couple of places to Deodar leaves I brought from Patnitop,  I have a lot of items in my memento folder. Years later, when I grew up, I started collecting the restaurant bills, especially when I ate with my husband before marriage. And now when I have kids, my focus has shifted to them as I have preserved their clamps from umbilical cords,  their first sippers, first birthday candles, milk teeth, scribblings, drawings, etc.

My memento folder is precious to me and yes I am attached to it,  though not too emotional about it simultaneously. I just love keeping them and feel great on having a look at those things after ages. Yes,  I was too emotional earlier for my stuff, but my thinking skewed a bit because of my husband. He says one shouldn’t be emotionally attached to non-living things as they are temporary. So,  your first bike, car, or house isn’t going to be forever with you, or you are not going to stick with those forever.

Children also get attached to their toys. There is one special toy which they will tag along wherever they go. But,  as they grow up, they develop new interests and forget about those special toys. We should also learn from kids and shouldn’t be too attached to non-living things. Because at the end people matter,  not material things.

I KEEP COUNTING

What would you call a person who gets upset at the simplest things like losing a single spoon from the cutlery set or a porcelain plate crashing to pieces? Emotional or Maniac?  I think the second one fits the bill better. And I fall into the second category 🙈.  Such trivial things could upset me, sometimes to an extent that I nag my partner to grant me the permission of shopping again😁.  Because a set shouldn’t be disturbed – as if the other spoons are going to ask me about their lost relatives 😂😂.

Over the years I have started letting down my hair and not to react so much to a lost spoon or spoiled mat, courtesy: Kids. They have taught me “Mom why to worry about a mere mat when you have spoiled mattress there” 😂😂.  I have started taking things lying down and that’s good for my blood pressure 😂).

Well, that was all in light vein. If there is someTHING(s) that really moves me emotionally, that happens to be Photographs, for there are numerous memories associated with them. And since I am from the generation of camera and a roll, my memories span about two decades 😂😂.

What Memories? How funny we used to look, how awful our fashion sense used to be, what games we used to play, our favourite hangout, our hideout, fractured bones, medals won, fights ensued, our secrets, Mom’s delicacies,  Dad’s affection, first crush, first job, marriage, kids … I can go on.

Photographs are my escape to my past, my moments – moments that I have enjoyed but can’t relive, moments that I want to treasure for life. Photographs are precious to me (especially the ones taken with a camera because once lost can’t be retrieved from the cloud 😂😂), they relax me and spread a happy curve on my face.

My habit of counting and worrying over spoons, glasses, clothes might die a silent death someday but I can’t stop counting the moments I cherished and memories I made with my family, my siblings, my friends, my kids. Photographs make it possible for me.

NOTE: Guard your photographs well. If jewellery is lost you can get the exact or even a better model but if photographs are lost you won’t get the exact moment recreated, IMPOSSIBLE!

MY LOVE FOR YOU IS STILL THE SAME

We all know attachment is the fondness towards someone or something. This occupies the soft corner of our heart because it binds us to a person or a thing or maybe a place. The same has happened to me also.

I am attached to so many inanimate things in my life but in this post, I’ll be talking about the most favorite of them. One is Patna, my beloved city and the other is a book.

Patna is the place where I was born. Though it’s not my native place, I have an unexplained love for this place. I love Patna since when it was not so developed. The roads were not so smooth. Rainy seasons meant water logging and no schools. There were no shopping malls and flyovers. During that time, weekends meant having fun at the science center and going round and round around the historic Golghar. The zoo was our monthly picnic spot. Sunday mornings were dedicated to the famous jalebi of Hanuman Nagar. And every year during Chhath Puja, we would witness the beauty of Patna and the Ganga Ghats. Everything is still the same with development in addition to it. The modern Patna is still so beautiful. It still has the essence of the ‘Litti Chokha’, ‘Shalimar k Gulab Jamun’, ‘NIT Ghat ki Masala Chai’ and ‘Sattu ka Paratha’. The Morya Lok Complex and the Gandhi Maidan are the same as they were years back. The city has so much love. I know people will say, Patna is not a metropolitan city and the traffic sucks. But let me tell you, no other place can be like Patna.

Now, I don’t live in Patna but my heart does. Even if I travel across the world and get a chance to live in a different country, my heart would long for Patna. Here is one line written by me, that I would love to share,

“When I looked back, I saw it was still the same.
My love for Patna!”

One day I was walking down the streets when my eyes caught the sight of a book. It was “love stories that touched my heart” edited by Ravinder Singh. The cover of the book was faded but I felt it is something I shouldn’t miss. In no time, I became the proud owner of this book. I decided to read the book but in a different way. I decided I would be reading only one story in a day. The book is not about fantasy love stories. Those are heart-warming and moving stories. The stories were selected after a national contest and were published in this book. Every story says love perseveres and is kind. The book teaches you, no matter what happens, you have to trust yourself and follow your heart.

The best thing about the book is: it contains the stories penned by different writers. Their stories are worth reading. When you will read the book, you will learn, though love is only a four-letter long word but it is so powerful that it motivates you to conquer your fears and accomplish your dreams.

Right now I am far from both of them and I miss them a lot. Inanimate things are sometimes so dear to us, that we consider them as an integral part of our life. A time may come when you will sound different to the world, but when you will be with the beloved things of yours, you will be ‘you’. And this is the beauty about these things which never fades.

YOUR THINGS AND YOU

Ever clung to that old rugged jacket of yours every year when it was time for the annual disposal of ‘things you know you would never use again’? Or an old pair of shoes or that grand old wristwatch of years before?

You are not alone!

Yes, most of us are attached to things in our lives that we don’t wish to part with. Though the phenomenon of attachment as such starts from the pre-natal stage itself (attachment with the mother), in this article I am focussing on attachment with inanimate objects.

Many of us wouldn’t have paid a serious thought to this aspect of our lives. Maybe we have considered it too casual to spare a thought about it. But, actions spell more than mere overt behaviour.

Let’s explore some of the reasons for attachment to inanimate objects.

Memories – I treasure things that I receive from people, irrespective of how low or how high the price tag may read. Those things may be mere showpieces or objects of utility. And, I have a tough time discarding such things after a while. Even things like bookmarks, calendars, those small handmade greeting cards exchanged in school days – are my treasures. They bring a smile to my face. The reason why I consider them priceless and of more value than expensive or branded stuff is the memory of the person or situation attached to it.

On my study table sits a table-clock worth INR 30. It was gifted on my birthday almost twelve to thirteen years ago during my undergraduate studies by a  batchmate. It is precious to me! The reason being that the giver came from a not-so-well-off economic background where even sparing INR 30 would have meant that she cut some of her personal expenses. Though I have the means to buy a better-looking table-clock to adorn my table, I won’t be going in for a replacement.

Memories make us hold on to things. Letting go of certain things would mean discarding the memories attached to them.

Emotions – Inanimate objects, though lack the ability to elicit emotions, have emotions attached with them. This is probably why the first thing that most couples do after a break-up is to return the gifts received during the phase of a relationship. Certain objects make us cry, while certain others make us laugh. For some people, there are things that remind them of an injustice done and so they seem to have a sense of attachment to such objects to keep alive the emotions associated with the wrongdoing.

Security – We must have come across children holding onto their stuffed toys while sleeping. Some children carry their toys with them at all points of time. For children, this attachment is a sense of security. Though all children show this behaviour, it is seen more in children belonging to single-parent families, families where both parents are employed and are not able to spend much time with their children, families having an air of tension at all times and in autistic children. Attachment to a toy or a pillow gives a sense of comfort and security to the tender minds. However, if such a thing is observed in adults, it’s time for therapeutic intervention.

Obsession – Obsessive attachment means showing an irrational fondness for an object. Obsession over things leads to mindless hoarding – especially when there are multiple things that one is obsessed about. Obsessive attachment with things goes beyond a simple desire to possess. It is a subtle indicator of an underlying trait of selfishness, covetousness and a desire to flaunt. If any possession of yours is lying unused completely out of the radar of your memory for more than five years, it’s time for you to let go of it. If you have not remembered it being with you all five years, means there are less chances that you actually need it.

Attachment for inanimate things may be because of any reason. But, the bottom line is that there is an earthly tug in most of us. Knowing and reminding ourselves that all matter is transitory and that we humans are mere sojourners on planet earth is something that would help us shed the pull of material attachment to things and turn our focus to concerns of a higher order.

“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” – The Bible