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

 

THE SELFIE MANIA

A couple of days back I read of a shocking incident that had happened in the October of 2014, in Italy. A female nurse was arrested for the murder of 38 victims. But what was more shocking was a disturbing photo seized by the police: a selfie the nurse took of herself (in her hospital scrubs) standing near the body of a recently deceased patient while smiling and making a thumbs-up gesture! The local prosecutor, aghast at the horrific nature of the evidence remarked, “In all my professional years of seeing shocking photos, there were few such as these.”

Sometime back, the Indian newspapers carried the story of a young lad who lost his life while taking a selfie on a railway track with a fast approaching train behind him! So sad. He didn’t live to share his daring act!

To make the mood of this article a bit lighter, how many of you have competed with family members and friends as to who can pout the best for a selfie?

Yes, the selfie trend has brought in with it pouty poses (horns, winks and V-signs were already there before). Be it alone or with a group of friends, to pout for a selfie is the in-thing. Sounds cool!

While clicking selfies for harmless fun captures good moments, an overdose of ‘taking selfies’ is really something to worry about.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has officially declared taking ‘selfies’ a mental disorder. The disorder is named ‘selfitis’ and is defined as the obsessive compulsive desire to take photos of one’s self and post them on social media as a way to make up for the lack of self-esteem and to fill a gap in intimacy.

According to APA, there are three levels of the disorder:

  • Borderline selfitis – taking photos of one’s self at least three times a day but not posting them on social media
  • Acute selfitis – taking photos of one’s self at least three times a day and posting each of the photos on social media
  • Chronic selfitis – Uncontrollable urge to take photos of one’s self round the clock and posting the photos on social media more than six times a day

Well well, if you are not in any of these three categories, you are sort of safe. But yes, the separating line is not impermeable!

When I started taking selfies, I really had to learn the right way to incline the camera at the right angle, place the finger at the right postion for the click, take a proper pose with the background in mind, smile and then c..c..click… After the initial clumsiness, when I sort of got used to it (haven’t mastered it yet), I had the urge to take a couple of selfies after I reached my workplace early in the morning and then later when I was about to wind up for the day – just to compare how fresh I looked as I started the day and how worn out I looked as the workday came to an end. I generally never took selfies at other times. Neither did I post them in any social media site. On a few occasions, I shared a couple of good ones with friends and family.

But each day as I took those selfies at my workplace and looked at myself, I wondered why I was doing it. Wasn’t it making me focus more on ‘how I look’ rather than on ‘who I am’? Yes, indeed appearance is an integral part of who we are. However, I felt that clicking selfies is making me focus more on ‘the me’ and ‘the I’ and there was a danger of slipping into an obsession regarding one’s looks. So, no more selfies in the workplace for me!

An occasional selfie with a group of loved ones or at a scenic place of visit is definitely something to cherish. But when we become fixated with our own image, it does speak something more than just a picture.

Our feel-good factor should not rest merely with how we look externally – in our own eyes or in the eyes of others. It is definitely much more than that.

The story is told in Greek mythology about a hunter called Narcissus who was known for his beauty. Once he saw his own reflection in a pool and fell in love with it, not realizing that it was merely an image. Unable to leave the beauty of his reflection, Narcissus lost his will to live. He stared at his reflection until he died. Thus we have the origin of the term narcissism, a fixation with oneself and one’s physical appearance or public perception. And, several decades back, the APA classified one of the personality disorders as Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Some of you may feel that I am simply making a harmless selfie sound so terrifying. But, its important to remember that our gestures towards ourselves do convey a world load of meaning about our psychological state.

As I have stated before, an occasional selfie for a memory does not indicate psychological ill-health. Its only when we become obsessive about taking selfies every now and then, that it is something to worry about.

The need for appreciation, approval, acceptance, affirmation, self-esteem; a feeling of loneliness and depression steer one to find satisfaction in one’s own self. And these are the chief factors that unconsciously propel us to love or hate our own images.

The next time you incline your camera to click a selfie, do pause for a moment and ask yourself why are you about to take this selfie.