Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Story of Stuff

It was nothing less than a paradigm shift for us. We entered our Kolkata home with just 2 chairs , 3 what-nots and 3 book racks in it . We left it yesterday with only these articles….and before I forget to mention, in between there were 56 cartons of what can generally termed as ‘stuff’ created in last 4 years and which was sent with movers and packers yesterday morning. It was unbelievable. How and when we managed to surround ourselves with so much clutter. While packing I found half a dozen picture frames of all sizes , about 10 pen set (never used) , bed sheets we didn’t recall buying, books we never read and even cutlery sets and silver bowls for which we have no use in decades . To begin with we had a big house and nothing to fill it with and today we desperately hope to get a bigger house to fit in our ‘stuff’ . The best part about this stuff is that one never realizes when it is growing around you and one fine day, when you feel it is time to clear up the clutter , each article looks so useful and so beautiful.
Inspired by a very thought provoking documentary narrated by Anne Leonard called ‘The story of Stuff’ my friend Rani has stopped buying things…specially clothes. I admire her determination but feel weak at heart whenever I find myself surrounded by beautiful things in a store. My wishlist of articles to get never gets smaller. In fact I thank God that I don’t have enough money to buy all the things I desire to get or else the situation would have been worse. Shopping undoubtedly is a panacea for many a ills . It can cure boredom, depression and even anger . It calms down the mind and distract attention like magic. But the outcome of such shopping sprees is disastrous. I always end up buying things I don’t need . Long back my former boss gave us the a sane advice of not buying books to read them. He gave example of his own life where he has so far donated about 10000 books as he was unable to carry the load from one transfer to another. But with transfer veterans like me this sounds rather funny. Well, if you count all the times I had to shift my belongings since childhood , it would be not less than 12. And we really liked ‘to carry our world with us’ on these transfers. Papa’s favorite cacti and mummy’s carefully grown pots included. I recall these incidents (much to the amusement of my husband) that truck was stopped midway to water the plants . We did manage well despite absence of professional movers and packers in those days. Since packing was mostly done by either family members or by domestic helps, it was an arduous exercise involving decision of what to go where , making lists(in two copies) for each box and numbering of boxes. For all you know the unpacking may take a while(due to non availability of Government quarters) and you may have to hunt for one particular item in between. But despite these precautions , true to the Murphy’s law of Packing , the item you need most urgently was always in the last box in the most inaccessible corner. These boxes(mostly wooden) were a permanent feature of our garages during the period of our stay at a place. They will be again called for when the next transfer was announced . But even with those amateur techniques there were very few casualties of packing-unpacking . Now imagine,talking of leaving books behind....I still have my comics in tact with me after 7-8 shifting since the days I read them last . Even the china and ceramics in my parents house are transfer veterans …and still in tact .
The story of our stuff in this present transfer episode is still only half told. The unpacking is yet to start and I can foresee all the vacant corners and the shining floor tiles disappearing under the furniture .But then this is the fun of transfers- it gives you an opportunity to rearrange your world .

3 comments:

Advait said...

Hi gurumata,

"The Story of Stuff" is another delightful note ... u know what that's the reason I have not yet been able to set up a 'grihasti' ... I hate travelling ... and I hate travelling with STUFF even more ... A mobike a fridge and a tv ... all three worldly possessions I have ... were purchased by my wife ... thankfully ...

Oh, by the way, thanks for reminding me that I need to buy a washing machine ... :)

Advait said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Atoorva said...

Now that I have unpacked and the 'stuff' has reached its new destination without any damage....I think you do need this stuff to make a life. I mean your belongings are what makes the magical difference....have you ever felt 'hotel sick' ? What is so great about 'my own bed', 'my own room' or 'my own bathroom' ....its the familiarity and that comes partially from these things only. :-) Do buy a washing machine at the earliest and a cloth hanger , an iron and few pins , a detergent box (with separate divisions for stain remover) and..........

PS: now you know how i collected this stuff..don't you ?