MEMORIES WERE MADE OF THESE
Today I decided that I would dump all my old belongings, of course it was my wife who took the decision. The decision did not include dumping each other and so you see we are still together. Well you may ask – why such a drastic decision? The truth is that we were hemmed in on all sides and it was becoming difficult to breathe. You may again ask why now and so suddenly? I have an answer to that also – the New Year was around the corner and that is when everyone resolves to make new resolutions. So what happens to all the resolutions you made the end of the previous year for this present year? Well dump them for you have no options left now as the time has run out.
We live in a small flat but sometimes the thought crosses my mind that we should have gone for a bigger one instead at the time when the prices were low. What’s the point cribbing about it now! Then, I had just enough money after taking a loan from the bank and some personal savings to buy the place where we now stay. When I had some more money the prices had also gone up making it impossible for me to think otherwise. But whenever someone asks me this question, I just say that the value of my house has appreciated more than thirty times in the last two and a half decades and proceed to point out that it was the only wise investment that I had made in my life (apart from my wife of course). What was once a deserted suburb has now become a hub of commercial activity and though I like calmer climes I have no choice, for even if I decide to sell this flat and more over to farther suburbs where it is possible to get the ‘quiet’ and a bigger place to stay (that sometimes crosses my mind), it wouldn’t be worth it for we are growing old and need to stay where we are closer to what we are used to. So you see I cannot dump my house. It stays along with my wife.
So you will ask me once again – why all this prattle, what did you ultimately decide to dump? That’s fair I guess because I started it all. Today my wife came to me when I was busy looking at my music collection – she said “Do you know there is a website called kuppathoti.com (literally translated in English as garbagebin.com)? They are ready to take whatever junk you have and you get paid for it. Why don’t you just check it up?”
As always when I am shaken out of my reverie it would take a few minutes for me to become conscious of my surroundings. The full import of what my wife had just said slowly descended into my consciousness. Strewn before me were the two hundred and odd music cassettes, a collection dating back three decades. My wife’s voice once again boomed – “So when was the last time you listened to any of them? I am sure that if you try to play them on that cassette player we have, you will hear only scraping sounds. Don’t you feel that we don’t need them anymore and can dump them along with the cassette player? After all you have told me that now you can download any music you want and store them on a pen drive or on the Ipod. It would save me a lot of bother dusting and storing the cassettes when I know they are not going to be used anymore.”
My wife is a sensible person and practical to the core. She of course never mentioned my huge stack of books or my LPs for she knew that was a touchy subject. Another consideration could have been that they were not as perishable as music cassettes and could always be considered as collector’s item.
I went back in time to a period when as a young man much into music and a newly found economic freedom (the aftermath of the first job) went about acquiring the things that I always wanted to have – a motor cycle, a stereo system, music LPs and ultimately a wife; for all practical purposes it was in that order. The others have been dumped while the last one endures.
I remember when back in school, I made my mother sit one day and tighten all my pants as with the advent of the Beatles and the aftermath of Elvis and Cliff Richards the drainpipes were the in thing. Of course we had our own desi James Bond, Jeetendra prancing and romancing his lady interest round and round every goddam tree in the vicinity in his skin tight pants in the movie Farz – the villains could never take the pants off him. I grew my hair long and believe me when I say it, for that is one thing that I have shed over the years and reached a stage where no change in hairstyle fashion would affect me. I remember my schoolmates especially my Anglo Indian friends who would spend considerable time styling their hair the Cliff Richard way – comb all the hair (properly oiled so that they stay in place) back over the head and then with a flick of the comb pull the front portion and make it dangle over their forehead; after all Cliff was an Anglo born in India. My head is now absolute and can never become obsolete. But came another period when the drainpipes gave way to bell bottoms. That was more difficult for you could never convert your drainpipes to bell bottoms, you had to stitch new pants and that cost. Well you had no choice but to fall in with the crowd. In the wedding reception photograph I can be seen fully suited with bell bottomed pants. The more it waved in the wind the more you were with the Joneses. After all it was Amitabh Bachhan who really set the trend with his long legs, the bell bottoms really swayed along with the audience every time he delivered a dialogue or kicked the villain. But I have a sneaky feeling that the bell bottoms were invented to cover long and skinny legs. Imagine a short guy wearing them, there will be no bottom only a bell. The coat, I never wore after that. Years later whenever there was a chill in the air my wife would dig it out for me to wear. I did wear it but never ventured out. This went on till I developed broader shoulders and some muscular structure (believe me once again when I say this). The only way I could insert my hands inside the sleeves was the back in front position. The wedding suit was preserved till the time our marriage was confirmed strong enough to dump it. Oops! The suit I mean. The moral of the story is that we dump our clothes ever so often to keep in tune with the changes in our perception of how we should present ourselves to the discerning eyes of the beholder. Again I have to clarify that this does not include all the times we dump our clothes when we go to the loo or to have a bath or to bed (Oops! There I go again. Pardon me). Well to cut the story about my clothes short, my wife said to me “your cupboard is stacked with clothes you don’t wear at all. You need only jeans T-shirts and Kurtas nowadays and of course shorts when you are at home. Why do you still keep all those branded full sleeve shirts and ties, the remnants of your working days? You are never going to be called for an interview or given a job any more. In fact you do not need anything more than shorts since you are mostly at home sitting in front of your latest paramour (She has a point when she says - why should we call a laptop a laptop when now there is so much written about the hazards of keeping it on your lap”. Of course I never replied, keeping what I wanted to say to myself – anything on a lap is hazardous – Oops! ---). Well ultimately I decided to abide by what has been said by Gita (hey I meant the Bhagavad Gita) – shed all attachments and proceed on towards realizing the self. I took the first step today, I cleaned out my cupboard – two thirds of it, and my wife was happy. She did not give up “Well tomorrow ring up Udhavum Karangal – Helping Hands and ask them to pick it up. We can at least finish the year with a good deed and start the next on a clean slate”. Tomorrow I shall say ‘The deed is done’.
I joined the club of smart people a few days ago. Don’t get the idea that I was a dumb ass all along and somehow enlightenment dawned on me and I became smart. I was along happy leading the unsmart life till now. It was simple and there were no additional demands on my slowly deteriorating mental faculties. Well, all that changed when my daughter bought me a new mobile phone after severely reprimanding me for clinging on to my antique mobile which had been with me for nearly six years, served me well, survived many a fall and fitted into my pockets smugly without any evident protuberances. “It’s time you got out of being an antique yourself. This is called a smart phone and it will help you keep upto date with what is happening around even when you are on the move”.
“You mean to say that I shall become smart if I have this? I think I have been smart enough till now and that will do”.
Well, what can one say about daughters! They always have their way in the end. So now I have a smart phone and I have been receiving complaints from my friends asking me as to why I keep cutting off their calls – you see I realized later that I have been swiping the wrong way. Well in the end I have now dumped my old mobile. But I did not throw it away. It has gone into that pile of other things I have been accumulating over the years – older mobiles, old cameras, watches, spectacles and pens. Well they stay for now. The day for dumping them may not be far off.
So now can you guess why I titled this ‘Memories were made of these’ and not ‘are’ made of these? These things have been dumped and so have your memories along with them. And then one day it shall happen – You get dumped.