“Mera kuchh saamaan tumhaare pas padaa hai
Saavan ke kuchh bhige bhige din rakhe hain
Aur mere ik khat mai liptee raat padee hai
Woh rat bujhaa do, mera woh saamaan lautaa do” – Sampooran Singh “Gulzar”
[Some of my baggage remains with you
A few moist monsoon days left lying (with you)
And the night that lies swaddled in my one of my letters
Snuff out that night, relinquish my things (to me)]
Once again “spring cleaning” time is here. It is open season to get rid of anything and everything. Clothes in the closet, ties, shoes in racks, pots and pans in the kitchen drawers, mismatched cutlery, chipped crockery, faded bed sheets and towels, books and CDs (do they still exist in this age of iTunes?), old tax returns and bank statements.
I rouse myself on a Saturday morning and start with my closet. This shirt must go, as it is now faded and cannot be worn anymore as a dress shirt. Although the cuffs and collar are frayed surely I could wear it a few more times for casual dressing, as it is so soft and comfortable. And that tie, which I bought in London, I can’t possibly throw that out; may be it could be passed on to someone who values good things.
A feeble attempt is made instead, to sort out old bank and credit card statements; hydro, water and cable bills; miscellaneous receipts and tax returns going back to when we first landed in Canada two decades ago. I make separate piles – those that can be shredded, ones that need to be read again in case action is required and some that should be saved for destruction later. My wife reminds me yet again, to get rid of the three large cartons containing “important files” that have traveled with us from India to the Middle East and on to Canada, spanning over 30 years. I continue to hold them, convinced that the training notes from the start of my banking career might come in handy even if I have not once opened these cartons!
My wife has dresses that she has either grown out of and has aspirations to fit back into, or pieces that have “sentimental value”, shoes and bags that match outfits, as do an assortment of spring, winter, fall coats. She periodically sorts them, takes one full black Glad garbage bag out for donating to an agency and transfers stuff left over to another closet.
It has been several years since our son and daughter graduated. However, tomes on economic and marketing theories, literary anthologies, dictionaries (in this age of Google and online thesaurus?), scrapbooks and annual School Books are still preserved in our basement. Our son’s shoes collection and a few thousand music records take up entire floor-to-ceiling racks lined up around the basement walls. We are not allowed to touch them, as they “have to check them out” before getting rid of anything. “Just leave them for now”.
And now our two granddaughters have marked off their “territory” in the basement corner that continues to expand to accommodate their arts, craft materials, tiny desks, dolls and their prams, princess dresses and tiaras and other “oh, so cute” stuff. The older one is starting to use MY shelf space for her books and checks out if I have moved any of her titles since she last visited us. I have no doubt the younger one will also muscle her way eventually.
Our older granddaughter and my wife have a ritualistic visit to Chapters and the local Dollar Store each time she comes to our place for a “sleepover”. They bought a few “gems”, notepads, coloring pens and other “cool stuff” last weekend and had a wonderful time on Saturday evening using these materials. As our granddaughter was going back home on Sunday my wife gave her the prized possessions to take back with her. “Nani”, the five years old admonished my wife with a grave expression, “My Mummy says you cannot bring home any more junk as we already have too much rubbish. Leave it at Nani’s house”. At some stage, life will surely come a full cycle.