Babu called me from the bedroom.
“Come and watch this ‘Tidying up’ on the TV.”
There is nothing else for me to do, even if I have something to do, I am not interested in doing anything anymore, so I had no problem joining him.
A pretty Japanese girl, Marie Kondo, the consultant of ‘tidying up’ came to a house, which was a mess due to too many items scattered all around the place. The camera pans left and, in the frame, comes a shot of a particularly untidy room. I thought to myself, “My home is nowhere near as bad.” Marie then assembled the family in the front room. She knelt down and told them, “You can join me. Before we start the tidying up of the home, first we have to give thanks- you can close your eyes, if you want to.”
She closed her eyes and made some humble gestures with her hands and started her vote of thanks.
Her movements were extremely graceful.
She touched the floor and said.
“Thank you for allowing us to live in here. Thank you for giving us protection and shelter all these years. Thank you for sharing all our moments, feelings, conversations and everything all these years.”
My eyes welled up. One way or the other, I have developed the same feelings towards my home, in which I lived for more than 32 years in.
I still remember the first day all of us walked in to the house, no furniture, no beds, nothing, except the lunch I packed. But we were so happy. We went from one room to the other, exploring. We sat on the floor and ate our lunch.
I loved every nook and cranny and corner of my new home.
We loved, fought, consoled, cried, saw our kids grow up, get married, grandkids born, partied, saw death, and so much more.
Items I have bought and collected all these years, have almost filled up my house. The clothes I bought years ago are still in my cuboard, but they don’t fit me. The quality of the clothes we get in US are very high… the color never fades, they never shrink or tear! Unless I hand them down to somebody, I never throw away old clothes. Even if they are old fashioned, when I wear some of them, people still compliment me. Once in a while, however, I put some of them in the donation boxes.
I’ve owned the same Oyster mixer, since my earliest days. One day it stopped working, because it overheated. Babu told me to throw it away, but I didn’t want to. Being an electrical engineer, I was sure there would be some safety installation inside it to prevent it from fire hazard, so I kept it. When I finally got the proper screw driver, I opened it. Lo and behold, there was a blown fuse looking me right in the eye! I took the fuse out and kept it inside my handbag for quite sometime, trying to find the same fuse. I looked and looked, but I couldn’t find one. So the broken mixer was still trapped in my cupboard, and the blown fuse was inside my handbag. This is the story of my life !
I know I have a problem. I have to throw out some of the stuff to clean up my home, but when I take any of them to throw them out, all my memories behind it will wake up to haunt me.
My talking Furby stopped talking long time ago. It sleeps all the time. Its eyes are closed when we don’t talk to each other. Now it stopped working, Furby’s eyes are always wide open. How can I throw it out? I changed all the batteries, still it didn’t work. My cherished possession was presented to me by my second son, Pappi. When it first came in the market, it was expensive, so I was surprised to get one. I used to talk to it all the time, enjoying its company. Then, after a while, I became fed up with talking to my Furby. The exciting prospect of getting a new toy soon wore off, and I soon became bored. I thought that if I bought another Furby, they would start their conversation each other. But it didn’t happen.
My Furby is still on my countertop.
The place where I lived was a very small town. During summer, the usual pass-time of the people were garage sales. Some will sell their trash in the garage sales, others will come and collect and make them as valuable possessions in their home. Most of the weekends there will be garage sales at different houses, details of which will be published in the local newspapers. I liked to go for garage sales. Mainly I bought old knives which I might sharpen at home and use it or give to my friends or relatives. Corniware dishes I also bought. Then one day I stopped going to garage sales, since Babu insisted why should we collect other people’s trash?
I never used any of the Corniware dishes because most of them were odd and didn’t match my dinner sets, but still they were left in the cupboard.
My house was not as bad as the one I saw on TV.
I was lazy to do the tidying up. I thought, only few more years… when I die, my kids will come to tidy up my home. They will throw away all the junk they don’t like to keep. They don’t have memories deep like mine to haunt them not allowing them to throw away.
Marie asked them to pile up all their clothes in each room where they were hung. She took one at a time and asked the lady of the house whether to keep or to throw away.
If it is to keep, to keep them as a pile, but if it is to throw away, take it in the hand and thank it for its long service and the pleasure it has given, put it in another pile to throw away.
For Marie, the home, the clothes and all the other stuff which served you one time or the other have a soul. I felt the soul of my home. I didn’t want it to hear the details of putting it up on the market, when the Realtor came to discuss it. I didnt want to show my depressed inner self. Babu and I went outside to the driveway, to have a private discussion with the Realtor. Looking back at the house, I felt like it is listening intently to our conversation. I felt guilty for hiding it from my best friend of 32 years. I really don’t want to leave you.
I thought I will die one day when it is my time, then my kids will come for the funeral. Afterwards, they will sort out through all my possessions and throw away most of them, making fun of me and commenting in between “what a hoarder our mother was”!
We plan a lot, but most of our plans need not come true as we wish for. I never thought, I will ever move from this home where I lived for so long. Especially at the age of 70, who will move, to a place other than old people’s home?
But we are moving faraway from this small town to the suburbs of a big city. I am very much overwhelmed: I like it, but not like it! We are going to live near our elder son, Aby and family.
Here I knew all my neighbors. They are fantastic. If I need, they are there to help me. But normally we don’t bother them and they don’t bother us. More than two of my neighbors told me at different times, “we are happy when we see the light in your bedroom to know that you are there! When you are not there it is all dark!”
I will miss my neighbors. They were a part of my life. They saw the changes in my family, my children growing up, their graduation, their marriage, the new additions of our grandkids…
Don’t worry friends, you are in my prayers, I will keep in touch with you, always. Change isn’t always so bad, tydying up might be good for me? I’ll keep you updated…