When my sister Padmini, read my LBC post “The Inessential Belongings That We Collect”, she sent me an article that she wrote for an Indian magazine for women, Eves Touch. She inevitably writes the last page for that monthly magazine and this article appeared some time ago. As a counterpoint to my own attitude and the others who wrote on similar lines, this makes interesting reading.
“Why do we clutter up our lives? Why can’t we compact our living and lifestyles? Is it necessary to keep adding things to keep up with what our peers think should be an integral part of our life?
Morrie in “Tuesdays with Morrie”, by Mitch Albom has this to say:
“The truth is, you don’t get satisfaction from those things. You know what really gives you satisfaction? …Offering others what you have to give.”
Morrie says this during the eighth Tuesday when he and Mitch discuss money. “…those things”, to which Morrie is referring, are money and materialistic possessions. He feels that living a full life and being satisfied means offering other people what we each have to give. By this Morrie means giving your time and concern to others. He several examples such as playing cards with an elderly person in a hospital and donating some time to teach a skill at the senior center. Morrie feels that there are so many people who are in need of some compassion and if we all offer some time to give it, we will find a new respect for ourselves. He states that devoting ourselves to loving others, and to the community gives us purpose and meaning.
From what I know of Padmini and her various activities, I can honestly say that she is a giver par excellence, in the sense that Morrie intends. That however does not mean that she will give away her “things”. Just read what she has to say.
“My home is full of furniture to accommodate the once-in-a-way deluge of visitors. Some pieces I have had for many years, several I am attached to sentimentally, a few I think add class to my lifestyle and the rest I don’t know how to get rid off.
In my kitchen I have collected pressure cookers, utensils, cutlery, crockery and linen out of which only 20% are used. I have had to set up homes from scratch many times, therefore the duplication. I remain under the impression that I have given away stuff until I get into a spring cleaning mood and end up asking myself, ‘Good Heavens what am I doing with all this!’
My cupboards are full of clothes that I wear once or twice in a year. The intention is not to repeat an outfit at different occasions with the same crowd. You see, I don’t keep a record of what I wear at functions and funnily somebody commented that I wore the same sari at the wedding receptions of both my kids! Again sentiment, seasons and comfort levels dictate the presence of a garment in my closet.
My showcases are full of curios, interesting and nostalgic collections—at least to me. I guess I really don’t look at them until somebody walks in and comments on a piece. Books though tend to multiply, duplicate and occupy space thanks to my husband’s claim that he may consult them at some time or the other. The duplication occurs when it is almost impossible to locate a book when needed! Let’s just not talk about my attics, okay!
All this does not stop me from wanting, needing, longing and aspiring for things. I can blame the sales, say that I got it cheap or justify that acquisition saying that there are no second chances. It could be anything: a car, a piece of jewellery, a new sofa set, a Lazyboy, a new bathroom, floor or walls or a new place to visit.
So, I add more and more to my being, to my existence. I want more and more for my children, for my family and for myself. I don’t know if it will stop or ever wonder if my wishes are the same as what others want for themselves.
Will I ever say enough? Yes, only at a meal will I be able to say—not any more, please. That too, just for that meal!”
On similar lines, my friend Anil had this to say in my post: “Ramana, after you have cleaned up your house, please let me know. An air ticket will be on its way for you to come and preside over some cleaning process in our house.
Over 30 years in the Army, postings to 36 new places and because of inherited genes of saving, storing and or re-cycling anything & everything we now occupy every square mm in the house.
You may require a month plus. Please help.”
It may amuse you to read my response to that cry for help!
I bet that these two outpourings ring bells in some hearts among my readers. Want to come out of the closet and share? Do feel free.