Saturday, November 19, 2011

Just in case

I was never a Boy Scout. Of course that’s obvious because I'm not a boy. But I was never a Girl Guide either. In high school I was in the NCC but that’s another story, one which I might tell someday.

You know the Boys Scout motto is “Be Prepared”, right? (I personally think Lord Baden-Powell had decided on the motto after his name. B-P. B P). Well, Scout or no Scout, I like being prepared. Anything can happen to anyone at any time. Which is why you will find in my bag, among other things, a bunch of safety pins, a wad of tissues, a few pens, a notepad, keys, various medicines including Zandu balm, two handkerchiefs, purse, coin purse, lipstick and compact, hand lotion, earphones, comb and hairclips. Depending on the weather you might find an umbrella, scarf, a pair of shoes (I wear my rubber shoes when I leave the house and change in the office), cardigan, shawl and socks. Depending on the time of the month you might find, well you know what. Before leaving the house I always check to see I have everything I need. Keys. ID. Purse. Money. Shopping List. Phone is fully charged. I am pretty sure that on the day of the Second Coming when the heavenly bugle sounds I might say “Lord, please give me a minute to pack my toothbrush and moisturiser”.

The other day in the office we ordered mutton biryani from outside, and afterwards I collected the empty polythene covers, just in case we might need it some day. When someone laughed my reply was, “You never know!” I even keep a pair of chappals in my locker, for those days when you discover your current pair suddenly decides to quit without giving notice.

A closely related subject is hoarding things. I come from a family that never throws things away, “we might find a use for it someday”. Old clothes, shoes, textbooks, household stuff, all pile up in various corners of the house. I think one of my father’s textbooks from his college days still lies around somewhere. My school uniform when I was eight years old hasn’t left my possession. A songbook we made in our pre-teens could be found, if you have the time and the interest to dig through all the junk. When my sister was in middle school, in the late 80s, they learned knitting in their Work Experience class. For each design they would knit a small sample, about the size of the palm, and stick it on the page of a notebook, beside the knitting instructions. That book was a real treasure.

We have inherited this hoarding and being prepared business from my father, who is a champion hoarder (ask anyone in the locality) and worrier. People keep popping in the house to borrow tools or something which they thought we might have because nobody else have it. When I was in school I would be given extra pocket money, which was like, five rupees, in case we had to go for some function. Well, in those days we frequently went to this or that competition and we had to pay for our own bus fares. Never having to take the bus on normal days, that five rupees would make me feel so rich!

An old tin used for keeping knick-knacks (a missing button, a Band-Aid, a clothespin, a dead watch) has been in use for the last 22 years. We call it Bur Tawi. So if my mother asks me to get a needle from Bur Tawi I know exactly where to find it. Another strange thing about my family is, we give names to objects, more like identifiers. Fifteen years ago if my father asked if his “Chakai Khawrh Kawr” was clean we knew he was talking about his rust coloured pullover. If I say I am taking Pu Aitawna to bed no one pays me any attention because they know Pu Aitawna is an old black and white blanket. The greatest treasure was recently unearthed. It was in March of this year, I was at home when my mother excavated from the ruins an old X-Ray of my father’s. The X-Ray was dated January 1979. Can you beat that?


  1. ha ha..lal Aduh..Pu Aitawna!!!!! My grandparents and ur parents would have made great partners.....coz we also have our own version of BURtawi..but unnamed...where all loose buttons,broken needles, a hook and all the broken down wristwatches are collected...rusty ones grandma was a no-thrower..if u know wht i mean...she would watch us sweep the floor and always managed to spot a tiny shiny object to rescue from the dustbin....we used to get soo mad!! but the buttons she had collected was actually put to a good use ..i used them for decorating the picture frame i'd made...painted it all golden and its pretty nice..except for the workmanship.. try it!

  2. Lal Grace lo nui suh aw... that is you in another 40 years! Hahahahahha when that time comes and we are still alive maybe we can share the treasures we collect from the dustbins and talk about the goold old times.

    In our house too numerous objects have been given a second chance after being banished to the dustbin. The dustbin may as well be called the resurrection bin. Not good for the temper. Sometimes the only way to ensure a thing gets properly trashed is to personally hand it over when the garbage truck comes along.

    Your button picture frame sounds lovely. I once went through a phase of designing bags and coin purses, and one such purse was decorated with all the buttons I could find, so yes I've been there :)

  3. Just in case picture..

    Hope you like it, Pi Aduhi :-)

  4. You take me back to the olden days.. :-) when the sun still shines and there's a rainbow everywhere. My dad and mom loved to keep old stuffs just for the heck of it. My dad still had his class I pencil box after we all born. And that was before the catastrophe in our family.

  5. Oh! I forgot to mention. The other day my sister sent me a picture of her son. She let him wear my old pullover which I used to wear when I was in Primary School :-) We still follow that tradition wherever we may be. :-) You know, it's fun..

  6. I am trying to reemember my 'oldest' possession, its probably an Elton John cassette gifted to me in 1974, which I still listen to!

  7. I mitthla i ziak chhuak thiam hle mai hairehai