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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

6th july 2013.

attachment is a bond formed with another over a period of time. it may be an instant connect too. the bond may also be between a person and his material possessions.

every such attachment will have a story of its own- of how it came into your life. the fond ones, one wants to hold on to. gradually one becomes a hoarder. of the possessions and the memories.
memories are easier to manage. they occupy your heart and the mind. they do not occupy physical space. on the other hand , the material possessions lay a claim on your space... expensive real estate.

several years ago, when the in-laws took ill, we moved them from udupi to be with us, so that they could be taken care of. it was the ideal scenario, where we were constantly around to attend to their needs, medical and emotional.

like everybody, they were loathe to leave the familiariaty of their home and town.
after they passed away , we thought of getting my parents to move in with us. they were growing old too .

 In 2005 I managed to convince my parents to move from their residence in malad to a flat opposite ours, in andheri. the kids were growing and with their school schedules it was getting difficult for us to rush to their assistance whenever the need arose.

In 2007, when we moved residence, they moved in with us to the new address.

it was an ideal scenario. us for them and them for us.

the biggest tussle that arose during that time was about possessions. they wanted to bring over every one of their spoons, utensils,, furniture etc etc. every item had a story. a memory…. a glass gifted by a neighbor during my naming ceremony. a first piece of furniture bought by them in the early yrs of their marriage. the brassware that my mother had inherited from her mother.. they wanted to hold on to their stories as much as I wanted to hold on to mine . I also had to make place for the ones yet to be written

my father is an emotional man. strong on emotions and sentiments. he plays by the heart and has always let it rule and overrule the mind.

when we were doing up this new home, my father and i made a pact as regards sharing shelf space for our books . he would have one wall and i would have the other

he is an avid reader and has an enviable collection. he has the paper backs – fiction, hard bound classics, encyclopedias, collector’s issues, limited editions, reference books/.. his repertoire ranges from fiction to spiritual. he has his tomes

he also has his principles. he doesn’t believe in borrowing books nor lending them. “if you want one, go buy one: he says. He is particular about how one reads a book.. he is particular about covering a book before reading it. About opening a book just this much so that the pages don’t give away. even after he has read a book, it will appear absolutely untouched.

he knows where every one of his book is amongst the several that adorn the shelves in his library. he is always able to tell when i have raided his stash. he accurately pinpoints the book i had stealthily removed and hastily put back while he was away.

he is a collector. i am a hoarder. there was only so much that those shelves could hold. i moved my stash out . i bought myself my very own cupboard.

he happily occupied what i had vacated.

he is a reader. he is a collector. and though i have inherited his passion for books we do not share the same interests in books.

at this stage in my life, i have no use for the books on history , fiction of the 40's and 50 about life in ancient france England or germany. i have read most of them. the ones that i had affinity for , i shifted to my racks.

his tastes have evolved and changed too… moving to the philosophical and the spiritual.

he had to make a choice. the old had to go. to make place for his new passion.

I had the privilege of choosing my favourite ones from amongst his collection . Then i chose some because i knew he wanted me to hold on to them.

but then there was only this much i could help out with.

i promised him that i would look for a good home for his beloved books.

that there was no way i would pass them on to the raddiwala.

i fulfilled my promise to the best of my capabilities, checking with like minded friends and family.

today i had to go to the daughters school . when i came home, i found him standing , holding on to the doors of his library. head bent. a defeated stance. books were lying around in neat heaps. he looked tired. washed out with the effort.

he is ageing. he tries to keep as active and occupied as is possible. his day begins at 5.30. and he wants to make the best of every minute of his time, willing his body to comply. by noon, he is a tired man. he has to be reminded to eat small meals at regular intervals which will sustain his energies till lunch time. the disciplined man that he is , he regulates and monitors his food intake.

i was upset and angry with him for indulging in the physical labour. his daughter or mine, would have willingly done the mazdoori. “couldn’t u have waited “ , i asked of him.

“the books...they will all be gone” was all that he said. , his voice heavy, …trying to sound dry and emotionless but the effort was telling.

They were not just books. Some of them were part of an unfulfilled dream of his. He had dreamt of writing a book on shivaji,. Over the  years he had collected hundreds of books on his favorite subject. At some point in his life he had realized that it would remain just that. A dream. Other than these select few on the subject , he had given away the others to a library. He often wondered if anybody even thumbed the pages of those books. Some of them had been extremely rare copies

He was emotional now and with a cause too. Nothing is more sad than letting a dream die. He had held on to these few and today he was letting go of the last vestiges.

the streams flowing down his face was not just the sweat from his brow. They also contained his tears.,
Icouldn’t bear to be in the same room as him. guilty that I felt I was. I settled him with a glass of water and a fruit and stormed into my room

I had spoken to him, about letting go..” let the old make place for the new”. I had convinced him to let others savour what his children already had, let others benefit from the treasure he had held on to, and had no use for now. Those books had served their purpose for him. somewhere it had made sense to him too. he had agreed to pass these to a library..

I was wondering if I had been insensitive. cruel to him. Had I failed him?  But to me it seemed the ideal thing to do.... to move those books to a library where many others could access them

I tried to imagine myself in his place at his age.

I thought of my children. would they remember me as the otherwise accomodating one, or as this as this pragmatic practical cold hearted one...

Treat others as you would want to be treated... will I face a similar tussle with my offspring? Of falling short of expectations . would they be any more sympathetic to my cause then... or me, to theirs? ...who would hurt more? there are no answers.

attachments. bonds....... it is a heavy burden we carry

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