• Guest Blogger

Oh no! I'm a hoarder!

The ripped jeans warming up my cupboard corner since 2014 stared at me longingly. The creases around the pockets made it look like it leered at me with a grumpy face and pleaded for mercy killing.

“Why do you even buy more stuff when you already have so much? I don’t think you need new clothes for another 4 years”, screamed my mother while barging into my cluttered room, which had no space for a second person to walk through. She handed over a glass of fresh cold watermelon juice that I never asked for. Pretty sure she just needed a reason to invade my privacy and taunt me for fitting the world into my cupboard.

“Look at all the makeup you have. Give some to your sister. She anyway does it better than you”, she said and left the room, leaving the door half-open. The pain from that statement left me dumbstruck. As I was getting up to shut the door behind her, I stumbled upon my compass from school. The horror of integration and differentiation engulfed me and a sharp shiver ran down my spine. Deep down inside, I missed hating Math. 

One half of the 150 square feet room was full of my clothes, the other half equally divided between my art supplies, books, make-up, and shoes. The drawers with my artificial yet expensive, old, rusty, and tangled jewelry were yet to be dismantled. 

No, this was not the yearly ritual of Diwali cleansing ignited by the greed of Goddess Lakshmi to visit the abode. The disarray was the result of lack of a hobby and binge-watching ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’ on Netflix. In Miss Kondo’s words, one should keep things that only spark joy. As I sifted through the million things across my room, I was filled with a sense of gratitude and anger. Gratitude - for the privilege I was brought up with and anger for the materialistic hoarder I had turned into. The leather jacket hanging above the Lee tee hadn’t seen winters in 3 years now and I was too big for it but I refused to let it go. It was a gift from my late maternal grandmother who wanted to own a bike but never got to. The scarf from school reminded me of the time when my ex-best friend had spilled ketchup on it and I exchanged it for hers. The sling bag from college had dust all over it and I was sure the zip was broken. In my attempt to check it and to my utter surprise, it was as good as new. But what I saw inside, made me want to shout louder than Dolly Bindra on Big Boss.

The smiling Father of the Nation looked at me mockingly on a 500 rupee note. What a dumb generation! – He must have thought to himself. Though what I found in the second pocket, was more worthy than what I lost in the first – some hysterical notes in bad handwriting from a few years back.

“Bunk Stat? (Statistics)” one said and another one had random doodles all over it. The last reunion we had was 7 months ago and we needed another one to forbear forgetting faces. The torn pencil box from school, which was now home to my colorful eyeliners, reignited in me my love for stationery and reminded me of that phase of life where I had a color of pen designated for each day of the week. The glitzy slam book filled with those cute promises of friendship and love from those who I don’t even remember were a part of my life at some point. The favorite shorts from college that had witnessed some of the best moments at beaches around the Bay of Bengal was a reminiscence of the nonchalant days of being a young adult. My eyes almost popped out of my head when I noticed my white dress with red wine stains on it. I didn’t seem to recollect much from the blurry night so I decided to call up a friend who I had accompanied. As you might have guessed, we spoke for hours!

“Do I spark joy in your life?”, I asked her as I applied some nail polish on my already painted toes. “You are the joy of my life, you brat”, was the response I received.

Marie, in her book, talks about how everything we own has a soul. So how could I possibly get rid of all of the stuff that had so much nostalgia attached to it? How could I dismiss the feelings and throw the things that take me back to some of the best days of my life? Giving them away would be giving away a part of my soul. Sorry, Marie, I Kant Do it, I decided.

“A failed endeavor”, I thought to myself as I cleaned up the mess I had created. The only thought lurking in the back of my mind was - if only my mother had followed the KonMari method of keeping things that only sparked joy to her, guess I’d be in the bin too!

The above piece is written by Ashna Panesar who is one of the guest bloggers for the PFA community. You can connect with her directly on her Instagram

For anything else related to the community or know how can you contribute to the community write to Pawan Rochwani on pawan@pfaindia.com

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