Thank the Lord for the good husband. He is the one who periodically braves life and limb and dives headfirst into my wardrobe to cleanse it of toxins, alien life forms and grubby little tshirts I last wore to college but still hang on to ferociously in the optimism that one day I will be able to get back into them without the seams splitting instantly. If it wasnt for him, my clothes would have multiplied enough times to take over the earth and all the wardrobes within. He is sweet enough to do this exercise in a disarmingly nice way, which includes the buying of new clothes so a lot of the old can be chucked out, for some of the new to get in. Now that we plan to move to a new place, with huuuuuge balconies, my first ungracious thought is, wow, can build in more cupboards here. More place. Therefore more things that can be hoarded. I get it from the mother. She has, and I swear to the Good Lord that this is true, my prescriptions from the pediatrician when I was six. A three decade old prescription. Filed and kept carefully. Through gadzillion home changes and shiftings. She sat herself down with her reading glasses one fine evening when I was cribbing enthusiastically about how the brat was still the poster boy for the starvation diet, though I fed him everything to fatten him up, and dug up a prescription which had me shift gears from skeletal to the Little Lotta I became. Its a different story that I would never, in the best of my minds and sanity, want brat to go through the stress of being overweight, so I declined politely, at which, she calmly filed it right back. For what, I gasped? Its thirty years old. The medicines have changed. For all you know these might not even be available any more. She was implacable. “They worked for you. Someone might need it, even if you dont.” She’s that type. Getting into her loft is like wandering into Alladin’s cave. Lizards aside, there are fabric pieces, remnants from old upholstery that can probably be framed for the antique value they have. All my school report cards are filed and kept neatly in a drawer. My school photographs. Her telephone and electricity bills dating back ten years. Ten years? Get a raddiwala now. Mounds of newspaper piles accumulate in her window ledge just in case she might need to refer to a clipping ten months old. Getting her to get the raddiwalla up to dispose of that is like suggesting I get her to blaspheme the Good Lord. She will look at me all big eyed behind her spectacles and teary, and ask me sternly why her raddi bothers me. I have given up.
My mother in law has junk everywhere. So much so that the husband has issued her a blanket ban on carrying any of it with us to the new place. In our lofts are drums filled to brim with bits and pieces of leftover wood from carpentry work done when I was newly married. Twelve years ago. Bits of wire from wiring work done when the house was being renovated is another drum. Old switchboards taken out when the switchboards were being replaced have been wiped clean lovingly, wrapped carefully in newspapers and kept aside. Incase. We ever need switchboards. Old bedsheets that tear in straight lines with age should we ever try to open them are stacked in neat piles under the bed. I must hand it to her though. All her junk is neatly maintained and constantly organised and reorganised. Cant say the same about the kitchen though.
Comparitively, I must say I am better. I used to be anal about my fashion magazines. I had towering piles hidden from view behind curtains, inside cupboards, under beds, until one fine day I decided I had not missed my calling as a fashionista and would never be one, so chucked them all out. I still buy them by the dozens every month, but then turn them into the raddipile the moment am done with them. Thats one pat on my back for me. Now only if I could be as ruthless with my shoes and old clothes and old bags and yes, my make up. I have makeup with me that I wore to my college send off party. Really. I kid you not. Make up has overtaken two drawers in my cupboard. I dont have the heart to throw the old stuff out. Even though I might not actually use it anymore, just the security of it being around makes me feel good. And yes, you guessed it, nothing ever gets over, because there is so much around to choose from. The only lipstick that ever got over in my lifetime of compulsive lipstick usage is a L’Oreal shade called Fawn Fatale. And strangely enough, have not bought it again. Therefore I continue to have half used lipsticks lying in trays by the dozens.
I think this shifting will be good for me in more ways than one. I will finally prune out stuff I dont need in my closet. And I will hopefully realise I dont need the security of a thousand and one clothes to feel happy. I should be happy being me. Its not the clothes and the shoes and the bags. Cmon, whom am I kidding? Will just build in extra storage and be at peace.