December 18, 2008

Journey of the junk

We've all heard about the "Survival of the fittest" theory by Charles Darwin. I've personally witnessed the exact opposite... how things we discard find their way around... back. My house is a stack of sorts... What goes in seldom comes out as far as things are concerned. And my chittipatti is yet to discard anything that has the least residual value. Indeed it is a running joke in the family that if she throws something away, it sure as hell has nothing remaining to offer. Seeing that as it is and the fact that she is the reigning supervisor for most of the major clean-up operations at home, nothing ever leaves the house unless it is in complete shambles and simply cannot be fixed. While this has worked to my advantage a few times in the past, more often than not I can marvel at what all I am likely to find when I come back home and dig through my stuff and try to discard the things I haven't used in ages in an attempt to put m two pence in for the household cleanup. This time I found a tonne of my Nalangu samaan that my sister-in-law had lovingly purchased for our wedding. I sorted through all the dolls (the guddas n guddis), the bangles, and what not, reliving the beautiful wedding memories when a plastic bag at the far corner caught my eye. I pulled it out. It was some of the gifts that I had received for my birthdays over the past few years before I left the country. Including the birthday cards. A treasure trove. I took out some dear to heart stuff and then pulled out what was evidently the remains of some gift. It was a holder of sorts on which sat an empty test tube. I vaguely remembered seeing stuff like this at Archies Gallery. But I couldn't recall what exactly it was or who had given it or what to do with it anymore. I moved it to the discard pile... not too quickly for it had caught the eye of my chittipatti. She snatched it out of the pile and turned it over and over in her hands no doubt looking for something creative to do with it, maybe as part of her traditional yearly Navrathri decorations. But she couldn't find anything to do with it right away. Seizing the opportunity and citing the example, I gleefully put it in the trash bag. This happened over a week ago and obviously it had slipped my mind. Imagine my shock then, when today I found it sitting on the watchman's room. I had to find out what it was doing there. Mild interrogation led me to find that my chittipatti had bestowed the thing on my housemaid, who in turn had tried to fit it in with her own household or to see if it matched the fancy of her grown children. Meeting failure on both counts, she took it upon herself to give it away to the watchman who has small children, more likely to be amused with a useless toy than her own grown kids. And hence, it wound up on my very own doorstep once more. Junk circulates. And trying to obliterate it has thus far proved unsuccessful. Evidently, it either requires cooperation on many levels or personal attention to see it through to the main trash without an in-between man/woman. Gosh.


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