November 09, 2006

Yellow Pages

A unique kind of cleaning project is on at home these days. I’m clearing out stuff that I have collected over the years as a kid, a young girl, a not-so-young girl and as an almost elderly woman. These relics, some precious and some trash, need to be examined and kept or thrown away, since I am about to leave the babul ka ghonsla et al…

Mom has already collected all that stuff in a bright blue travel bag ( I’ve been away so long that the charm of bidaai is almost gone) for me to go through. So I’m suddenly faced with years of memories neatly piled up. Yellowing paper to keep or throw as I desire.

First up was a certificate from school saying that I used to study there and that “I bear a good moral character.” This flimsy evidence is essential and sufficient for getting admitted to Delhi University. So I’ve folded and saved my yellowing good character and kept it safely among childhood report cards and hospital documents from when baby Inky was born with the loosies and all else normal…( Was I a loose character at birth then?)

Various bits of prose and poetry written on scraps, printed on A4 sheets, scribbled and doodles in various classrooms down the long road of my formal education…mock prayers in Sanskrit between sheets of chemistry equations (to be learnt, not deduced, and therefore unloved) a ten page essay on the evils of illiteracy in India (very cocksure and pedantic, written at 14 I think) and pages torn from newspapers and magazines where I had the honour of being published…what am I supposed to do with all these except read them, smile or cringe, and throw most of them away? I don’t feel a shred of remorse when disposing of these childish scrawls, not because I think I’m much cooler now, but because documentary evidence seems so redundant when proving to myself that I have always been a freak! To be fair, I have saved some specimens, for mom to beam over till the fragile paper disintegrates into the dust of oblivion and stupidity.

Then there are certificates, for everything from having overcome my neo-natal loosies to having aced exams. They look quite impressive, though, so I’ll keep them in case I need to floor educators or employers at some stage, they’ll need to know about my academic excellence and peristaltic control…

There are class notes from advertising school, which I’m keeping for the time being. That was my first stint away from home, and is an interesting anthropological study. There are also letters I wrote home and letters mom wrote to me (so far back in the Stone Ages, that she actually wrote “It is so nice that we have telephones and can talk once in a while”) Mom and I were reading each other’s letters last night and realized we hadn’t changed as people at all, despite technological advances such as cheap internet, cellphones, and medication for genetic insanity.

I also have autograph books from school “you are shakespear” and college “you have the cutest smile muah” and ad school “maaaaaa!”. I’ve kept these diaries which inevitably say “keep in touch” but I’ve thrown away phone directories with these people’s names and numbers….not only are they in different places, but they’re no longer relevant to me…

I’ll leave behind a much lighter blue bag when I go. Heavy hearts and light bags make for good bidaais, don’t you agree? :-)

P.S. Forgot to add that I have ten thousand attested copies of all the documents needed to apply for a higher education. Keeping them. You never know... :P

6 comments:

wendigo said...

very nice post. old letters and bat wings do a good bloggy concoction make. but get over the loosies re! you can't be a loose character if you tried.. tried very hard.. very very hard. (now that sounds like constipation)

Nemo said...

oye, tu shaadi manayega?? ya ya i knew. but it still refuses to sink in, no? have fun on behalf of those who still hallucinate of eternal love for birdpiss.

waise, you do have a cute smile, muah

kay said...

Yeah,heavy heart along with a heavy bag would make it a bit too burdensome to be emotional...i liked ur post and the cynical bit where u dont really want to hold onto ur "ancient documentary eveidence"...Getting documents photo copied and attested is such a drag.

shub said...

hey shakespear!
loved the post! *hugs*

wendigo said...

nemo: this amounts to libel. >(

Tshhar Mangal said...

good one