Guardian of Sentiments

I have often been ridiculed and criticized for insisting on careful usage of things and stuff. I get visibly upset when coffee mugs I hand-picked get broken or chipped, when people borrow my stuff and damage or lose them, when things are roughly used and the like. The following are snippets from different times of my life when I was saddened by some incidents:
  • She borrowed my bracelet to wear it to an outing. When she returned it was partially broken. That was a gift from my cousin sister and one of my favourites.
  • She borrowed my book to read and in turn lent it to her colleague. When the book was returned to me, edge of one side of the book was spoiled, as if someone had taken a bite off the book. The book was a birthday present from my little sister.
  • After having his tea, he kept the coffee mug under the bed. It was broken by accident. The cup had been a gift from my husband (then my fiancee).
  • She borrowed my bright red nail-polish when I was not home. She dropped the bottle by accident and broke it. She apologized and I said that it’s okay. That was my bridal nail polish (I was married only a little over a month then) and I had used it only once.
It is very likely that you find the above incidents very silly.You say it’s just a coffee mug, a book, a nail-polish! It’s just a thing! What’s the big deal! Then why do I care so much about using things carefully and keeping them nicely.  I guess it is a part of who I am. It is the way I have grown up. I come from a family where smallest of things are used with love and preserved. Here are a few examples of old artifacts:

Aita (my maternal grandma) got these plates from Bombay in the late 1980s. We had our dessert in these during our visit earlier this month.
When I was about to be born, Maa packed her necessities in this orange basket and went to the hospital.  Today this basket serves a a picnic basket.
Key winding toys Koka (My maternal grandpa) got me and my sister on one of our birthdays..dated back to late 1980s
These glo-worms were a gift from our maternal uncle in the early 1990s

This Chinese Checkers board came to our home a little before my younger sister started school

This pair of coffee mugs were an anniversary gift to our parents from us in 2001-02
This is one of the many books which we inherited from Maa and her brothers. It dates back to 1977. It was one of my favourite books as a kid.
When we go home, we still drink water from the kid-sized steel tumblers from our childhood. The twin beds were made when Deta started on his first job. We have bone-china dinner plates (intact) from the same time. He retired a couple of years back. Now I wear Maa’s crochet jacket which she made when she was in the Xth standard. Our home is full of old things. Such things are still in good condition which people normally think is not possible to run so long.

As far as I am concerned, I use my things with utmost love and care. So if you borrow my stuff you are supposed to use them with the same care. If you can’t, please don’t borrow them. Be it my gadgets, accessories, books, stationery or even my nail-clipper. It’s in my genes to preserve things. Old books, gifts, crockery and the like. Since the time Az and I have met, I have not disposed a single rose he had given me over the years. It’s been a decade. Usage with love and care is the preservative I use for my stuff. Plus, I believe if you love your things, they will love you back and hence serve you longer.

You say they are just things and that they are not supposed to be given more value than humans. True. But you are not seeing the sentiments I guard in those things. Each item spells love, memories, moments, hard work and effort. So no, it’s not just a cup, it’s not just a tumbler, it’s not just a gadget, not to me. I am a guardian of things. I am the guardian of sentiments. It is who I am. Please let me be.

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