Friday, July 23, 2010

My Collections-Part I

Thanks to the Government of India we have been provided with a spacious well lit,airy and very comfortable apartment in the heart of the city as my husband is an Officer with the Central Government.And i really don't have to cry hoarse about improvements if any as automatically improvements are made. So i was thrilled when the old ceramic sinks were removed from the kitchen and in it's place a trendy shiny stainless steel sink was installed. For a change this one looked good than the other one and was larger and more sleek than the boring, primitive looking rectangular plain sink plus it had additional features.
Then the net shutters were installed on all doors to keep mosquitoes at bay.But a few months back the entire house was provided with power saving bulbs.
Now all these refreshing things happening and is it possible to be thrilled and anguished at the same time?
So i sang praises for the efficient Works Department which is seeing to all our comforts and encouraging us to go green too.True it is, saving energy goes a long way in going green.Only thing, a person like me was just too pained to see all the 12 ceramic sinks lying in a heap in the play area downstairs.Some lay broken due to manhandling and some nice and rectangle and very beckoning to a person like me who has this thing about items going waste.And if i could i would start potting in anything which can accumulate enough soil for a small plant to grow.So even a slightly chipped wine glass has a plant sitting pretty on the center table of my drawing room.
Needless to say then as my heart wept at the broken sinks and while i silently cursed the workers who were so reckless, i missed no opportunity in asking permission from the Inspector of Works for ownership of these sinks.Which he gladly obliged giving me a funny look that said," This lady what is she up too...must be crazy going for condemned articles..."
But his look soon turned to admiration when he rang my bell just to tell me how wonderfully i have utilised what would have been dumped into oblivion.
All the condemned ceramic sinks now are rooting grounds for my thick frondy palms and Jasmine shrubs which had outgrown their old terracotta pots and  were crying out loud for bigger outfit than the medium sized one and which  it seemed was bursting at it's seams as they had cracked in many places and the should- be covered- with- soil roots were hopelessly peeping out of the drain holes.
Although a lot many apartment occupants are reaping the benefit of this reuse concept of mine when they go for a stroll to the terrace and some have even praised me for all the pains i took to get those heavy ceramic sinks up yet the exultation i feel to see my overgrown babies happily swaying in the breeze and very snug in their new ceramic pots cannot compare to the momentary happiness i get when i receive these compliments.Because in my heart i know it that i was just satisfying my own need and taking care of my own idiosyncracies.That being, i simply am a collector of sorts and i hate throwing things away.Typically Indian even when a thing is broken i would tuck it away thinking some day i might need it for something.Funny isn't it?
 i sure know that all hell will break loose when my husband discovers what all i have accumulated in the store room and in every cranny and nook of the garage.But that is only going to happen when we have to move on transfer and for that there is still time.Maybe then i will have to part with these but i don't want to think about it now.The river shall be crossed when we reach it.Why worry now?
Meawhile i feel satisfied and happy that when i need planks of wood, or a wire or glass bits for my creativity i need look no further than my store room or garage.
So this brought me closer to knowing who i am.All this while i kept believing that i was more like my Dad whereas the fact of the matter is, i am every bit my mom.We used to laugh at her affectionately when she would store things like this. Plastic bags, gift wrappers, twine, cardboard boxes, even boxes that came along with shoes or shirts and the best part she would clean sweet boxes too and spruce it up to store items like nails, pins, broken toys, rubber bands that came along with boxes and so many small things that i lose count of.
Laughed at her alright yet every time we needed boxes for either school projects or just like that or twine or plastic bags and even decorative papers she would come to our rescue with her well pressed, well rolled, well smoothed out treasures.Everyone would automatically run to her for sundry items knowing very well that even at midnight things needed were very much in the house and that we don't have to wait for morn to go to a shop to buy one.
My Dad would find this habit of hers just too cute and i know that when we talk of her now his eyes moisten although he tries to conceal it. When he remembers how beautiful his wash basin area looked onto which she had placed Money Plant in empty but thrown away bottle or how she would hand over all his spotlessly white kerchiefs pressed and folded and stored neatly in a washed and cleaned Surf Powder pouch.Laughed at her alright but everyone in the house including the never ending guests knew who they had to approach for sundry items when they urgently needed one.Be it nails or twine or boxes or even gift wrappers.
All the broken toys were a delight to the toddlers who came with guests as they squealed with gurgling laughter to see a lame cart squeaking away or a doll which had lost all her hair and was almost completely naked and eagerly pick up the broken rattles, toy carts and would remain happy thereafter.They somehow didn't seem to mind anything at all as all her treasures surrounded them. i still remember her carrying her box and turning it upside down at which the whimpering rustic babies would just stop crying. Also i am more puzzled now to think when  or how she found time to repair some of these in her own indigenous ways. She had used bottle caps to attach as wheels for a toy car that was devoid of all it's four wheels.Only when the thing looked like a hazard would she give that thing away or else she would go on adding to her collections to fix it and use it when the need arose.
Ma must be collecting wishes now for us to fulfill wherever she is but in me physically i am seeing every bit of her.
And it took me so many years to realise it.
We i believe have lot a lot of misconceptions about ourselves and time slowly unravels all these one by one.Of course Time what else...
Experiences just bring us closer to what we really are but it is always time that tells you finally that it's okay to be what you are, how you are and though you might have incorporated many things from nature also from the myriad experiences yet you are unique in your own way and there can be no one  like you.
Maybe when i see that i have inherited the same green thumb of my mom as i hurriedly pot something in the earthen pot from which we scooped out Misti Doi two days back still i know that no matter how hard i try i may be more like my mom but i can never be her.Her enormous sense of bearing pain stoically, her endurance and her sense to serve i have yet to assimilate and incorporate.She was unique in her own way and i am unique in my own way.And my speciality although originates from her, has undergone evolution in a way dresses undergo evolution.So although borrowed i am special .
 i think now i understand what Quentin Tarantino meant when he said something like...i cheat from all the movies made so far.

Now i must get back to making my plams green as being outdoors throughout it has lost it's original greenness and looks more yellowish.Frondy palms i am told loses it's greeness if kept in the sun all day long.
Solution sits on the terrace itself where a broken bucket has been preparing compost from all my vegetable and fruit peels and other organic wastes.
My Smart Forest Officer also told me to prepare a mix of bonemeal and Khalli which is the cake used as fodder for domestic milch cattle and fertilise my frondy palms with this mix. Let me see if doing this brings back the green magic promised to me.
Only thing i hope i do it right.


  1. your terrace looks inviting creativity is part of u i m learning every time something new from u.

  2. v.nice blog...loved it

  3. @Gauri thank you and yes when u come we shall enjoy the terrace together...i guess my babies would love to see us laugh like mad.

  4. @Manna Thank you sweetie pie for loving my blog.Would eagerly wait for more visits from you :)

  5. You do love you plants a.k.a 'children' .. I can vouch for that any day... and yes the terrace is indeed beautiful for an evening stroll..

  6. @Aakaash Thank u Sonna and i miss that evening tea and chat with u on the terrace.Yeah it's just a matter of time and soon we'll be doing that na...till then i will look forward to it :)

  7. What can I say Shivani?? You are truly a nature lover and definitely have green fingers. Mothers are extremely influential in our lives and am sure these traits have a distinct contribution from her genes which reside in you now. Hope and pray this continues through your next generation. The terrace photos with all that greenery makes me envy you. Its hard work which is reaping good foliage and the health of the plants seem marvelous. Keep posting, especially with the photos which say a lot.

  8. nice and refreshing post shivani.really was appealed by your aesthetic sense

  9. @Tandarin thank you and yes the genes that i have inherited does make me who i am like you said.About the next generation i am sure it will...and maybe years later my son will ralise just like i did.

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  11. @Rashmi Thank you dear for ur kind visit and words.i am sure you must be rich in ur aesthetic sense too because i believe we women have a knack for that.However i am just a cheap copy...nothing original here unlike ur compositions which are original and musical too.:)

  12. Nice plants. I live in an apartment and am thinking about introducing some potted plants myself.

  13. Shivani ... if someday we can... I would like you to meet my Ma.This is the second post which is like me seeing my Ma at work. Incidentally my father was a Central Government service man all his life and we travelled all over the country. And wherever we went, Ma would spread her love for plants. She would make beautiful holding pots out of everyday stuff. At that age I used to be totally disinterested. Today, I look back and realize what I have missed. We used to have money plants all over the house in small pots and big jars. Sorry to go off on a tangent. Touching post and wonderful creativity !! Kudos to you !!

  14. @Anirban thank you for going through my post and yes i would say that if you look forward for green pets then please do go for it.They don't have to be fussed over much and a sight of them makes one happy.
    And i saw this movie starring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore where she was babysitting his plants while he composed music and was busy and some chemistry developed between both.Chemistry or no chemistry what i am trying to suggest is that when u do keep plants u have to show some care and if u r too busy u can ask someone to do it for u on payment of course although if i was ur neighbour i would love to do it for free.
    But once u get plants DON'T NEGLECT THEM pls.:)

  15. @LEB thank you for all your kind words.And pls do go through my next blog to know what all i do with things people throw away...not much but would want to know if ur Ma also did this.
    Yeah and not only do i want to meet u but also the lady who would sing Tagore songs when u were a baby.i am sure i can have enough conversations with her on common things and perhaps would get to know more.:)
    Thank u once again for considering me worthwhile.

  16. Lovely post Shivani. Your plants are beautiful just like you. They look so refreshing and inviting. And you making such good use of thrown away things is remarkable. My parents are still like that- nothing gets thrown away, even the non-wrinkled wrapping paper from a gift gets saved for future use. My dad says that it's not being cheap, rather it's not being wasteful. And it did make sense.

  17. @Preeti thank you dear and yes i agree to what your Dad says.Grateful to you for making time for my posts.Love the way u reach out to me.:)