Friday, February 4, 2011

Thank You Yuka

Quite a couple of years back when a friend of mine moved away from the city she told me with a long sigh that conveys nothing but tremendous relief that the most wonderful thing about movement from one place to the other is that you get rid of all that clutter that you might have accumulated in your long stay at any place.
For a person like me who finds it so difficult to part with stuff and sees in everything a major potential this getting rid of clutter should be another hard and tough exercise.
So i start with the room i thought would have the least bit to discard or give away. But that room which i call my utility room and which has my computer, books, stationery and other sundry articles that we fail to place in the other rooms, had a mind of it's own. i was not expecting that instead of proceeding smoothly with Operation Thinning i would be stuck with memories tumbling down one by one from that drawer which held my teaching aids. The thick practical notebook which was my Lesson Plan for the academic year 2006-2007 looked bulged as if something solid and thick like a pencil was stuck up inside.

i held the book carefully in my hand going down memory lane, admiring my neat work on the cover of the note book. Opened the note book to feel all the more narcissistic about my own sense of beauty.

Needless to say then, emotional and almost lost in time, i opened to see what pencil was still waiting for me to finish an unfinished diagram.
What seemed to be jutting out from a  folded slip of paper was a pair of something.

i did not have to open the slip of paper because i knew it instantly that it was not a waiting pencil but a  memorable parting gift from a very special Japanese student of mine.
Her name is Yuka.

In her note she has thanked me and few other people who helped her cope with the strenuous syllabus that required too many rote learning. Also she has gifted me with a unique bookmark which she says  is a miniature copy of a Japanese Paper Doll.

In pencil she has made figures to explain how an unmarried girl's Kimono is different from that of a lady who is married.  Also there is a way to wear Kimono when it is worn for funerals than from how it is worn normally. Something to do with the two layers and the collars coming across.

Definitely there is that pair of chopsticks too. So the pair of wooden chopsticks it was and not a pencil as i had presumed.

As it is evident, i got pleasantly sidetracked from the job that i was doing (of removing the clutter) and instead  sat on the small single bed in the room with all of what i should call the personality of Yuka, for my pleasure only. i could feel nothing but an enormous sense of affection flowing out for Yuka. i am hoping that wherever she is, she gets all my blessings that i have for her.

i just sit  here maybe miles and miles away thinking about this very talented, beautiful and very dignified Oriental student of mine.
i remember her telling me that how she is a part of a Japanese cultural group which meets under the guidance of a Teacher who is almost like a spiritual guru.
i also remember her telling me with some pride how she has volunteered to educate youngsters mostly teenagers about the pitfalls and problems related to free sex/ liberal sex.
She gave me a pamphlet which discussed these issues and also a book that contained the ethics of the revered Teacher. Did i read the book ?
No,  i just flipped a few pages here and there and found it to be a serious book not to be read casually and decided to read it laters.
But Yuka was leaving soon so i had to return the book unread to her.
Now i just feel nothing could be better than to get some word from her as to how she was doing. i wonder if she is still here in this country or has gone back to her own Japan.
i wonder if she still remembers me and the others.

i guess then this was the very first i laid my hands on and as i embarked on fishing out unwanted stuff. Now i
feel i might not find any clutter at all in this room. i might want to keep all. i don't want to engage myself in that battle that rages inside between what is practical and what is not.
i know that for sometime space to store things would be a problem but i am thinking how much space would these take. Maybe a medium sized carton space or maybe more i don't know yet.
What i sure do know is that addressing these as clutter feels like a major sin if not a crime. For suddenly what many might say as sentimental sheet has done some wonders to my tormented soul. i was so unhappy about shifting from Chennai to Delhi. Now thoughts about Yuka makes me look forward to all that is in store for me.

The easiest thing at the moment seems to just let this room be as it is and maybe walk over to the other rooms. Probably i will find clutter there. Some thinning might happen in the other rooms if not in this.

i should say that this should be my last post from Namma Chennai. The fact of the matter being that i shall be moving now to be in yet another metro. Have to be very honest though that just a few hours ago i was feeling insecure and anxious. Strange but true that although what was supposed to be home turf feels threatening to me for i have spent 21 comfortable and rich years in Chennai. Somehow Delhi felt like an anaconda...thick and huge. i sure am excited about the place but the excitement is just akin to watching an anaconda with all the nail biting thrill, but from a safe distance.

Actually for this post i did not want to sound like one who is all nerves and cribbing. i did not want to whine and croak like a prejudiced koop mandook ( a frog in the well ) but sadly i seem to be doing just that. Being so judgemental and all full of nasty thoughts about the place which is waiting for me...hungry and ready to first crush me senseless and then to devour me.

i think it's better for me to think about Yuka and learn from her. She seemed so calm in spite of all those adjustments and compromises that she had to make. She accepted the place and it's rigors with an open mind and i never found her cribbing or flinching. i never found her complaining either. Always attentive and ready to grasp i see her smile which made her even more appealing to us apart from her talents.  Yes many admired her flawless Oriental skin and silky hair but to me she was not only all this but a very feminine and cultured girl with some wisdom in that young brain of hers.

Happenings in our day to day life has a reason.
i set out with an annoyed sense of departing from this place to remove clutter. Instead i am coming out of the room removing the clutter that was accumulating inside me. And i am smiling.
If Yuka could do it with some panache so can i handle the so called ostentatious capital city .
So i come !!


  1. beautiful!! nostalgic and artistic post...loved the shots...

  2. Yes Shivani, if Yuka can do it... u surely can do it. Twenty-one years in Chennai is definitely a long time but that's done now. Do look forward to our capital city and see the change in the north of our country. Now that you will have a organised clutter in your new home and your son now grown up, enjoy the freedom in a new place. Look forward to making your own landscape. If you are fortunate to reside in a place with a patch of fertile land, do photograph it before you sculpt the greens around it. Your lovely post reminded me of the clutter in my own home here in Bahrain. God forbid, if I have to leave under short notice it would be practically impossible to clear up. I have so many prized items which may need a huge storeroom in India. Have to do something about it. Thanks Shivani, you have got the ball rolling.
    Please do keep writing as I have sort of got used to your posts. Here's wishing you the best in Delhi.

  3. @Sushmita thank u for making time and for appreciating.
    Quite a few months back i think one of the blogdost called me a 'Champion' of nostalgic posts.
    The shots were from my digital camera to give everyone a feel of Yuka...glad that u liked it too. :)

  4. @Tandarin it's ditto here. Even i look forward to ur posts and actually wait for u to go through mine.
    Always have thoughts as to what u would have to say.
    Thanks for ur wishes and i hope my teething problem that is so typical when one moves from one place to the other is just a short one.

  5. Its difficult to part from your sense of belonging.Every phase is a new beginning.Adventurous too.I am sure u r going to make tis place heaven too.take yuka along.It makes sense.Ihad got attached to Chennai now take to Delhi.Iam with u.

  6. @Gauri thank u sis. Yeah am here now at Delhi and the way things are there is no time to miss Chennai.
    It's a jump and start feeling right now but i am sure will settle down in a couple of months.:)

  7. @ Sujata Sen thank you...kind of you to say that. Hope to c u again with perhaps a few more words...about ur own thoughts which could be related. :))