I have many in my mind and one in my cupboard. Here’s what I keep in it:
- Cards: School ID’s with a nutty photograph. Andheri Sports Complex and Balkanji Bari membership cards. My ICSE Board exam admission card (T/1262/019). Umang proofs of participation. A boarding pass from the first time I flew alone. Birthday greetings received over twenty years. A no-reason card from my parents that says – ‘You are important, unique and a gift of creation…’
- Booklets: Activity sheets from summer camps at a Chinmaya Mission. My high school yearbook (with the same nutty photo), smiling away between Moyena Parikh and Nandini Somaiya. School projects on the water cycle, tidal power (wild experiments with blow-pens), the 1857 revolt and the Frontier Mail. I even constructed a seven word crossword at the end of one on the Union Judiciary.
- Textbooks: An anthology which contains the only poem I know by heart (The Listeners by Walter de la Mare). An Oxford atlas I still refer to. Plays where I learnt the literal meanings of ‘a pound of flesh’ and ‘Et tu, Brute?’ A biology text that was verrry informative about the reproductive system.
- My work: English paper essays teachers appreciated. Unfinished short stories – When Trains Leave on Time, The Eyes of the Road and Dowager Queen. English poems I’m proud of. My first stabs at Hindi poetry. A brown Fred Flintstone because I couldn’t find the skin colour crayon. The side profile of a bride that I later reproduced in petals for my sister’s wedding.
- Brazil memorabilia: Our ten day itinerary. The badge saying I represented India. Sao Paolo tourism brochures. Keepsakes gifted by friends I made there – a beaded brown chain from Nigeria (too small for my neck, too big for my wrist), a studded Dutch giraffe keychain, and a headless Indonesian dancing figure. Not headless originally – it broke off in transit.
- Albums: From school trips to Hyderabad, Kerala and Kolkata-Darjeeling. Victoria Memorial on a rainy evening. My penchant for going shutter crazy in zoos (lesson learnt). Me in Harry Potter specs. In Brazil – the Interlagos F1 track, with an anaconda (dead), and my first glass of champagne.
- Collections: Stamps moistened off envelopes depicting beautiful Madhubani paintings. Golden medallions embossed with the image of Don Bosco, presented by the Rector on birthdays. Prankies collected by my grandmother from Rasna packets – I have rubber cucumbers, strawberries, peanuts and bats, cockroaches, tarantulas. Friendship bands (never gave any, accepted many). Tazos! Plain ones showing the Looney Toons, holographic Michael Jordan stunners. I hated Ruffles. But I loved Tazos.
- Things: Egg-shaped toys from Kinder Joy chocolates. The fake moustache from a school play. My Head Boy badge. A pinecone from my college trip to Manali. Receipts from a trip to Goa with friends. A trumpet-shaped stirrer from the most expensive meal I’ve ever eaten (at Not Just Jazz By The Bay).
I store the little moments of my life in my shelf of memories. What do you keep in yours?
* * *