Clearing my cupboard and making place for new books and exercise books is a yearly ritual; and its never too easy. Its a time of special spring cleaning, and brings forth all the dried flowers and weak thorns pressed somewhere way way back in a magical realm. I did my “spring cleaning” a few days back. Its just a cupboard or two, and less books than in a library, yet it takes the whole day; even two days at a time.
There is a lot of shifting of books to do. One pile sorted out takes the place of another. Many books that won’t be used again, and exercise books that won’t be used and won’t be referred to are piled in a corner to be given away for recycling. Heated debates are carried out about whether a book needs to be kept or not. (These are course books, not the ones we buy out of choice.)
Then comes the most debated issue of exercise books. Each person is left with his own to take care of. “Sort out.” I open each exercise book in this process. These are of the just past academic session, and of every year before that. I slowly filter the pages of each notebook for any hastily scrawled memory, any note passed in the class, any hilarious or downright depressive sentence or drawing made when studying was just not looking so appealing…I grope desperately to hold on to every thread of memory…
I find jokes, verses and small autographs in the notebooks. One said:
“Promise Promise one two three,
You will not forget me…..” Then the friend had signed her name.
Scrawled on the another page was “I would die for happiness… only, it would be no use.”
The first page of a copy from class five said that:
” They say this time won’t come again, therefore enjoy,
I say do something worthwhile for the time to remember you by….”
An answer to a question in grade three about my favorite color was written that I like every color because they make the world beautiful.
I value in my heart each star, each smiley face and each compliment written on those papers. I value each innocent notion, and each petty complaint. I hold on to the time that is gone. I hold fast to every shard of memory that my slowly filling mind and cupboards can contain. I yearn and I long to keep them to myself forever, yet every year, some stock is cleared away to make room for new things, new memories…
There is a glow of pride and pain as I empty bits of my cupboard. There is still years old stuff that I visit yearly at spring cleaning, and keep back in the shelf as something sacred. Probably next year, or the year after that, or many years hence, I will clear that all out; create a larger space for everything new…but till then? Till then, each year at spring cleaning, I will take them out, moist my eyes, touch them to my heart, and keep them back…