Thursday, December 06, 2012


Recently, we moved apartments.  It neither looks simple nor is it.  As we packed the different, unwanted items that we have accumulated over the years, my wife and I had different solutions for the same problem.  For each and every box that gets added to the list, I had, rather have, a simple solution,

 "Let's chuck it.  Why do we need this?", which, unfortunately, is diametrically opposite to the position held by her - "Oh, we can buy a small shelf to offset this problem?" It doesn't require an Einstein to figure out who wins these arguments.

For me, the whole process of discarding is pretty simple.  If you don't use something over a period of time, just discard the item.  The philosophy is straightforward and I explained this to her, "See, when we move to the new apartment, let's not unpack some of the boxes.  It's okay if the apartment is a mess for some days.  At least, we will know the items that we are using and those that we don't.  So, if we don't unpack something for a month or two, it means we should never ever be needing that box.  One of my ex-colleagues did exactly that(I think I have mentioned this in one of my earlier posts).  He told me that when he was moving from Colorado to Kansas, he saw some boxes in the basement of his house.  "Praveen, I just dumped these boxes in the trash.  If I did not need these boxes for ten years, there's no way in the world I would be needing them now.  So, I just put them in trash."  Sounded like an absolutely logical thing to do.  And, one of the other things we differ is, when it comes to home decor.  I just want to keep things plain and simple.  I still don't get what's the idea behind wall hangings.  Why can't you just leave the walls plain?

"We need to get some paintings", my wife said.

The monologue would continue further.  "This will certainly refresh the living room decor.  Why in the world would you want to keep the walls plain?"

There lies the fundamental difference between a man and a woman, I thought.  First of all, men are lazy, and don't want additional responsibility to manage extra items in a cramped apartment.  I don't know how women get that extra energy to maintain what I would consider them to be unwanted items. As my friend put it recently, "It doesn't matter what they buy man.  It hurts the most, when they place the painting at two different positions in the living room and expect you to opine which of the two places is the most favorable to hang the painting.  I just can't take that."

For me, over the years, one of the things I have found most difficult to throw out is the collection of books.  In the Kindle age, it is not hard, space consuming to maintain an e-library.  But, what about those books which you have bought over a period of time? There is this emotional attachment that has developed along with the dust and cobwebs.  I certainly don't regret taking my RK Narayan collection or The Complete Collection of Sherlock Holmes among the many others, because these are books that I have read multiple times over a period of time.  But, there are some books that I have not even opened. The smudges of the fingers on the title page may exist because of the transfer of location, but beyond that, it is a brand new book on the inside.  I haven't opened them in years, and I am pretty confident that I will not read them ever.  But, as soon as I make a mental note of taking the book out of my book shelf, emotionally, I feel like a criminal for even having thought about it.  In the end, the books remain and follow us from one location to the other, yearning and begging to be read some day.  But, then, I know, human mind is changing constantly.  You never know when you need something until you actually need them (thankfully, I apply this logic only to books).  I reassure myself superficially, and with extra care (whatever that means in the world of dust and cobwebs), preserve these books.

I look at some of the boxes she has packed.  I look at my wardrobe collection stuffed into a box, and then her collection stuffed into boxes.  I look at her.  She looks at me.  I do what any sane man will do in these times.  I keep my mouth shut and move on to the next box.


  1. Nice post da. As we start to pack to move to Seattle, I am sure we will have the same conversations with the same result :)

    1. Thanks da. Have fun with your Seattle move.

  2. Ha ha ha .Nice one