Saturday, July 18, 2015

Saying goodbye

How many of you have difficulty saying goodbye to objects? I do. I wear clothes until they really should not be worn at all. I hold on to gadgets long after others would declare them obsolete. I used never to give away books until I saw how much others yearned for them. And I have had cupboards built to house old letter and cards.

When I was really, truly young, out of every letter pad I bought, I kept one sheet for posterity. So obsessed was I over the idea of posterity, that I would date my book purchases with an 'AD' in order to help the material culture scholar of the future date my books to the right historical period--the period of purchase and enjoyment, not the period of publication, that is.

In recent times, I am learning that objects are no longer created for a lifetime's use--not shoes, not phone, not computers. And the idea of quick disposal (as in the earliest possible cremation of a body) is acquiring great appeal. For reasons of economy and in order to leave a diminishing footprint on my world, I am beginning to try and limit my wants--a lifetime of financial struggle and delayed gratification greatly help.

I am beginning to think of tearing up all those diaries and letters--the historian is losing this battle to the person who wants to say, let me be gone with the  moment. I think that perhaps I am learning detachment.

And then today, copying files out of my previous laptop, I feel miserable that I am forcing that friend into retirement. The Toshiba laptop has stood me in good stead for almost eight years. Eight years of photos and blogging. Eight years of Prajnya planning--all of Prajnya's funtional life actually. Eight years of research and consultancy projects as varied as can be. And many years of teaching myself how to write for newspapers and websites--as opposed to academic writing and blogs. I feel like I am betraying a really good friend. And this, despite the fact that I will still use that laptop for work meetings on Skype--at least for that.

I guess I am not even on the road to detachment yet! After all, last year, when I gave away three boxes of clothes that had been in storage for 12 years, I took photos of everything that wasn't coming home with me.

Parting, even with (especially with) objects, is indeed such sweet sorrow.