It was the day after I got home after 2 months. Enough time had passed for amma to pass over the motherly benevolence that separation kindles in her and order me to move my rear end once in a while and clean my room to get it painted. I dragged myself upstairs for an hour of rigorous cleaning to dodge further comments about the size of my immobile butt.

The task which lay waiting for me pounced on me unawares like Calvin’s striped buddy. There were desk draws to be emptied, their surprised eight-legged occupants to be banished, moth balls to be re-populated and heaps of rubbish to be thrown out…

Half an hour later, as I still lay on my bed contemplating the task before me, I heard somebody climb up the stairs. I jumped up and pulled a draw and emptied it on the floor, to the amusement of the painter who came to fetch a new bucket of paint. I resigned myself to sorting out the junk.Paper, balls of thread, paper, old toys, a shoe of a doll, paper, video games, paper, paper, paper…There, a box full of old earrings, another one of bangles which sis wore for her Bharatnatyam .

I ran my fingers on a bottle full of red sand which she had collected from the beaches of Kanyakumari. Pencil box in the shape of a bus, ruler which showed a different picture when tilted, my first jigsaw puzzle! Sis’ first pair of glasses!! Horrific now! A purse containing old used stamps once jealously guarded; now fading just like the memory of them.

Most of the inhabitants of the old desk went in the rubbish pile and some rare lucky ones made it to the bag aimed for attic. Its contents, once the pinnacle of a young girl’s thoughts, thus RIP ing.


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