24 dinner plates, 25 dessert plates, 28 glasses, 11 sheets, 9 bedcovers, 10 pillows and that’s a start.
I was moving from one city to another. I won’t lie, I wasn’t really thrilled by the sheer volume of the material possessions that I had hoarded during six years of my life at a place which I knew was my temporary home. I looked closely at the seemingly unending rows of things. Many were duplicates. Most of them were bought and forgotten about. Till that day when I had to pack my bags.
When pushed to the corner of the room, both metaphorically and literally, I realised there are things that I really want. A cup of coffee or tea; the luxury of curling up in my favourite chair with a book or with my treasured Kindle; looking out at nature from this cosy corner of the world. The excitement and/or joy at the probability of experiencing these tiny pleasures revealed to be manifold. I felt the deep urge to achieve these pleasures.
The tangible sense of achievement that dawns when one is able to feel the pulse of his/er/their own existence lies in experiencing life. Living is experiencing. Material things like the innumerable cutlery I used to own at one point in my life can or can not be carried forward. But I can tell my son stories of my adventures and misadventures. Through this process of shared experiences, maybe my son will gain a new vision of life.
This desire to delve into the core of desire is however not solely altruistic. Gaining a sense of letting go is my way of investing time and efforts in intangibly precious things, like, researching on flamingos; following sunsets; and chasing squirrels in a highly inappropriate manner.
And here, I digress.
The Tiny House movement in Europe, United States of America, Australia, and New Zealand amongst others, had actually made me consider this way of life prior to my scandalous self-revelation of being a hoarder. The mantra of this movement is that an individual can thrive even when fitting all of their unique possessions in a tiny space not more than 400 odd square feet.
This is exactly the opposite of the way of life where most of us are going for larger living spaces, then filling up these spaces with expensive furniture and state of the art utilities and footing huge bills. Sometimes individuals even slide into debts in order to maintain this façade of living well.
But then, what is living well?
Many resources on this pale blue dot are limited. Hence, it is essential that we, the present generation of decision makers, choose to reduce our footprints. We could use more second-hand things, re-use before refuse, and the most important thing- nurture. We need to nurture planet Earth, the next generation Earthlings and ourselves.
The pleasure of nurturing is that it has a cascading effect and in the memory of this speck of dust in the universe, we will continue to live on in the communal memory forever.
After all, who does not want to live king-size forever?
Debalina Das is the creative non-fiction editor of The Pine Cone Review. Coming from a Bengali Middle Class comparatively progressive family, the opportunities to visit, stay and volunteer in Denmark, Switzerland, USA and India have allowed her to envision the world from different perspectives. This exposure to the local languages, art, food, homes, textiles, society and beliefs of a cross-section of society has curated her interests and broadened her horizons. All these have taught her to never carry an umbrella, get wet, be confident in yoga pants, bake like Nigella, treasure the content and not worry about the fluff.