Yesterday was one of those days when nothing seemed to be going right. I needed a break but had no option but to sit at home. I scanned the empty room and decided to do the thing we always thought was a punishment as kids. Cleaning Out The Closet.
The moment I opened it something fell and whacked me on my head .I cursed under my breath. It was a GI Joe, its legs tied with a string and a battle cat tagging along with it which my little one must have hidden from his elder sibling.
knew it was going to be a time-consuming and overwhelming task but I had all the time in the world.
Two years back I was gifted a book by Louise Hay and it changed my perception of the clean up act that I had detested for so long. She says, “Cluttered closets mean a cluttered mind. As you clean the closet, say to yourself, ‘I am cleaning the closets of my mind.’ The universe loves symbolic gestures.”
It made a huge impact on me and now every time I feel out of control of my life or feel that everything is getting on top of me, I go clean out a closet. It is like decluttering our minds and our lives.
Slowly my bed was covered with piles of clothes, letters, boxes, trinkets I never knew existed. A soft bundle with a tag baby clothes’ and some paperbacks tied up with a red string lay behind the clothes. I looked closely “Albatross book of living verse” the top book said .I smiled. It was a gift from my mother. This book had been given to her by my grandfather when she was young girl.
Sometimes we find skeletons in our closets, things we never wanted the world to see. Buried in the deepest, darkest side of the closet, forgotten even by the owner, lie memories of yesteryear. Lurking in one corner of the shelf was an envelope tagged pix. I was not sure what secret it held for the writing was not mine. I decided to place it along with other to be checked’ stuff.
The closet was practically empty and I decided to replace the paper on the shelves too, under the last shelf were two thousand rupee notes crisp and new. I was ecstatic as if I had won a lottery. The shadow of loneliness was already replaced by the ray of hope. I grinned and tucked away the treasure in my pocket.
I made myself a hot cup of fresh coffee and settled down to rummage through memory lane.
First was the baby clothes bundle. I opened it and found little clothes. My dresses when I was one year old. I found my traditional lehnga (a long skirt) and a short blouse with it. There was also a lemon yellow sweater which had my initials on it. I fondly held the clove smelling clothes and imagined how I must have looked wearing them.
Something was shinning under the second layer of cloth and I discovered my elder son’s first birthday dress, another traditional Indian attire, dhoti and kurta with violet colored tiny brocade jacket, with zari work on it. It looked lovely as the sun rays fell on its shimmering silvery threads. We had brought it especially for the occasion. I remembered how he had posed for the photographs, his dimpled cheeks flushed with joy.
Carefully I wrapped the memories back and tied the knot.
The kashmiri walnut box held some dried flowers and notes along with a few silver ear rings and old B&W pictures of my childhood. There were some letters which still had the fragrance of the love that I had shared and treasured even after it faded away from my life. I looked out of the window at the swaying laburnum tree and closed my eyes. A silent tear fell on the pink envelope. I tucked the things back in the box, tearing off the unwanted papers, some old bills, letters and statements of bank.
I undid the string to keep the poetry book aside, deciding to read it later in the day. A book mark fell on the ground. A work of art by my little one. I placed the smiling faces and rainbow back in the book.
Now was the turn to discard the heaps and heaps of unwanted clothes. I had already planned to give them away to some NGO. Pants, dresses, coats, sweaters and skirts all went into a big bag.
As the French say,
“What you keep rots; what you give flourishes.”
In the process a lovely black dress emerged .Something I used to wear when I was thin as a twig. I laughed as I held it against me. It also had matching undergarments which seemed as if they were made especially for a designer Barbie doll. Laces and net and size zero.
A bag revealed assorted colorful socks and belts which for some reason I had not discarded for years. One throw and basket .They all went into the trash bag. I instantly felt better .It is amazing how a little act of cleaning up can change the way you look at life.
Neatly I arranged all the clothes, shoes, purses and bags back into the gleaming white clean closet and felt proud of my efforts. Once everything was set inside my eyes fell on the envelope tagged pix’.
Something was not nice about the thick brown paper envelope and I opened it with curious hands. Twenty four snaps of my hubby with his girlfriend stared back at me. I made a collage on the bed and stared at the colorful smiling faces without blinking my eyelids.
For a moment my legs went weak and I held the chair next to me. Then slowly, I collected myself and placed all the snaps into the envelope. Some things are better buried deep inside the dark realms of the closet. I tucked it at the deepest deep of the top shelf. I gathered the torn letters and placed them in a plastic bag, it was time to bury the past and move on.
I felt happy to see a neat and less crowded closet with more empty spaces just like in my heart and mind.