ONE MAN’S FOOD….
One man’s food is another man’s poison.
How well I have realised the purport of this adage or the reverse of it !
When Ramu was in service, we would abhor accumulating luggage. Every time a posting came through, we had mounds of unwanted things to dispose of to get our luggage fit into our standard number of boxes.
During our stay in MAR Hostel barracks, I came to realise one day that our children had outgrown quite a few comics, books and toys. So, I put them all into a cardboard box and left them outside. Within no time, the box was empty, though I had to face the wrath of my neighbours, “you got rid of all your junk and our children have lovingly brought them into our houses!”
Likewise, when my daughter moved onto the first floor of my house to be with me in my twilight years, she found they had lots and lots to pack. Having been stay-putters in Bangalore for years, it was inevitable. Her mother-in law had collected many, many stainless-steel vessels (that was in vogue those days), crockery and fancy items from exhibitions. There were loads of gifts given to her husband when he retired from service and those given to her son (my son-in law) later when he retired. My daughter herself was an avid collector of dolls and curios. She had a big collection of bags, pens and files disbursed during all the seminars and meetings she had attended. How much can one display or use in a 3BHK flats? So, before shifting to Jayanagar after the demise of her in-laws, she got rid of quite a few of these in addition to furniture items, mattresses, carpets etc.
Even then, when she came here, there were 64 cardboard boxes of about considerable sizes apart from frig, furniture, TVs etc.
As she opened the boxes one by one- deciding what to keep and what to throw, I eyed them longingly and my mouth drooled over them. There were such beautiful, useful and attractive items which she was preparing to throw without demurring.
Then I told her,” Look, before you throw them, I want you to run them through me once. Then you can ask our maidservant if she wants to keep anything. Then only you can put them out for the garbage collector.”
So, by the time she was done with the 64 boxes I was richer by some thick, new stainless-steel vessels and lids, fancy baskets, dining table cloth, sofa-backs, sweaters, letter holders etc. My maid was the new, proud owner of office bags, fancy purses and footwear, dresses and sarees. The garbage collectors gleefully walked out with tons of cardboard, plastic and glass bottles, Tupperware containers, heaps of newspaper etc which they could exchange for money in a kabaadi shop.
Of course, my daughter has sweetly assured me that when my time comes to leave this world, she would not sentimentally hang on to any of my stuff but would put everything on sale, to which her brothers would thankfully accede to.
But still, I firmly believe, one woman’s garbage is another woman’s candy. Don’t you agree?
PS- Cartoon courtesy shutterstock.com