I was once a collector. I collected everything one could possibly imagine of and also couldn’t imagine of. I don’t know why I collected, but I did as a child with the hope of thinking that it will be used, someday in the distant future. Or I would need at a crucial moment in my life and when I realised that I had it with me, I would be able to pat myself on the back and say, “Atta, girl”.
This fascination of collecting things was something I cultivated as a child. Before starting “big” school, I would collect rocks, leaves and random elements of nature that I would later be disappointed to have found decayed despite the care I gave them. When I was a little older, my sister and I started collecting stamps. The stamps came down from my grandmother and back in the 90s, we had many relatives living abroad as well. Of course the Internet was still taking form here in sunny Lanka that we would still write each other. When a letter arrived, we will carefully tear out the bits of envelope containing the stamp and let it stay afloat on a little Astra cup filled with water. The next day, we would go back to the Astra cup and claim our precious little stamp. My sister and I categorised the stamps as per the order of countries, which we in turn listed out in alphabetical order.
Funnily enough, I still have our stamp albums sitting with me.
As I grew older and was able to read and write in incorrect English, I would document things. I spoke of this once before if I recall correct. The elements of nature that I once collected as a four-year old was now replaced by airplane tickets and entrance passes or the first plastic spoon we ate from when we had ice cream while Bangkok in 2004. These little bits and bobs were also accompanied by photographs that later found themselves put in with the keepsake souvenirs and notes from each day, into what travel bloggers would now refer to as a “travel diary”. I did this for about two trips in total. There was no need for me to continue working on these diaries manually as in the mid 2000s, the Internet was a big part of my life and I started blogging.
There was this blog I started in 2003 however, I think I deleted that WP username because of well, I honestly don’t even recall what.
However, as I grew older and circumstances overtook one after the other and I had to leave to India and I realised that these collections were not a practical thing. I simply couldn’t take everything with me.
It was sometime between packing to leave for university and the completion of my first year in India and coming back to Sri Lanka did I start to realise the gravity of these “collections”.
It was also about the same time that I lost my sense of sentiment.
The gravity of these collections was suddenly a burden to me. Since that day where I began unpacking the things that remained in boxes since moving into a new house I kept asking myself, “Why do I have so many things?” It’s something I struggle with even today and I constantly find myself wanting rid myself of clothes, books, jewellery and things I own.
I am often told that some of the decisions I make and the paths I choose and some elements of the lifestyle I lead are very attuned to the philosophy of Buddhism. And this was even before my yoga days.
Of course don’t get me wrong. I am neither no saint nor a Buddhist and a part of me still likes bling and other materialistic aspects. I have not yet renounced all the worldly possessions and attachments and dear to me and truth be told, I still do buy “material” things for me to use and sometimes to just please myself. However, while purchasing these items there is this little voice in my head that surprisingly calms me with a “nothing lasts forever” or “it’s okay if you lose this” tag.