Monday, October 3, 2011

Obsessed compulsive hoarders

I grew up in a family of hoarders. Hoarding stuff that meant useless to the world was a hobby at my home. My dad collected miniature liquor bottles and DVD’s, Audio cassettes and Electronic items. My mom collected plastic covers, bottles and cardboard boxes. Dad’s collection cost us a lot but mom’s was a harmless hobby. My sister collected stickers like Barbie and other cartoons. She also had a fetish for cute stuff like small fancy pins and hairclips and bindis and you know- the cute- stuff. My brother was so frustrated to collect something to join the mad family tradition; he kept oscillating between WWF cards and stickers. I inherited my dad’s stamp collection, mom’s coin collection and a fervent fetish for perfume bottles. And till date I beg, borrow and even steal for stamps.

I for once never realized how odd it was to live in a family of hoarders as one. We kept teasing and screaming at each other belittling each others collections while the fact was that we all found some sanity in hoarding. This sudden realization dawned to me last Sunday when I used a plastic cover as a garbage bag. I had a wail a shrieking one from the bed. It was my hubby mumbling some bunkum to a plastic cover. “I will rescue you, you are so pretty “, he said first. “ How could you do this to my precious cover?”, he asked me. I have seen him have such bouts of fits before so I never found it amusing these days. But he was dead serious and upset at me for using a beautiful, sturdy, long lasting ( all words used by him) plastic cover as a garbage bag. He was upset at my demoting a fancy cover to the rank of a garbage cover.

My hatred for plastics and cardboard boxes culminated after our marriage when I saw my husband’s collection of polythene bags treasured since years. I was appalled when he asked the packers to pack the covers carefully. The men gave me a sneer and I realized we had a new member to our family of hoarders.

I still have numerous cardboard boxes tucked into the lofts waiting to be let out but my hubby believes they will be of some use some day. Such is his passion for plastic covers he has segregated them in different locations hiding the coveted ones from me. He even contemplates exchanging them with my mom the queen of hoarders at Cochin. My mom often justifies herself saying the plastics are reused and she does not buy new ones from shops. She packs her veggies and innumerable other hoarded stuff in these bags and mind it no one who ever asked her for a polythene cover went empty handed. My mom often called us and boasted about how she made 100 bucks selling plastics. And my husband would swell with pride and congratulate mom all the while giving me a “ you –never- appreciate- this- sort of – things ,look.

Such predicaments show their true love for plastics. A love I cannot fathom, a love that irritates my aunts who burn up all my mom’s hoarded stuff at the best opportunity.

But then I wonder how would I feel if I was accused for being married to my stamp collection? or books for that matter. But even in the midst of all the chaotic packing and unpacking, We have, you would be elated to watch these two individuals ( my mom and my hubby) silently, nonchalantly, unhesitantly folding the plastics into three or two folds.And I ask myself what pleasure does one get by sorting plastics? And I can see them talking to the polythene bags already. Thank god mom finally got her friend and fellow hobbyist to hoard and black market polythenes and plastics.

I secretly pray that these genes don’t carry their hoarding segments to the next generation.

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