Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I love the smell of packing tape!

December has been insane! Arriving home after 10 days away in Delhi for the wedding, I suddenly realize that griha pravesh (house warming rituals) is in 20 days, not to mention the first “birthday party” for my little monkey, followed by packing and shifting house…yet again! (Something like my 40th house in 34 years, mind you).

As I am taping shut one of the innumerable boxes, my man sits there grinning his “nasty boy” smile. “tujhe bada maza ata hai na is kaam me (you really get a kick out of doing this...don't you)” he asks, and I pause to wonder why I love it. Yes, I love the smell of packing tape, the bustle of packing things … books, glassware, clothes, I love the ripping sound the tape makes as it comes off the spool, I love pretty much everything about moving, except for what it does to the energy levels of course.

Tiring though it is, and uprooting as it does, why do I still love the most obvious manifestation of a nomadic life? Well, come to think of it, why not? I love change, I love adventure, I love the renewal and rejuvenation of mind and spirit that any new life change brings. Having moved houses, and cities, frequently all my life, I can no longer even imagine living in the same house in the same city for decades on end! If nothing else changes, I will change the décor of the rooms, change the furniture around, or choose a different colour for the walls every few months.

Change is fantastic! It is the best anti ageing product ever invented. Bottleit up and retail it in one of those little red dabbas (on an aside here, why are anti ageing products almost all in red and white colour schemes?), and you could be a bulti billionaire overnight! My father is the youngest 62 year old that I know. No surprises there… he still changes jobs, and cities, at an almost alarming rate. Last year and a half alone has seen three!

Every packing up is the beginning of new possibilities. The anticipation, the suspense, the looking-forward-to-what happens next is the best part of shifting. It’s a great clutter eliminator as well. I find staying in one place for any length of time to be an open invitation to clutter. Things accumulate – pens without caps and caps without pens, things I “might” need “one day”, old beaten up utensils that are doing the job for now. And I find that all the good things I buy, glasses, crockery, fancy pots and pans stay packed ‘as is’ in their boxes, being saved for some other time when I have more need, more space, more something. Happens to everyone. I know families who have lived in the same house for 30 years, and have incredible amounts of accumulated clutter. Some have entire rooms dedicated to storing stuff they no longer need, and will never need again!

Every time I move house, I throw stuff away. Unbelievable amounts of crap gets chucked out, leaving my household leaner and meaner. Out with the old, in with the new! Stuff finally comes out of packages, and begins to be used. Old clothes, books, shoes, bags, bartan… all go out the door, making physical and mental space for change.

The way I see it, every major change is like a little rebirth. It is stagnation that makes me want to curl up and die. There is only so much of routine I can take, and so much isn’t very much in my case. Routine and boredom are the worst tortures I can imagine on a daily basis. Mental stagnation seems, to me, to be the worst possible punishment that can be inflicted on a person who likes to use their brains. I can buy books by the dozen, source music all day, but it’s the occasional big changes that really get my blood pumping.

That’s why I love the smell of packing tape. That’s why I adore the special glue smell of it, and the fantastic ripping sound it makes when it comes off the spool. That smell, and that sound, has always meant the start of a new adventure to me. It’s the final confirmation that a new chapter, good or bad, is about to begin.

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