Discovering Lost Treasure

I go on a Diwali cleaning spree and take several trips down Memory Lane…

I had an amazing day today and I didn’t even touch my quilting.

Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is just around the corner and we decided, as a part of the annual cleaning spree, to finally have a look at the five large cartons and trunks of what we thought were old official papers to be sent for pulping. And look at what I found hidden there for the last fifteen years since they were packed!

First, a folder cover I embroidered at the age of twelve ( it was really filthy and has gone into the wash), but it was not the ugly folder that was important. In a pocket in that folder was a picture of my daughter, when she was just ten days old! How precious is that!?! We also discovered a bunch of these photographs taken on a holiday to South India, travelling from Delhi. I don’t remember seeing these, ever. We probably got a transfer out of Delhi immediately thereafter; these were packed and the wooden box never opened till today.

That photograph right on top has a story, which I love to tell. We were boating on this beautiful lake in Ooty when, right in the centre of the lake (probably right here), my husband, Rajeev, dropped something into the water. We later discovered that it was the key to the main door of our flat back home. As we landed home late in the evening when no locksmith was available, he had to break the door open with a kick (or several). You can imagine how effective this tale is in shutting him up when he is being particularly nasty about my carelessness, which is actually just the natural preoccupation of a creative mind. Or so I would like him to believe!

I also found my collection of Georgette Heyers, about 20 of them! I have since replaced a few, as I thought they were lost forever! My dozen or so volumes from the Pelican series on Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology and Psychiatry, which I had scrimped and saved to buy when doing my Masters and also believed were lost… Freud, R.D.Laing, Durkheim…do you suppose a library would want them?

I also found the book I had written for children when I was still in college and which was published in 1979 by the Children’s Book Trust, New Delhi. I had won the National Award for the Best Children’s Literature in English for this and I didn’t even have a copy!

(India) National Award for Best Children's Literature in English 1979
The great Shankar wanted to illustrate this himself, but fell ill.

I discovered a whole lot of letters and cards, including one drawn by a cousin when he was 7 years old. We lost him to a road accident some years ago, 3 weeks before he was to be married. Several letters – some from when we were in school together – from someone who was my best friend for forty plus years, but does not wish to talk to me now.

Let me end this happy-nostalgic post with a few pages of the first ever school project, on ‘My Family’, done by my 6-year old!  We are all there, the Dad – standing in front of his brown Maruti car – who plays with him, the mother who cooks for him,  the uncle who comes back home late from the factory every day, tha aunt who is a lecturer, the sister who loves him, brother ( cousin) who loves to eat chhole-bhature, the grand mom who tells him stories ( I wonder why there is a cat on her saree?), the grandfather who writes letters…

His family – in the eyes of a six- year old!

By the way, we also found a letter of advice written by the same grandfather to my son when he had just entered medical school.

So these were some of the lost treasures I discovered today.  Tell me, how does one throw away these things?

Author: Mads

In alphabetical order: daughter, mother, painter, philosopher, poet, quilter, seeker, wife...

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