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A collaboration over too much coffee.
coffee and pen

06 October, 2005

My keepsake box

My friend's elderly aunt had a Keepsake Box. It was filled with vague
- unrelated things. Only she knew the significance of the various
knick-knacks the box carried. When questioned - she gently used to
take the precious object out of my hands and tenderly put it back in
the box with a mysterious smile.

"Just something a friend gave me", she would murmur. I was in love
with that box and the exquisite junk that was stored in it. It had a
faint smell of old 'Attar'.

I have seen a lot of 'Keepsake Boxes' since then. Each one of them
filled with truly fascinating and weird stuff. Old letters, notes,
counterfoil of a movie ticket, dried roses, handkerchieves - are easy
enough to understand. But I really get curious about a bit of pencil,
an eraser, a piece of ribbon (wrapped around a present I suppose),
shiny wrappers of chocolates, only ONE ear ring - truly and mostly
useless stuff. But every one of these were precious for the memories
attached. The owners of these treasure troves can spend hours going
through the box and reliving each moment.

I find it difficult to relate with this passion to relive your past
through keepsakes. I am a person who merrily throws away old letters,
presents, greeting cards, travel mementoes to the acute dismay of my
more sentimental friends. As soon as the moment is gone, keepsakes
become junk. I am generally known to be a totally non senti-slab of
granite. Infact, friends have now stopped giving me any presents - even on
my birthday.

Lately I have discovered joys of writing. I am still very new to this
game. What fascinates me is the stories that are inside my mind. Now
that I have the eyes to see things, like the boy in the movie Sixth
Sense- 'I can See Stories' ! People, situations, things I have seen
ages ago and people I have met and forgotten completely have started
emerging through these stories. Whenever I write I like to figure out
WHO is person is. Then a shadowy face or a name comes out from my

Recently I wrote about Character called Tito. Everyone seemed to like
that story and wanted to know who Tito was. I was nonplussed. I didn't
know where he had come from. But then I realized Tito was a cousin,
who was something of a Don Quixote with me playing his
willing/unwilling sidekick.

It's almost like sitting with my keepsake box. Names, faces, event,
incidents, I am learning to mix and match them and create a character.
That's when I realised whether we intend to or not we all end up with
a keepsake box.