Saturday, July 16, 2005

collector's edition

i can imagine this like i was there shooting it all on home video. in one of those triasic or mesozoic or some other era my ancestor along with his fellow neanderthals through luck and sheer stupidity managed to stun a huge brachyosaurus. the giant lizard which was chewing placidly on the leaves from some tree was shocked when a group of tiny humanoids jumped from somewhere making guttural noises that unknown to them consisted of the choicest bad words in dino lingo. like any garden variety dinosaur it should've normally responded with a sweep of its tail knocking attackers of their feet,but now it was confused. its tiny brain, unable to decide between responding to those bad words in kind and giving a command to its tail to thwack the neanderthals (my ancestor included), went into overload, burst a few arteries and succumbed to internal haemorrhage. while the other neanderthals harvested the meat ,most of which would go waste because they chose to invent fire before ziploc bags, my ancestor after having a small bite was busy scavenging for the 113th neckbone from the skeleton. on finding it he carefully and clinically jumped on either side and then hit away with a club till he was able to separate the neckbone. he then lifted it and added it to his velociraptor skin pouch. for you see he was one of the earliest to take to a hobby. he was a bone collector (no reference to that serial killer movie) .

this trait had passed unhindered through generations of wiser men and women till one day (in the past of course) it surfaced. out of the blue i decided i had to start a collection of marbles. those glass spheres were like tiny worlds that were begging to be discovered. i was fairly good at the game but i think i played it only so i could buy more of these. i had a large collection in various sizes and colors. some of these were blue or green ones that one could also find inside those ancient soda bottles. one just had to admire the ingenious way by which the makers had sealed those bottles with those marbles and had ensured that no eight year old, with the singular aim of increasing his marble collection, could possibly extract them. thus a 50 paise panneer (rosewater aka attar ppl..not that cardiac clogging cottage cheese) soda would surely result in a sticky but fragrant t-shirt for the rest of the day as i quite literally showered in that sweet stuff in my hunt for the precious orb of glass. the last time i counted i was upto 102 of them stored in a piggy bank that was actually quite representative of my savings.

when i grew up (not a lot) i quickly jumped onto the bandwagon that many a indian kid was already riding. coin collecting and stamp collecting were the hobbies du jour. i took to stamp collecting after i discovered a huge cache at an older cousin's place who was only too happy to give it all away as he had other "interests" to occupy his time. so without effort i had a huge stamp collection that was neatly organized already. i'd pester our neighbors ,whose daughter was abroad, everyday to see if she'd sent them a letter and had a hand in several shady dealings in school. the dealers would almost always meet up under a tree or a corner of the playground. out came the stamps from the middle of textbooks or dirty pockets. after a quick recce of the other one's offerings and a nod to seal the deal the stamps would quickly exchange hands. one had to be extremely clever to avoid being fooled by the "fakes" for once the deal was closed that was it. the stamp mafia had its own set of laws and no one dared to break it. i got a stamp album that alloted pages to each country , intending to populate it with my collection but grew tired of maintaining it soon and it was mostly empty after Australia.

the whole collection/hobby thing was becoming less fun and i gave it one last try with the bus ticket collection. frankly i dont remember why i even started collecting them. i guess i was trying to be the anti-conductor...he would tear out the tickets and i would collect them and create books organized by denomination. my noble intention to recycle the tickets by selling them back to the pallavan transport corporation was shattered, rather bit, into pieces by a family of rats. they deemed their need for comfortable bedding more important than my intention and that was the end of that collection.

people collect all sorts of things these days. everything that was ever made before 2000 has become a collectible and thanks to ebay even toasted bread has a significant value. i stopped collecting bus tickets after the rat event . the cta issues a silly magnetic card that neither me nor the rats particularly favor. but i'm still collecting memories, real and imagined, by the busload and filing them all away. i'll give you a couple of guesses to figure out where they end up eventually.

18 comments:

V said...

Good one as always..

True@the stamp collection..That seems to be the only hobby the Indians are supposed to, or otherwise have..I tried to continue with my brothers, but blat, never actually took off..

I collect things I get when I travel..Like the stuffed toy with McDonald's happy meal..well McDonald's hadn't come to my part of the world then, so getting one from Belgium was woohoo..And then there's the pebbles from under the Eiffel Tower..Tickets and such..

One good thing about collecting such stuff, from your travels, is that it sort of reminds you of all the times you had.

But then the downside is that, it sort of restricts it to only the adventures you had. You cannot add new ones. Feel it to the full extent. I suppose that's why memories sort of keep us rooted to the ground, to this world. Maybe that's why we are afraid of letting go.

As always, keep 'em comin'! :)

thotpurge said...

the funny thing is as you keep collecting those memories-real and imagined..the lines begin to blur and you sometimes cannot tell which ones are real or if they are indeed better...but they're sure signs that its been a good ride!

catcharun said...

@V:
world traveler V eh? yeah u r right abt storing memories in materials. there is this old spice ad that talked abt scent being the strongest sense tied to memory and i've found it to be true. maybe i shud try sniffing inside my "india suitcase" for my next post :)

but i disagree with the "rooted to the ground part". i think my memories release me from the present. of course the moment i start reminiscing my rabid imagination takes over, painting a technicolor image where the real B&W memory was . i'll stop analysing my thoughts before u think i'm a perpetually stoned junkie

@thotpurge : is that sufficient as a reply to ur comment ?

V said...

Totally agree with the line blurring part..that's what I meant..when there are just memories and no materials to remind you of thejourney, gradually you tend to incorporate a few tid-bits that didn't quite happen..maybe just a sensation...I've never been good at explaining lol..
And as for 'rooted to the ground', I just meant that when the material takes over the memory, you fear to feel free..imagine and let go as in let go of the world..:)..
If sniffing your suitcase helps you aggravate the itch, works for us!!! :D

Anonymous said...

get in line, V, or did you, like the others before you think you were the only one ;-)

V said...

I, very often, tend to miss a whole lot of things in between. I suppose this is one instance of that happening. *lost loster losted*

PS: I don't get hints and subliminal messages either. :S

catcharun said...

i dont understand either
@anon : what line ?

Anonymous said...

perhaps too late to leave a comment on an old[er] post.. but anyway.. i couldn't resist after i saw panneer soda being mentioned. a friend and i have enjoyed many a panneer soda [sorta like a cold beer for the chamathu kids?:)] under the hot chennai sun. and i still dont know how they get the goli in the soda. any one care to explain?

-- a different anonymous

catcharun said...

the geek in me tells me it must be some sort of a vaccuum device that fills in the soda while the goli is in the 'pit' and then sucks it up to create a nice seal

the willy wonka version of course is that millions of tiny oompa-loompas are dropped into the liquid that fills the bottle. then these tiny oompa-loompas swim to the surface, roll the goli all the way to the top and hold it there till u push the goli down and swallow them all in a gulp..
those oompa-loompas are a scary lot..orange skin, green hair and all

Anonymous said...

what 'vacuum' device can 'fill' something?

how about the glass bottle top is ever so slightly expanded by heat on the top/ neck alone, the goli inserted and then cooling makes the bottle come back to original width and holds the goli in place?

anyway, reminds me of jeff foxworthy's observations :)

catcharun said...

see if this explains anything..via google :
http://community.webshots.com/photo/217552482/217552482HZAecj

how will i know how a vaccuum device will fill in a goli soda bottle..it was just a theory..the glass expanding theory seems way more tougher to implement .. i've also noticed a rubber washer in a groove near the bottle opening which makes me think it must be some sort of an air tight seal

foxworthy..stand up comedy..damn i've been missing a lot due to lack of basic cable..on the flip side
i can predict the guests on jay/conan/letterman a week in advance

Anonymous said...

thanks much, but that picture didn't tell me a thing.. except that they _really_ need to wash that mixie [blender whatever]...

pray tell us, who'll be next thursday's guest on leno?

HAVE to get back to work now..

Anonymous said...

Foxworthy in Chennai was awesome. Nice one anon. anon.

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My own website is about coin collector

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