The art of los­ing things

Friday - - Humour - Suresh Menon is a writer based in In­dia. In his youth he set out to change the world but later de­cided to leave it as it is

My wife calls it the Ber­muda Tri­an­gle. This is the drawer that has im­por­tant things like files that have im­por­tant things like birth cer­tifi­cates, the pass from Rahul Dravid’s last in­ter­na­tional cricket match at Lord’s, de­gree cer­tifi­cates, a let­ter from John Updike (which may be a fake, but I don’t want to find out), bills from lo­cal book­shops, a bot­tle cap and vis­it­ing cards among other things.

“If you want to get rid of any­thing, put it in there, and it dis­ap­pears,” says my wife with the tired air of one who has said it a thou­sand times be­fore, and no longer thinks it is funny.

She’s right. I can no longer find any of the items de­tailed above – ex­cept the bot­tle cap, which some­how sur­vived and is now a piece of his­tory for having done so.

Cre­ative clut­ter, I call it, giv­ing it a spin that might fool peo­ple who like al­lit­er­a­tive ax­cuses or el­lit­er­a­tive ex­cuses. But that doesn’t help when you need to find an im­por­tant let­ter or an in­voice or a driv­ing li­cence. For years I have been putting out the story that I don’t drive be­cause I find it be­neath me in­tel­lec­tu­ally, but the fact is I can never find my driv­ing li­cence. I gave up driv­ing, rather than have to look for it in my Ber­muda Tri­an­gle.

Be­fore fly­ing off for a hol­i­day, our fam­ily bonds in a unique way – each one of us is as­signed a ge­o­graph­i­cal re­gion of the house and given a cou­ple of hours to find our pass­ports.

I am happy to re­port that the Ber­muda Tri­an­gle is not unique to my desk or set of draw­ers at home. I find the same bot­tom­less pit ex­ists in Lon­don or New York or any of the more ad­vanced coun­tries where we hap­pen to hol­i­day. There is thus a travel-to bond­ing and a re­turn-from bond­ing.

Some­times I wake up in a sweat at night won­der­ing what would hap­pen

The Ber­muda Tri­an­gle is not unique tomy desk at home; it ex­ists in all the coun­tries we hol­i­day in

if my drawer be­gan to re­turn all the things it had swal­lowed up. Sud­denly I would find the geog­ra­phy an­swer pa­per of a test I did in grade 3, shoes I had lost in school, a girl­friend or two I haven’t met since we parted ways in col­lege, a book telling me that clut­ter was not good and per­haps the pet cat who was given up for lost some 30 years ago.

Luck­ily, it is now im­pos­si­ble to open a sin­gle drawer, as each is jammed with stuff in its own unique way. When my time comes, I shall have a hair­cut, brush my teeth, wear my best shirt and jump into one of th­ese – and dis­ap­pear for­ever amongst the bills and letters and cer­tifi­cates and bot­tle cap.

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