I’m sitting in an almost empty living room. Just a couple of chairs and end-tables. The rest of the room stretches out, an inviting bare expanse in which our voices echo.
Our sofa has become sick. Sick of me, I think; I keep sitting on it the whole day! So it’s off to the sofa-doctors, and we are left with this lovely space that makes me breathe in more deeply.
Why do we accumulate so much stuff? Even as I write this, I can see two whole cupboards of stuff we’ve picked up on our travels. Kerala, Goa, London, Lucerne. The Channapatna doll, the tribal from Andamans, the shell from Rameshwaram, the camel from Rajasthan. Stuff I don’t honestly care about. Stuff I would never miss if I gave it all away. Memories? Yeah, they’re in my head, whatever’s memorable, that is.
We clear out our clutter regularly. Give away clothes, books, pots and pans, toys, linen, you name it. Yet it grows, like bacteria multiplying in a culture. Jumps out at you when you open cupboards, keeps you awake at night.
When my uncle passed away, it opened my eyes. An entire house reduced to a single suitcase, most of which was trash. Anything of use that he possessed disappeared swiftly. Nothing could be taken along for the final ride anyway. A lesson worth learning.
The sofa will come back and occupy all the blank space. I will sit on it, day after day, looking at all the stuff around me. There’s no way I’m going to get rid of all of it. Someone else can do that after I’m gone.