Fuller Minds

Minds that are not always empty

Diwali Cleaning

As much as I wish I could have taken “the before” and “the after” pictures for this year’s deep house cleaning, I couldn’t. Mostly because the experience has been too tiring and time consuming for me to document the face-list, our house most desperately needed.

Reason why it was tiring and time consuming: like everybody else we have collected a whole lot of things in the house we would not even bother to look at twice when we are passing them by. So when the time came to empty each room for the white wash, we took hours on end to remove the things we have been hoarding over the years! It was due to this reason we were procrastinating and dreading the house cleaning. And to rub salt in wounds, the nature was giving us hard time too!

Day one of white wash and Hyderabad was hit with cyclone which left the city in floods! Effectively delaying our project: House’s Face-Lift! It took over a month to complete it after the start date.

Now, emptying the rooms was the easiest of the tasks. We just had to pack up all the things from each room which turned out to be a rigorous exercise for us, even if it took time. Real challenge was sorting through all the things. That was the most tiring experience of all! It was an everyday battle during the cleaning sessions, battle to throw away the useless things.

I understand the need to protect the antique pieces which were in your family for generations.

But, some of the unusable things?

Sigh!

A battle not won.

That said I am so glad we have discarded half the stuff we were not using to begin with.

We all have few things we consider special and want to use it only on special occasions. Rest of the time they act as museum pieces in our own homes. One such thing for us was our dinner set. This particular dinner set is almost a decade and a half old. Other families would have gone through at least three or four dinner sets during this time. That’s why I have decided to move the dinner set out of the dining room “museum” and into the regular use section in our kitchen. Mostly because the set is not going to make it into the Chowmahalla palace museum display after I die!

And the kitchen, over the years whenever I was cooking, I always complained about the placement of things. The things we need most on regular basis are placed in the unreachable places. Why? No one had an answer to that question too. Just to be clear, placement of things have been like this since 25 years, no matter how many times we have done the deep cleaning. This time around I made sure that is not the case.

And the unusable things we keep hoarding?

  • Bottles.

Lots of bottles! Why are we saving them? If someone in summer comes asking for water, we can give them in these bottles! The number of bottles we had, occupied an entire rack! So much space for things we are saving for strangers! Needless to say they are all gone now.

  • Plastic containers.

Almost a decade ago, we have decided – no plastic at home, at least for storing condiments and pulses.  Well, the condiments and pulses moved into their new homes of jars and steel containers. Only the plastic containers never made it out of our home. Again a rack of useless plastic containers! Why they didn’t make it out of our home? Our mother was attached to them and she couldn’t stand to dispose them. All this while we could have made space for our antique motor and pestle and Grinding mill stone which were lying on the kitchen floor!

  • Bags!

We have found more than twenty huge bags in different parts of our house that had more bags in them. Bags of different material: Cloth bags, paper bags. But the most annoying things were plastic bags, filled with more plastic bags inside. The only reason we keep storing them because: we might need them someday.

Did we discard them all like bottles and plastic containers? No.

Why?

Because, we need them someday. Sigh!

Win some, lose some.

It is not all bad things we found in the cleaning.

Cassettes.

Lots of them, which we have no idea how to play since our cassette player has given up on us years ago, they are now going to add to our antique collection in our attic.

A moment of silence for the cassettes!

All the stuff we keep right from our school days. The friendship bands, cards, scrapbooks. These are the nostalgic things we cannot get rid of.

The books, notebooks and text books, question papers from all the internal and external exams. What use do I have of those? They were occupying a major portion of our storage. My dad however, convinced me to keep the text books, because they are the only things that remind me that I have pursued engineering. But that’s not all I have kept, I kept the sheets of machine drawing (one of my favourite subjects in engineering), notebooks in which I have made illustrations during classes. They were sweet memories from the college days!

When you are deep cleaning your house even after a year, you are bound to find lost treasures in some or the other form. These treasures could be the most trivial things you left somewhere and forgot all about it. We found a lot of such treasures too. Starting with 500 rupee notes from envelopes randomly placed in our house! Before anyone gets excited, let me tell you Modi announced demonetization on 8th Nov 2016. And hence, these notes are going into our antique collection! Yes, our antique collection is growing.

Next set of treasure was in the form of Silver jewellery. Again, before anyone gets excited: no, we are not rich enough to leave silver jewellery lying around in our house. They were only lost jewellery which resurfaced now. More than the silver jewellery I was very happy to find the jewellery my sister made. So many earrings and hangings she made from the jewellery making kit. Some I even wore during my college days and forgot all about them.

This house cleaning session has refreshed a lot of memories with the treasures we found and given me a good workout for what it’s worth. I am sure many of the readers have had similar experience with this Diwali cleaning. Do share your experience if you were able to relate.

Saudhamini Mylaram

HR by profession. Reading has always been one of my favorite things to do apart from gardening, cooking and driving.

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