There is something about the odour that evokes a strong urge to go spring-cleaning; to rake out everything that clutters shelves and turns them into witches' cauldrons of mixed ingredients, simmering continuously, fuelled and fed by growing heaps of prized rubbish.
I have never found it easy to throw away things or memories. I can't point to a particular moment back in time and say that was when the accumulation began. Many cherished objects haven't survived, but with the amount of shifting we've done, moving across the country and through atleast three houses in every town/city, I am glad of what has remained. I collected letters and birthday cards; I have most of the letters my friend from Bokaro wrote me faithfully, starting when we were nine. I wasn't a very good correspondent, but her letters came to me with unfailing regularity, stickers and sparkly writing all over, much looked forward to and carefully treasured. Then there was (and is) the craze for stamps; I know my collection lies somewhere in a crinkled polyethene bag, and I'll be delighted to recover it, now that stamps are getting dearer. (To all those who still write me letters, thank you!)
There have been knick-knacks of all sorts, from sepia-tinted photographs and stickers to picture postcards and bookmarks (and books, of course!). I know I'm quite a nomad, but I can't stop collecting things. I need these chunks of memory to tell me where I've come from, what I've been, and what I need to retain as I grow older.
Who says you need to be old to reminisce? Touching twenty-five, I don't know how many years I have ahead of me. But I know I have enough to tell me who has come through life with me and stayed on. I've been to school, college and work, met many people, but managed to forge just about a handful of good, strong relationships. When changes occur, I don't want them to be so overwhelming that they'll erase the past altogether. It isn't right to forget where you've come from and the people you've shared the first genuine laughs with, no matter how much you've grown and evolved.