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DANCING DIVORCEE: The Objects of Memory

Unlike relationships, objects don’t disintegrate because of a change of mind
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First Published: Thu, Jan 03 2013. 12 34 PM IST
The same objects that make a marriage special, might also serve as crude reminders of the past. Photo: Mint
The same objects that make a marriage special, might also serve as crude reminders of the past. Photo: Mint
Updated: Thu, Jan 10 2013. 12 49 PM IST
Unlike relationships, objects don’t disintegrate because of a change of mind, a terrifying situation or a breakdown of trust. They remain, till there is a concrete reason to destroy them or they have lost the battle against the elements. One such concrete reason is a divorce.
Have you ever thought about the number of objects that go into making a marriage special? The wedding dress, the rings, that big fat wedding album with the cheesy decoration. The sarees you wore for the blessing ceremony, for the reception, for the ‘going to his house’ occasion and a zillion other special day dresses. All of it is worn with matching jewellery befitting that of a new bride. And all of it will get a memory encoded in it, that will be refreshed every time you look at it.
After my divorce papers came through, I had gone home and was rifling through my mum’s cupboard. There, I stumbled upon my wedding saree, wrapped carefully in muslin cloth. Immediately, I remembered the day I bought it with my mum and aunt. We had walked into twenty shops and I was rejecting everything that had on display. I wasn’t going to compromise and buy something that I just half-liked for my ‘big day’. My family was slowly losing their patience with this picky bride to-be.
My aunt suddenly remembered the saree shop where she had bought her wedding saree 30 years ago. We tracked it down, the man who helped her choose, helped me and I found my perfect saree - not gaudy, simple, elegant and something that would stand the test of time. It was so meaningful and I remember this warm, fuzzy glow of perfection enveloping me, where all my complaints about the world were nonexistent.
Now, here I am, looking at this same saree, being reminded of how much effort I took to buy the damn thing. It had definitely stood the test of time, lasting longer than the marriage. I immediately went into spring cleaning mode. I couldn’t afford to start bawling at the sight of an earring. My mum was instructed to give away all those sarees. Getting rid of the jewellery was easier, she just exchanged it for other pretty baubles she liked.
The wedding album proved to be a monster to destroy. Over 400 photographs in a book thick enough to kill someone. We didn’t want to dump it in the dustbin for I had visions of ragpickers going through my wedding photos and giggling. The raddiwala was ruled out as my dad used to help his son with his school and we really didn’t want to be the highlight of their conversations. Burning was out of question in the flat.
Finally, I sat down and shredded the whole thing into a thousand billion tiny fragments with a scissors. No, it wasn’t therapeutic and my wrist and fingers hurt like hell. Then, call me paranoid, I further mixed up all the pieces, so that even the world’s most accomplished jigsaw player couldn’t put them together and then divided them into four different garbage bags. The next day they were all gone.
Dancing Divorcee is a weekly happy, sad, funny, obnoxious blog on the misadventure called divorce. It will appear every Thursday. Arathi Menon is a dancing divorcee who also blogs, writes, tweets and repairs brands.
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First Published: Thu, Jan 03 2013. 12 34 PM IST
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