Friday, July 30, 2010

Unwrap the treasure trove

In every home there are things that are purchased primarily with the idea of not using them. This fact was brought home to me when I suggested the highly expensive silver tea-set on a silver salver bought a few years back should be trotted out now and then. This got raised eye brows from my husband, a "are you completely nuts?" look from Toshali and as expected a look of sheer excitement and pleasure from Bond!

The sparkling tea-set, after regularly exhausting 'Gerard Silver polish' to maintain the glory of the three piece set plus tray, sits proudly inside the side board. Never has tea been poured into the pot, milk into the jug or sugar into the bowl. I am told that such things are kept for 'special occasions', but nowhere is a 'special occasion' defined. I think tomorrow evening, I and Bond will make it a date with silver. I will seat ourselves on the opposite sides of the centre-table and pour tea from silver. That would be special enough for us!

The bar counter is full of crystal goblets, and 'Hard Rock Cafe' shot glasses. Each from a different country, each a memoir of a place visited. They sit too, waiting I suppose for the beautiful lips that visit our home, to touch their rims. But alas, the rims remain un-adorned. They are brought out only to be wiped and polished and put back in order to stare at the visitors who admire them from behind the glass barrier. The talk of bringing them out does not give raised eye brows, it gives a look of horror. Well he should know, he lugged them all the way from distant shores. He does make an attempt now and then, I must admit, but each time, he is thwarted with a caution. What if one breaks and the set is ruined. "Can you sit there comfortably waiting to see if some one drops it or the cleaner chips it washing up?" He asks. I think I can, but this question is one of those that does not await an answer, it just means the answer is NO. Well, Bond is too young to accompany me on this I plan on adorning the rims myself.

What about the limited editions MontBlanc pen? It has not seen how a paper looks like since it walked out of the store in 1999. Actually I am not sure, if it has ever seen what paper looks like. The list is endless, there are copper utensils that have been passed on only to be polished and kept aside, there is trousseau that was bought knowing well enough that I would not wear it beyond the month of my marriage, so they lie as well, draped in white muslin cloth in a cupboard somewhere. There are linens that await an important visitor too, only to be forgotten when the visitor arrives. The suit that was tailored and perfected after various rounds of boring trials, it hangs on a hanger in its leather case, only to be aired once every season. The bone china dinner set in a pattern of pink china roses lies in its original packaging still. The list is truly vast and endless.

Go on, admit it. Your house has suitcases full of good things you have squirreled away for another day, or what we call the right time. there is a real silliness in the saving up. Things get out dated, new models spring up, there are better things to buy in the stores, and then all of a sudden we are disillusioned with what we have, but have never used. take it out now before it becomes passe, it will never become an antique, let me tell you, it will just become outdated!

Hoard memories, they are worth polishing and preserving, the stuff that we buy..let's use them, if we don't break them, the packers certainly will one day!


Balachandran V said...

Yea, I am the first to comment! :D

I am sure tea in the silver cup would taste exactly the same as in your steel tumbler. You bought them not so that you can drink tea in it; you bought it for its beauty. The pleasure is from looking at it, being the proud owner of the scintillating silver set! Its utility begins and ends right there - being show-pieces.

Like some humans.

Aparna said...

I am smiling, reading Balachandran's comment above!

I do not have any silver tea set, but I do have some expensive wine goblets, again bought from foreign shores. I sometimes use them to serve water and juices to my children, the buyer of course is unaware of this. Please do not tell him.

rama said...

Use them, once you start using them, they don't need that much polishing and all, using them itself will keep them well polished and good. If things break it is alright for how can you buy new things if you are still hanging to the old. We can make place for new things only if the old is used and thrown off with the satisfaction that they have served their purpose.
Go have your date with your silver and crystals, they will love you for that, and you too will love them : it would be a win win situation.

PURN!MA said...

Happens all the time! Buy something on a whim n then let it stay forever unused! :)

Even when there are special occasions, we either forget to get those damned things out, or we say, next time ke liye rakhte hai!

and I totally agree with the gentleman above; he's put it amazingly well "Its utility begins and ends right there - being show pieces". Well said, Sir!

anilkurup said...

Being subject of show and having show pieces!
We all have some extend of vanity in us.
We only want to possess and that is the end of it.
Whether the object has any utility in our daily life is not the only reason we want and possess such articles. It is more for the feel of having it displayed. No harm I guess if one can afford things.

deeps said...

What is there is to be used else its value is nil …
However this post brought back memories of a poem that I had read somewhere …
“Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter: therefore, ye soft pipes, play on” from Ode on a Grecian Urn by Keats
Maybe each of these hoarded pieces have tales to tell that others know not, appreciate not ….

indranil said...

well i do keep picking up crystals and wine glasses. was skeptical about using them, but one day M threw caution to the winds and opened it up for all and sundry. the first day a French made whiskey glass was shattered by an over enthusiastic Bacchus induced joker but after that the going has been pretty ok... just that i ALWAYS do the cleaning of the crystals one is allowed to service them.

but of course a Cross pen gifted to me by paying astonishing prices in New York is still waiting for the last 5 years to have its gift wrap opened.

i still a bit hesitant to use with gay abandon things that i treasured while buying. it was bought with a reason and keeping it safe and secured possibly just respects the reason how ever antique and outdated it may be.

but you go ahead and have a ball.... as the first poem in J R R Tolkien's Hobbit goes

chip the glasses and crack the plates

blunt the knives and bend the forks

smash the bottles and burn the corks.....


BK Chowla, said...

Metals--gold ans silver--were there as a "security"for coming generations.That is why so much importance is given to these two metals during weddings.
Yes, in conservative homes, silver is used as a show piece too, but then the reasons are different.

RGB said...

Some pieces are just meant to be treasured or kept in the showcase as souvenirs or show-pieces, and some are meant to be used. So I guess it's just a choice we have to make, and the buyer gets to take the call! Some items may have been gifts, which are perhaps precious and priceless, not just for its price tag, but bcoz it means much more to us. Such items are worth treasuring!

The Holy Lama said...

As I don't have a great showcase, I usually refrain from buying the kinds you mentioned. But once in a while I do fall for some artefacts which we put it away in boxes to be showcased when we build a nice showcase. You are better off. At least you exhibit, even if you don't use it.

Destiny's child... said...

Things bought should be used but sometimes we derive the joy from simply possessing those things...

sujata said...

@Bala Yes it tastes exactly the same, and if it doesnt I can blame it on the remanants of the polish!! The last line of your comment is a killer line!

@Aparna trust me to spill the beans next time I set foot at your place.

@Rama yeah I agree, using a thing is valuing it!

@Purnima you are starting fresh, learn from not hoard, use it all!!

@Anilkurup what is possessing, if you dont feel it with your hands, let your friends enjoy it? Your kids will also end up possessing things rather than enjoying them when they grow up right? Its not worth it!

@deeps, always have loved the ode to the grecian urn! Thanks for reminding me of the lines.

@Indranil you are adding to the hoarding addiction I mentioned here!!

@RGB Maybe I would treasure a picture of a person missed or a saree, my granny wore when she put me to sleep, even if it is in rags now. But there is no material thing I would like to treasure, i find it silly and extremely vain! But I guess, its the buyer's call after all

@BKC yeah the sense is completely different now

@The Holy Lama all the best for your curio cabinet!

@Destiny's child possessing a happy heart is posession right? posessing an un used artefact just does not compare!

Gayathri said...

lol.. So very true.. I think the story is the same in every keeps saying on how her kancheepuram sarees of marriage remain untouched after '88.. how all those silver sets she brought home are literally useless.. this that... :D

anilkurup said...

Possess and still not own!
I guess that is different.
Do we appreciate the thing the artefact or otherwise that we have in hand,or own? Are we aware of its value ?( not merely the cost in monetary terms).
I will mention a little incident.
I had a very rare book in my collection of books. The treasure was titled "Penguin book of Extinct birds"(.The book is no more in print).
I m not ornithologist -did not even study zoology in the pre university level.But I treasured the information and the matter within its covers. An acquaintance borrowed the book from me to scroll through to select a name for his business venture. He found a name " Phoenix". But the treasure book never came back to me. When I enquired about it he wondered if he borrowed the book at all.And also note this , the fellow does not read even a news paper.So his possessing or keeping that treasure book is unimaginable. I presume he was ignorant of its value and either threw it some where or just lost it.

Sumandebray said...

I know of something called gold ornaments... they travel to the locker almost straight from the showrooms!
Sometimes we keep waiting for that special day... the day for that very important signature to inaugurate a pen or a special guest to bring out the cutlery.. and we keep waiting till one day when we lose interest

R. Ramesh said...

balachandran's comnt is feel that things which r not used regularly do not desrve to be preserved for so fact, i keep telling my wife that if some item is not used for more than 2 yrs n lies on the shelf, it is of no use. v had to throw out so many "precious" items that v thougt will preserve than use..all just went waste..better to use than preserve and throw after a few yrs..

Nona said...

Did you and Bond finally use the silver set? Did the tea tasted different?

Nikita Banerjee said...

Lovely. My mom has these things too. Apparently now that I am going to be married soon, some of these will come to me. Of course I think all this is a waste of money and time.

And yeah did you and Bond have some high tea?

R. Ramesh said...

shukran ji:)

deeps said...

now it s my turn to thank you for those lines
"kabhi kabhi mere dil mei"

Debopam Chaudhuri said...

After a long time!!!

Agreed. Though on many occasions they may not be related with the grandeur of a silver tea set. On many occasions they are the carrier of a huge load of memory that it associates with.

And finally well written, and well thought out..

sujata said...

@Gayathri yes its the same every where I can tell that confidently

@Anilkurup Now that is a thing I cannot take lightly - taking books and not returning, if there is anything material that I am possessive about, its my books, I honour and respect everyone's collection, and I expect the same for every one. I have learnt to refuse to lend books.

@SDR so true, gold is such a waste!

@Ramesh true

@Nona yes, Bond and I did have tea(well he had bournvita)in our silver tea set. It was a great ocassion!

@Nikita yeah we did have our tea and bournvita that day in silver!!

@debopam memories are best captured by eyes and preserved in the hearts,we cannot keep a flower as a memory, it withers right? its beauty is seen and remembered, same is the case with stuff and memories, our precious memories will some day become a trunk full of garbage to the next generation!

R. Ramesh said...

shukriya ji:)

ZB said...

And i know what you mean by this post....My wife makes me spend hard earned dough on such silly souvenirs for utensils,which i fail to gather its practicality........but i do value a Montblanc though....they are more a device to elevate your self esteem and status.....I would never buy them but got a gift from my company last year as it was the 25th anniversary , and i truly value its craftsmanship...elegant pens.

I have this "nuts"( as per my wife) thing for watches......I have an ORIS, Omega,Logines, Rado and Mido...though i mostly wear a swatch(the cheapest of all)most of the time....

ZB said...

And "Tea taste is in the tongue of the beholder" ....I am sure a Tea would taste different when served in a silver cup... It does...TC:)

Indrani said...

Oh! Some of my sarees... I don't when that special ocaasion will come.
Very thoughtful post.

Debopam Chaudhuri said...

Yes it sometimes does... Remember the time, when we used to collect sea shells from the shore to carry back home?

Bindhu Unny said...

Thankfully, I didn't inherit the hoarding addiction of my mom. And I routinely give away things which I don't really need. :)

wise donkey said...

i too am guilty of not using everything i love. it may not be valuable or expensive but just silly things i don't want to ever run out of. but i am trying to change it.

R. Ramesh said...

maam waiting 2 c the next post in this interesting blog cheers

sujata said...

Thanks everybody for writing in and sharing your views