The Glass Bangle

Being a Woman

From Pebbles to Notebooks – A Magpie’s Soul

I wistfully ran my hand over the beautiful cover of the notebook in my hand and then with a deep soulful sigh kept it back on the shelf in Crossword. I managed to convince myself that I certainly didn’t need to add one more notebook to my already teetering pile ; I might have felt like my toenails were being pulled out when I kept the book back, but it was a silly extravagance and it was time I controlled my lust for them. When I slinked out of the shop half an hour later, the notebook was nestling snugly next to the book I had bought for my daughter. I had given in, yet again.

I’ve realised that I’m a hoarder, or should I call myself a collector ? The word Hoarder brings to mind a goon wearing a stained vest in a dingy godown lit only by a single dangling bulb with sacks of rice and sugar piled in a corner. Ok, I’ll go with collector since wearing stained clothes is a big no-no. Godowns and sacks are fine but one has to draw the line somewhere and for me that is sweat-stained clothes ! I do feel like a fraud when I call myself a collector because such individuals are serious and dignified and not even in my wildest flights of fancy can I claim to be either of the two. Anyway, semantics apart, my collecting/hoarding tendencies are rooted in my past, in my childhood to be precise. Let’s take a quick trip down that good old memory lane, when I was running around like a wild child, complete with scabbed knees, missing teeth and wonky pigtails. How many years ago, asks the reader who wants specifics. Why go into inconsequential numerical details dear friend, let’s just say that it was a couple of decades back. I had the characteristics of an enthusiastic magpie. If you cast your mind on that mischievous denizen of the avian fraternity, you’ll remember what your teacher taught you in school. The magpie is said to be a prolific hoarder.

The bird was attracted to anything that glittered, but I had no such constraints – anything small and considered uninteresting by the general populace was of utmost interest to little pig-tailed me. Pebbles worn smooth over the years which reminded me of clouds; scraps of brilliantly coloured cloth which I used to filch from the tailor; transparent wrappers of boiled candy that I would wrap tightly round my fingertips to see the whorls more clearly ; misshapen pieces of chalk in different colours which always left a dusting of coloured dreams on my hands ; pencil stubs which reminded me of tiny men in top-hats ; soft feathers in pale shades of blue, yellow and rust that I got from my grand-mom’s neighbour who had pet love-birds ; cloth covered buttons; broken pieces of jewel-hued glass bangles ; all these and more were my prized possessions, stored carefully in a colourful round biscuit tin.

As I left the magical, whacky world of childhood behind and entered the angst ridden world of adolescence, my collector’s soul too underwent a transformation. Out went all the colourful baubles and fancy stuff. My teenage mind found solace and a perfect reflection of my feelings in the words of songs, and that too Hindi film songs. My efforts were now tuned to collecting the lyrics of as many songs as I could. I’ve painstakingly collected the lyrics, including the information about the makers of the songs, the actors who acted in them, and then recorded every tiny detail in notebooks. The pictures of the actors were carefully cut out of magazines and pasted along with the songs. Since Google was not even a thought in the minds of its makers, my main sources were the radio stations and in those days All India Radio and Vividh Bharati were the only two around. So getting accurate lyrics was a tortuous, laborious affair. Now when I look back, I’m astounded that between my obsessive song writing and compulsive reading, I managed to complete my education without my parents suffering nervous breakdowns !

Over time, songs were replaced by pithy sayings and interesting quotes. The Reader’s Digest magazine played an important role in this phase of mine since that was my principal source. I’ve a distinct memory of myself bent over a beautiful moss-green diary (which I still have with me), copying quotations from RD. The sky was overcast and the rain beat down gently while I was ensconced in my room lost in a world of words. I carry around that image with me and try to slip back into the serenity of that moment whenever I feel overwhelmed by life. IMG_2416 Sadly I’ve almost bid adieu to my collecting days. Work and later motherhood saw me hurtling down uncharted terrain trying desperately to hang on to my sanity. There was never enough time or the mental space required for my inner magpie to manifest itself. But I’ve managed to hold on to my love of notebooks. I love them in any shape, size or colour. Earlier I used to feel guilty about buying new ones when I hadn’t used the earlier ones. I’m still attacked by guilt but like I mentioned in the beginning, I’ve learnt to successfully silence this tiresome, nagging inner voice and move on happily. I think it’s the possibility of spilling out words onto the fresh pages which fills me with a deep satisfaction. And as long as I love words I don’t think I’ll give up on this one.

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17 comments on “From Pebbles to Notebooks – A Magpie’s Soul

  1. rima sen
    August 19, 2015

    delightful read…i love stationery too and infact just added a new notebook to my collection the other day šŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Three Day Three Quote Challenge – Day 1- J B Priestley | The Glass Bangle

  3. dreamzandclouds
    July 14, 2015

    ah! another feeling of familiarity as I read your post. šŸ™‚
    As a child with a mop of curly hair, even I too was a ‘collector’ of all tiny, interesting things I came across and stored them in a tin box. Every summer vacation, i indulged in the hobby of collecting stuff – one year it was candy wrappers, another year biscuit & chips wrappers, and another year different varieties of leaves. Next came the lyrics-memorising phase, when me and my sister used to pause the songs in our tape recorder to write down the lyrics of songs we love in many diaries. šŸ™‚
    And its a good thing you listened to your heart and brought home that notebook šŸ™‚

    Like

  4. shoes
    June 26, 2015

    Beautifully written! And I am very glad you gave in and got yourself that notebook. Really, can one have too many?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Glass Bangle
      June 27, 2015

      Thank you Shoes ! When it comes to notebooks I do become a trifle insane šŸ™‚

      Like

  5. James
    June 25, 2015

    Nostalgia …….

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Glass Bangle
      June 26, 2015

      Thank you for dropping in, James. Even now, when I see bright coloured candy wrappers, I still have an urge to smooth out the creases and save them šŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love notebooks..I’ve quite a big collection… šŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nish
    June 25, 2015

    Oh, yeah. I love notebooks too, and tend to buy them a lot. Mine still stay empty though šŸ˜¦

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Glass Bangle
      June 25, 2015

      Nish, mine too are neat and unspoilt and empty ! Thats why I wrote about the ‘possibility’ of words šŸ™‚

      Like

  8. eatsreadsreviews
    June 25, 2015

    Oh wow! I thought I was the only one. I love love love notebooks…stationery in general šŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Glass Bangle
      June 26, 2015

      You certainly are not alone my friend. There’s a whole lot of us lusting after notebooks šŸ™‚

      Like

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