“Damn! … this is just not happening” I said.
“Yes it is” He said.
“But there is no way all of that is going to fit in ‘this’”
The boy on my bed merely smiled and went on to focus on his task at hand.
This doesn’t usually happen to me. I pride myself on being organized and effective; some even might say even surgical. I choose a target and I go for the kill. No prisoners taken.
And yet here I was sitting in a dingy dormitory waiting to leave the blessed city which had been my home for two glorious months; the wardrobe door gaping open and the creaky Indian version of four-poster bed with a blue mosquito net tied to a corner, was overwhelmed with the tremendous load of clothes and tit-bits bearing down on it. Some of the articles, which couldn’t hold their ground on the miserly frame of the bed, were now lying helplessly spent on tiled spotless floor. Just next to headboard of the bed was a ridiculously tiny backpack looking solemnly at the huge pile at its base, dreading the time I start stuffing it with the humongous pile. My friend was balefully lounging on the bed completely aloof, shooting random colored bubbles on his iphone with the gusto of a pirate king hunting Victorian ships, thoroughly enjoying my severe predicament.
My target was Simple.
Divide the boastful mountain of articles in front of me into three distinct piles –
What I most certainly need.
What I most certainly do not need.
What I probably might need.
Now, doesn’t that sound easy? Well, it does provided it is not YOUR stuff being paraded around and on the risk of being tossed into the rubbish pile! While my friend sat there casually shooting his bubbles, I began the daunting task of trimming my already manicured backpack.
I have always prided myself on being quite the traveler. For months I have carried the tag with pride. But alas! With great ‘tags’ comes an even greater responsibility. I had been on the road for over 3 months and just a few hours back realized that I just had too much baggage. Even though I could fit them all into the tiny backpack, don’t get me wrong, I am quite good with the whole packing thing, by the end of the premeditated assault, the backpack would resemble an overly obese baby elephant, bulging at all the wrong places, and be equally heavy. I could hardly carry the backpack 100 meters leave alone travel for 10 days along the length of Kerela.
I just had to trim it down.
No way around it; or so said the bubble bursting, finger twiddling, utterly amused malefic friend sitting on the bed.
Note to self – Please choose your friends more carefully. Grrr!
Saying is always easier than doing. Duh! As it turns out, letting go of things is not all that easy. For a person who knows that the backpack is all the things she owns or would own for the next six months, letting go of the basic amenities or even backups is a rather shudder-y task. But the underlying problem is even graver.
We always tend to weigh our security and happiness in terms of materials we own. We have our basic necessities and our basic necessities have backups and our backups have more backups. But in this never ending loop we tend to overlook that what we are really doing is adding more and more baggage to our ever expanding elephant of a backpack which eventually we have to carry on our back.
The reality is true happiness and security is found within you. It is rooted in knowing that all things we deem necessary, which we cannot dream living without, are merely luxuries. We can live with or without them. We fear only the things we are afraid we cannot replace or live without; whether it is material things or intangible relationships. Hoarding seems to be our one true love. We hoard objects, relationships, emotions and what not, living our life in fear of losing what we cherish. Carrying an austere backpack for 6 months has taught me that one doesn’t need all those ‘necessities’ to be content. All the necessities that we claim to cannot live without are actually luxuries.