A sentimental possession and the story behind it
But the one that now holds immeasurable value is the wooden box that Appu (my grandpa) gave me.
It’s a nondescript box, about the width and length of a laptop, made of polished wood with a latch, a lock and a key, all of which Appu made from scratch by himself. It was my 14th birthday gift from him and he’d filled it up with an odd combination of knick-knacks - a bottle of scented talc, a small perfume, some pretty hankys, a classy looking pen and a few other things I don’t remember now. Almost like he didn’t know what to get me or what I would like.
Appu preferred to think of me as his little girl, his kochammini. But this gift was, in some way, an acknowledgement that he had come to terms with the fact that I was an adolescent. He understood that his eldest and most favourite grandchild was past the stage of watching Discovery channel dangling from his mundu and smothering her tears on his shoulder when the cheetah killed the deer (the first ever male shoulder I’ve cried on and the most comforting as yet).
This was his awkward contribution to the process of my becoming a woman.
Somewhere along the way I realised that memories can’t be preserved in material things and the happiness of a wonderful time can’t be captured in an inanimate object; that it’s foolish to preserve meaningless objects just to revive the joy of that memory. That was the end of my ‘sentimental’ collection.
But this one possession, I never found meaningless or foolish. Now, I hold on to it tight knowing it is the only exclusive possession me and Appu share; it’s my only connection to him. He might have passed on his heritage, knowledge, temper and a hundred other things to me but nothing this poignant, priceless.
I might not be able to see him or hold his pinky or argue with him about politics anymore but this box never fails to evoke a flurry of wonderful, precious memories.
Two down, 13 more to go!