Decluttering the mind attic (part 1)


My mom had told me that she wants to declutter her attic with my help when I am visiting her this summer. My mom’s attic is one of my favourite places in my maiden home. All the articles kept there are a reflection of some incident of her life. It’s as if her entire 40 years of marriage is locked up in there and since my childhood is also attached to it, I too find something that gives me a chance to reflect on my past. Each time she opens some loft and removes an article carefully wrapped in layers of newspaper or polythene, it opens the doors to the other attic, that part of her brain, where she keeps her memories. Decluttering the attic is one of the toughest jobs on earth. Trips to the attic are always a splurge of emotions. It was on one such trip that she found my old toys and took me for a ride back in time.

Last rakshabandhan, my sisters, together with me, decided to give a surprise to my brothers and bhabhis. We thought of preparing a slideshow of pictures from our childhood. Another reason to visit the attic of the home and the mind. So all three of us got busy digging up old albums, and I can’t put in words the euphoria all of us felt while going through the pictures. I am so glad that I was assigned the easier job of sending all the pics to my sister and she took up the difficult job of deciding what goes in the slide show and what not. For me, each picture was worthy of a well deserved place in the final show. Each picture had a story behind it, maybe the dress worn by us, the place where it was clicked, the occasion, the tear rolling down the cheek or the smile spreading from one ear to another.

Every thing that is stored at the deepest, darkest corner of the home attic is capable of lighting up the darkest corner of the mind attic. A pickle jar that still smells of the pickle that my grandma used to make, some cameras which helped freeze each frame of our life, some sarees of my mom which were spun with the thread of love, sofa covers and table mats that have adorned her drawing room furniture for umpteen kitty parties and family get togethers, a radio which kept her company while she cooked delicious meals for us, embroidery and crochet threads, needles and books that have helped weave emotions and feelings in her bed sheets and design masterpieces one after another.

Each time I mentioned doing away with it because she is not using them anymore and it’s using unnecessary space, my mom clinged on to it more tightly. Perhaps, maybe because it meant doing away with the memory associated with it. Somehow feeling those articles in her hand and touching them, gave her flashes of incidents related to them, some bitter, some sweet, some tugging at the strings of her heart and still urging to be set free.

“Let us go, it’s time to move on. You have looked after us well, wiped us, dusted us, treasured us, cared for us, now let us go. Make space for new articles which will make new memories for you. As it is, we have a permanent place in your mind attic, no one will object the amount of space we are using there, in the attic called the heart of the mind. It’s time to part ways so that we can make new memories with our new owners or breathe our last in the corner of a dumpyard with other obsolete articles. Let us be one with the many of our kind where we can talk about our experiences with each other, how we touched the lives of our owners, shared a life with them and how enriching it was for both of us.”

My mom has somehow understood the importance of giving away. She has mustered the courage to take the first step. She has decided to declutter the attic- of her home and mind, let’s wait and watch how far she is able to go.


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