This set of boxes is my time machine. I open it and I travel a good 7 years and 1 month back to a day when I went shopping for glass bangles, to match the 5 odd sarees I would have to wear for the different religious ceremonies during my wedding. A cousin came along, and I can still remember matching the colour of the bangles to the colour of the blouses, and taking them out into the sunlight just to make sure that the shade was exact. I remember the tinkle of the bangles as I very gingerly, tried them on for size. I remember how carefully and effortlessly, the shopkeeper wrapped them up in rectangular newspaper bits and arranged them neatly in these two boxes for me to take home.
I remember how I stuck a strip of masking tape and labelled them 1 and 2 with a marker. 1 for the bangles to be worn on Day 1 of the wedding and 2 for Day 2. I remember how I designated one cousin to be the one to hand me the bangles when I needed them. I can look at the colours now and tell you which set I wore with which saree and for what occasion. Months after the wedding, I remember how carefully I packed them up again for the long 20 hour journey to America to start my married life. These bangles are not just a relic from my wedding, but a frozen reminder of the person that wore them then. I remember the wild excitement of starting a new life, the nervousness of living with new people, a place for my dreams to come to light and see if it matched up to the reality.
" Take care of all your memories, for you cannot relive them."
I don't wear them anymore, because I would hate to see a single one of them break. So I keep it safe and secure in these two boxes, stashed away in a bigger box, and then set in a corner of the closet. From time to time, when I take the time to clear out the clutter and air things out, I find these boxes again. And I unwrap the newspaper covers and look at them wistfully, thoughts and memories flowing through me. I delight perennially in the dazzle of colours before my eyes and just this once, take them all out of the wrappings and feel them dangling from my fingers. I arrange them prettily in the boxes and take a picture to see them in another way. When I am done, I once again begin the cumbersome process of wrapping them up in the newspaper, my skill in no way matching that of the shopkeeper who first handled them. Once they are snug and secure, I put them back inside the box. After one last look, I close the lid and put it back into the bigger box, that goes into the corner of the closet. It will be safe there till the next time I take it out to connect with a bygone time.