Junk

I am moving out of my university to join work. PhD plans are shelved for now -- lets wait for a couple of years and find out how much I really want it. It is time now to say goodbyes to professors and friends, change addresses, return keys and clear out offices and drawers. Like my mother said today, this will be another chapter of my life that is coming to a close.

A lot of people keep asking me, how does it feel? Truth be told, I don't feel a thing. Yeah so I'm leaving. Will I be missing my apartment, my office, my desk? Not really... and it is tough to explain why. Actually, I think some people are either disappointed or even offended when I say this, and almost everyone refuses to believe me. This post is sort of trying to explain the why or how to them: more importantly recording my own thoughts to read them some years down the line and analyze myself.

The point is, I don't get attached to things so easily. Things, people, places -- they serve as points of reference for future analysis. I reminisce often (for example on this blog): but that is more to find out what I've learned from the experience or association rather than actually "miss" them. Experience has taught me that getting attached without absolute certainty can lead only to pain. Because your expectations rise exponentially, you automatically and even unconsciously become vulnerable to anything remotely related to that person, place or event. The worst part is, you cannot take an impartial judgement about that situation or person. Remember Boman Irani's speech in Munnabhai MBBS about him doing a surgery if his daughter was under the knife? He said his otherwise rock steady hand would falter. Believe me, I have considered closing this blog for 6 months or a year just to see whether I'm attached to it or not. I suppose I didn't do it because I knew I'd be fine -- if it is a challenge of my perseverence, bring it on! :)

I am discarding a pencil box that has been with me since I was in class 4: it has served its purpose now and I no longer need it. I am discarding a lot of old clothes which "kind of" fit me. If something tags along with you which you will probably use only once or twice again in your life or even in a year, you should rather get rid of it. Especially if you are a bachelor who lives out of a suitcase, literally. The cost of keeping and maintaining it and taking it along everywhere you go really outweighs the simple act of buying the same thing anew, if it comes reasonably cheap. You cannot get rid of a formal suit, for example: the benefits of keeping it are greater than buying a new one every time. But I am getting rid of all cards I've received in these two years of stay, I'm discarding little crystal gifts and decorative pieces that were gifts to me. I mean no disrespect: in fact I have been really glad every time someone gave them to me. The act of giving has mattered a lot at that time -- it is tough to explain how wonderful it feels when someone remembers you when you don't expect anyone to. But I have no place to put them: and although I feel a little guilty in discarding these, I know that I will be beside my friends whenever they need me. I don't need to keep a showpiece with me to keep reminding me of my loyalty. Heck I even want to dump my graduation robes if I can: it is not going to be of any use at any time in my life. But I'm keeping them for now: my mother would be very happy to see them. They aren't junk yet.

Comments

  1. You're brave, really. Just so long as it doesn't leave you cold, it's an admirable virtue.

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  2. The attachment onr getd towards material objects is not a matter of choice. It's our nature. Most times we get attached even without our knowing or feeling it, but feel the pain only on letting that attachment go.

    Years ago, when I left school, I felt the same way as you did. No pain... nothing and didn't think it was a big deal. Yet I feel the nostalgia of the school days stronger than I ever did today.

    I don't think you should underestimate the power of attachment even to material objects. That's what binds us here in life and as long as we are attached, I believe we'll keep within the cycle of birth and death.

    Yes, we do ditch a lot of things materially, but we hold on to our own pride and ego which is the biggest attachment of them all.

    So I personally refrain from analyzing these things too much. I know that I have a big ego and attached to a lot of material things and freely admit it. I don't think I have the maturity to analyze myself anyway...

    Sorry didn't mean to discourse... You must be thinking I'm now

    -- Swami Harishankarananda... :-p

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  3. so from what i understand, you will keep something that matters to your mother, but not things that might matter to your friends? well, at least you have somewhat of an attachment to your mum.

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  4. That was a big surprise - leaving PhD plans. Reading some of your earlier posts I thought you were all geared. I am sure you have taken this decision after careful thought. So which company you are moving to? Usually its difficult to return for a PhD after 2 years (esp since you also had a hiatus after your undergrad). May be you would go for an MBA (the most common path). Best Wishes and Good Luck.

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  5. someone sounds real different from his original self here

    kya hua bhai!!

    -birdy

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  6. That's a rare quality! At least your home will not be filled with junk, unlike those of us pack rats :)

    Good Luck on the new job and the move!

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  7. Are you really THAT detached as you are claiming to be? Because you portray smaller things with so much sensitivity? You attribute it to good memory and great power of observation only? Or are you absolutely sure there is no little boy who don't want to get hurt? I am just curious and not a peeping tom.

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  8. Phoenix, yeah thanks: although I rather consider this a personality trait than a virtue or vice. Sometimes it pays to be a little more attached.

    Hari, Harishankaranandaji, very well said. We do tend to get attached very subconsciously, and realize it only after they go away. Cycle of life and death: I don't know... maybe I just don't want to believe in it. Our ego, our image of the self and self esteem and confidence are our biggest attachments, yes, because they are useful. The returns of absolutely crushing your own pride are very poor as opposed to maintaining a healthy quota. As again: the returns on getting too high on the ego boat again diminish drastically. Yours, etc.-- Professor Sudipta :)

    Galadriel, oh yes of course I am attached to my mother. Not just her but everyone in my immediate family at least: each one of them mean a lot to me and I can go to huge lengths to see to their well being.

    Anonymous, yes I know it might be tough getting into the PhD later on -- but if I do, I can be certain that I will want it 100% instead of a dilly-dally. And thank you, by the way :)

    Birdy, hey!! I didn't even know that you read this blog. Oh maybe that explains all those hits from the UK. Aare lekin mai to aisa hi tha -- app ko kya mai sansaarik insaan lagta tha? :P

    Alpine path, thanks. :)

    Lekhni, thank you! Oh well, pack rats have a lot many uses when they live in the neighbourhood! :D And thank you, of course, for the good wishes.

    Alka, well, there might be some little boy somewhere. But even if he is there, I would deny that he exists, wouldn't I? But wow... thanks for those compliments! :)

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  9. Bhai,you sound a bit low in this post; is it because this "moving out of university" thing came earlier then you wanted.You wanted to go ahead with PHD and you couldn't, had it not been the case, I think this post would have been different.
    Any ways, my best wishes for the new chapter ahead and would like to know about it as well :)
    Take care.

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  10. All the best for your career.

    Materialistic stuffs go unpreserved someday after just as we humans are gone oneday :)

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  11. This is to point out that material items can be shoved as 'junk'but the
    time that you've spent here in Austin,your struggle,achievements,
    frustrations and failures,your ailments and enjoyments have become an integral part of you.Literally you might not be 'attached' to these but like a refreshing shower they will definitely be haunting your memory. I tell you the nostalgia remains.

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  12. While I do think this is a useful habit and keeps your luggage light and ready to move - i found it hard. I still preserve arbit stuff like what my friends scribbled and gave to me, a old bus ticket, cinema ticket. my father continues to yell at me for packing garbage into the house. I never throw anything sent to USCIS/INS. I have preserved even postal receipts that I sent to INS.

    Its just hard for some people :-(

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  13. I know exactly how you feel... :-)

    Welcome aboard, buddy!

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  15. Well, this phase comes to everyone at some point of a month, a year, a life, Sudipta. But I found you were a bit too blunt and unkind with your words here.

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  16. I've relocated several times between Bangalor, Chennai, Hyderabad in past 3 years... Can relate to what you're feeling...

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  17. Varun, thank you. I am not low or anything -- I'm just doing great :)

    Manasa, wah wah madam... kya khoob kahi hai! See, I was always so spiritually enlightened.

    Maa, yes, that is very true. I take away more spiritual gifts from Austin than any material ones.

    Hawkeye, Oh yes, that is very wise: preserving document records sent to USCIS/INS. Thats cool. But I'll tell you something -- I lost one of my boxes in transit that I had shipped. Strangely, I am not missing anything :)

    Phatichar, hehehe... thanks.

    Mampi, mmm... I agree. But like I said, I mean no offense. Besides, I believe sometimes one must tear off these things which begin to gain sentimental value by association. And the process is always a little pinchingly painful. Harsh, cruel and blunt words help emaciate oneself.

    Shrinidhi, :) Like Phatichar said, welcome to the club!

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  18. Leaving school? Wish I could do that. I have been verge of doing that so many times now that I have lost count. Research can be very frustrating and unless you are 100% sure, you shouldn't embark on this journey.

    Hmmm..junk? I am always scared to throw things out. Not because I am too attached but because I am scared to throw out something important or useful. And somehow everytime I throw out something, I would need that thing the very next week even though I haven't used it in a while. Hate that.

    Anyway, all the best with next phase of life!

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  19. I realized I never left a comment...funny as it sounds, I am sad at your leaving the 4th class wala pencil box behind! Though true, it has served its use. I guess I am a pack rat....I still have my graduation tickets from last year...and my library card from school - 8 years back and my college ID card and....I guess am one of those who can't let go :)

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  20. Hi Sudipta,

    I came to your blog via Alka's ...nd I m really glad I came here.
    I really liked your post...
    ..and your post on 'Commenter's block' is the one which prompted me to write this comment.

    U have been so correct abt the commenter's block that I cudn't help but smile & make a resolve to definitely leave a comment here.

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  21. All the best, for the new phase! :-)

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  22. I think coming back to PhD may seem bleak once you get into work life. Its def. beginning of a new phase..wishes!

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  23. Richa, oh no, please do not quit! I quit before I had started: so I did not really lose so much. You are so much closer to the end -- go Richa go! :) And it seems that Murphy's Law for Richa's junk says that you will be needing stuff an exact week after you've thrown it away. Don't worry -- you can probably use that instinct to predict the future! :)

    Sky, chipke raho! Although, I have still half a mind to throw away some more stuff. It is very emancipating: try it once! :)

    Anonymous, welcome onboard! And thank you so much for the kind words. To think that someone went back to read a post as old as that one and felt influenced enough to leave a comment back -- I'm on cloud 9! :)

    Arethusa, thank you, and same to you! :)

    Pallavi, sure, thanks! :)

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  24. Bah, do you really stay detached or do you say that just because you want to be detached? This piece is nicely written and I guess you will want to read it again after few years. When I moved out of campus 4 months back, it was just another day for me too ;-) And, uh, PhD can wait :P

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  25. Priyank, yeah perhaps that is true; and yes I definitely want to. And thanks :)

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  26. You write beautifully :)

    The last paragraph in this post is striking :) Someone i loved once, told me the same thing. Seems like its real.

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  27. Dagny, thanks a ton! That comment always makes my day. :)

    Looks like great men think alike :)

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