The ‘Let them be’ Box

I confess. I have Obsessive Compulsive Cleanliness Disorder (OCCD). I have this insane urge to fix wrinkles in bedsheets, correct tilts in wall pictures, and swipe at imaginary dust.  You get the drift.

However, as a mom, I have this one space, a box, which is the antithesis of ‘clean’. This box is what I call a ‘Let them be’ box. 

As any mom with school-going children knows, creating school projects overnight can be daunting. Not that schools don’t give parents enough time; just that I tend to put it off till the last minute. And if it were not for my ‘Let them be’ Box, my poor kids would never submit stuff on time.

Courtesy –

So this ‘Let them be’ Box is a treasure house of miscellany. From colourful buttons to cake boards, from twine to used gift-wrap paper, from thermocol beads to bubble-wrap, from old erasers to aluminium foil, from colourful threads to craft paper, this box has it all.
When it comes to the rest of the house, I clean and recycle ruthlessly; however when it comes to this ‘Let them be’ Box, I am a hoarder. I can never get myself to throw any stuff, always sure that it will come in handy for some project or the other. So I just ‘Let them be’,  and this box of clutter has been my saviour on more than one occasion.

Do you have a box or space like this at home? Would love to know.


The Joys of Writing

My son has been given a school project to complete; he has to write an essay about ‘Aliens in the backyard’, as part of his creative writing course.

He spends an hour writing out a draft and wants to read it out to me.  What hits me is that his eyes are shimmering with the excitement of what he has written.  He stands up for effect.  He reads out his essay, about a grotesque looking alien (boys will be boys), with multiple eyes, ears and long hands, whose battery gets charged by jumping up and down on a bouncing trampoline that’s supposedly in our backyard. Anyone jumping on it automatically charges the alien’s battery, so my son does his bit.  The story has elements of adventure, love, kindness and mystery.  He finishes reading and looks up at me with glittering eyes and an expectant smile.

I tell him that his essay is very well written and hug him.  He is very happy and runs away to make his final draft.  I remain seated, mulling over his essay.

My son’s excitement was palpable because he re-lived the story he had written, as he read it out to me.  I hope, that there’s a writer lurking in him.

Then I ask myself, does my writing give me such unadulterated joy?  Do I enjoy what I have created. Yes, most times yes, but the glee that I saw in my son’s face, I don’t see in mine.  Is it because we are older and can’t think like kids or let do we allow ourselves only limited leeway for enjoyment, because of deadlines and other commitments?

I still remember some of the essays I wrote in high school and in university. They still make me smile. I have not had the heart to throw some of them – handwriting that slants right on yellowed paper, with words and thoughts from another time. I get brief flashes of the person I was, and realize how I have evolved – both as a person, and in my writing.

Writing is an extension of our thoughts, captured and chiseled into manageable sentences.  Once the sentences have been composed, the words don’t meander off the page, like our thoughts do. That’s the beauty of writing. It helps refine our thoughts and articulate them in well-defined forms, giving us joy for years afterward.