I found a stash of my dad’s swizzle sticks when I was about 12 and because I was a bored little girl; I figured that I should start collecting swizzle sticks, by doing which I would become cool and people would love me and want to be my friend. (yes! I was always this awesome)
Thus started my swizzle stick collection. Not only would I harass people to get me back a stick from their trip but also insist that it had to be unique. My parents indulged me. They figured if this lasted more than a year I would be certifiably un-A.D.D’ed. I would tag these swizzlers and write the date and country of theft on them. I had over 190 by the end of it. And then I grew up. And moved to sand. “Please please will you get me a film roll of sand from wherever you go? Please. Please. I don’t have a life or friends. I collect sand.” “Sure Juhi, anything to shut your whining.”
Then there’s Dhruv. Dhruv used to collect traffic cones.
I don’t know.
Why do people collect swizzlers?
Why do people collect?
Why do people?
I remember waking up one morning and finding a ginormous neon green traffic cone sitting in Dhruv’s room. And Dhruv sitting next to it, looking rather smug with his thieving ways. He’d had a fun night with the boys. This was evidence.
But it didn’t stop at one. There was a point when his room was like a go-karting race track. And of course my mother didn’t help. Some of the traffic cones were so large that if we painted eyes on them they could sit at the dinner table and be part of the family dinner.
So, Soma figured she had to do something about it. She found an old butter knife and heated it till it was red hot and cut through the traffic cones to make them less human (sized). Yay! talk about a family supporting all our ventures.
There came a point when Dhruv outgrew this phase of childish collecting of junk, around his 25th birthday if I’m correct.
The point of this story is that at some point in our lives we all go around collecting junk and at that moment it means the world to us. That absolutely useless piece of whatever, validates us, validates our night, our travel, passion, our need to have a constant at such a minute level.
I’m just glad I come from a weird enough family where it’s traffic cones and tagged swizzle sticks and not dull, boring stamps and keychains, cos let’s face it, there are levels to being lame. And Dhruv and I are right on top of that little pyramid.