The other day when I was catching up with a long lost friend over the phone, we skirted over a series of matters and eventually touched on the topic of ‘Bhava Jeevis,’ in other words emotional beings. We exchanged notes on how people are becoming increasingly removed from finer feelings and face to face interaction and how subtle emotions were making an unceremonious exit.
Suddenly, she interrupted our dialogue with a very long pause, and eventually resumed it with a long drawn prelude. She wondered if I would think that she had gone bonkers when I heard what she had to tell me. Once I reassured her of the contrary, she told me that her emotional ties did not stop with living beings. Mundane everyday objects meant a lot to her. She could relate with her possessions like they were her friends or relatives. She confessed that she felt extremely upset even if she had to discard an old container or a kitchen gadget once its use was over. For, she could not help remembering how the object had served her purpose when it was in use.
The moment she revealed this to me, I hastened to tell her that I was not far behind. In fact I have mental conversations with non-living objects which I truly love. I smile at artifacts and have caressed sweaters that I have knit! I have bidden silent yet intensely emotional farewells to my favourite possessions when it was time to part with them.
I certainly found this closet habit of mine very queer and never ever discussed it with anyone till I read a random article by Mother of Aurobindo Ashram about two decades ago. She had emphasised that even the so called inanimate objects had an underlying life which cannot be perceived by insensitive people. A certain rapport could be developed between the person and the objects used if the former chose to nurture a sense of belonging. Though Mother was against the idea of worldly attachment, she strongly felt that sensitivity would make a qualitative difference to life. In her piece she had mentioned how she would even thank her old footwear just before retiring them from service.
Needless to say, I felt liberated after reading this piece. Ever since, I have had no qualms about enjoying the company of my worldly possessions without getting overtly possessive about them. I no longer feel sheepish when I cuddle a doll. I do not hesitate to close a favourite trinket affectionately in my palm occasionally. I do not feel the need to look around before I smile at the newly unfolded leaf or bud in my garden. May our tribe increase!