Packing is a chore that I have come to enjoy. I have moved many times in life and I think I have finally come to appreciate the process. The key is to know that you are not simply packing objects. You are packing memories and magical moments. We often make impulse buys, bring the object home and then forget about it. Packing reconnects you with the sequence of events that lead you to buying that object. And you relive the joy that you experienced when you bought it.
They say one should not believe in materialistic pleasures and attach emotions to inanimate objects. And I would agree. But then, one of the ways we have learnt to experience joy and satisfaction is by fulfilling desires. It is not the ONLY means of experiencing joy, but it is one of the most common means. So romancing with objects that were once your desire, by the means of packing, needs no justification.
Anyways, back to packing. I have moved seven times in my life so far. From Delhi to Nagpur and then back to Delhi. From Delhi to Boulder and then to Chicago and then back to Denver. Then I moved from Denver to New York and finally from NY to Mountain View. Some of these experiences were memorable and some not so much. I don’t quite know how I packed for the move from Denver to NY. That is one week of my life, of which I have no recollection. I was traveling for a project to Amsterdam those days. I think I came back on May 5th, packed and shipped some boxes to NY. Attended my graduation on May 11th in Boulder and flew to NY on May 12th. Phew! It was all made possible because of Nirali, my super roommate.
When I moved from NY to Mountain View, the situation was more relaxed. But that has been my most favorite moving experience so far. I accurately remember the sequence of events. After living with Agam for two years, I was going to move by myself to a new place, and live alone for a few months (that ended up being a year), until Agam would join me in California. We had amassed a LOT of stuff in NY. We had built a home from scratch, and now it was time to split it into two. I obviously did not want to pay shipping, so I decided to let go of the furniture and heavier items. Since Agam was going to move to a studio, I could not have left much stuff behind either. So we spent nights and nights packing, reliving bitter-sweet memories and drinking several cups of coffee at wee hours of the morning. Agam helped me take some boxes to the post office and some I managed by myself. It was NY! We did not have a car and the post office was four blocks away. It was a challenge to drag the little dolly with boxes on it, in the NY spring chill, to the post office. It was fun! That is all I can say.
And of course, when the last set of boxes was shipped, we went to eat at our favorite Thai restaurant on Austin Street in Forest Hills. And that is where, just after the meal was over and the clock struck 4:00pm, we decided to buy our rings. The last minute dash to Tiffany, which was going to close at 5:00pm, is deeply imprinted in my mind. Of course we did not exchange the rings that day. This was just in case, we decided to marry each other we should have the right sized ring with us for THAT moment.
The next time, I experienced something similar to the Denver-NY moving experience was when Agam moved to Mountain View in spring of 2009. He came in on a Friday morning. We discussed that the 1- bedroom that I was living in would not be enough for the STUFF we both had. And so we walked to the leasing office, to ask if they had something available. They showed us the apartment at noon; we signed the lease at 3:00pm and got the keys sometime before 5:00pm. And so we had JUST the weekend to move. Since I was to go to LA for work on Monday, we had to RUSH through the whole process. The good thing was we were only moving from Apt 87 to Apt 66. But the bad thing was, we were not at all prepared. We pretty much used Ikea bags to carry utensils, clothes, and other STUFF from one place to another. We moved until wee hours of the morning and then the movers came in early morning on Saturday to move our furniture. So we packed and moved ALL we had in less than 24 hours. It was FUN!
And now that we are moving to our nest there are a lot of decisions to make. What to throw, what to take. It is not easy to let go of things you have amassed over the years. But I am seeing it as a fresh start. I don’t want to crowd the nest. So I have decided to be a minimalist.
Given that we have a month to pack, I think it will be fun to see the walls become barren and the corners lose their charm, as we wrap up all memories and magical moments in big brown boxes. The house is already quite a mess. There are piles of DVDs that need to be given to Goodwill in one corner. I packed the frames today. They need special care. The books have begun to disappear from the shelves too. This is my opportunity to lighten the load of STUFF we have accumulated over the years, and cherry pick the memories, we want to take along.
The countdown has begun, 34 days to go before the movers come to the door step.