On Collecting…

DSCN4658Stamps: My interest in collecting stamps began when I was six or seven. After moving houses with my parents, I was unable to locate the album I had as a child. However after coming to the UK 8 years ago, I renewed my hobby. I have stamps from 55 different countries and I noticed that that I do not have any from the middle-east. The stamps show animals, buildings, persons or nature from the country of origin.

Newspapers: I used to collect ‘The Hindu’ newspaper for 10 years when I was an engineering student at Durgapur. It occupied a lot of space and eventually, I had to sell it to a raddiwallah (person who collects newspapers). I still have the ‘Folio‘ magazines which were published in early 2000.

Labels: My friend, Gustave, had been collecting the labels of wine bottles. He lives in Switzerland and he showed me his collection when I visited him. It was quite impressive as it involves a lot of work to peel the label off a bottle, dry it and then store it in special albums.

In life, we come across people who collect all sorts of things. Glass jars, vintage cars, designer shirts, latest gadgets, books and cds, movies, antiques, paintings, furnitures, miniatures, musical instruments, herbs, coffee & teas, oils and paints, clothes and jewellery and so on. Time as a person has collected the memories of sentient beings and inanimate objects since Time immemorial. Compared to our thirst for hoarding things, Time seems to have a voracious appetite which is insatiable. For men may come and men may go, Time will go on for ever.

In the documentary “Les invisibles“, I listen to a character narrating her experience about a house that she has lived in.

“There are still, there must be shadows that remain. There must be. Walls are always full of memories. They are! Walls absorb things. That’s why it’s so moving. The walls hears us, they saw us. They remember, They’re bound to remember. That’s what creates the communication. Otherwise, we feel nothing. We feel something because the walls are speaking to us. And we’re speaking back to them. There is communication. “Inanimate objects, have you a soul?” “That can unite with our soul, and force it to love?” That’s beautiful. That’s exactly what we can say.Inanimate objects. How do we know? We can talk to a train station. It hears us! The train station hears us.The train station sees my father. Of course it does.”


Leo Ferre’s song on Time is very comforting and worrisome. Dickinson’s poem on death tells us about “The charioteer” that collects people’s souls. Trees, Hesse calls them as Sanctuaries. They too have something that they have collected to share with us. We are all collecting memories and it interferes with our thoughts in a wrong way and at times, causes conflicts. DSCN1197

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