I have this box filled with what may seem like junk, but It has stuff that if I lost, I wouldn’t know what I would do. Sometimes, I think of what would happen if there’s a fire. Then I think that maybe I should keep that box somewhere safer, but can’t think of any place that it’s completely safe. Then I just go into a sort of trance because I know that something could happen to it, but there’s probably nothing I could do about it.
I started filling this box up around seven years ago. The first thing that went in there was a couple of necklaces that my grandmother gave me a few months before she died. She told me that they weren’t worth anything, but she just wanted me to have them. She said that I could pull apart one of them and use the beads for one of my craft projects. I was about 8 years old then. A few years after she passed away, I found the chains lying around one day, and suddenly became sentimental. So, I put it in a little box.
Then, when I started swimming for the school team and won my first medals ever, I wanted to put them with the chains too, because they meant a lot to me. So, I got a bigger box, and put the medals and chains in there. When I went for my first concert with my cousin, the Aerosmith concert in Bangalore, 2007, I had to put the tickets in the box too! I wanted to keep these things forever, show them to my kids one day. None of the things had any real value, but I wanted to keep them forever.
My first boyfriend gave me a pair of earrings which after we broke up, I knew I wouldn’t really wear, or even if I did I didn’t want to keep with all my other earrings because I was an expert at losing them. So, they went in the box along with a note he wrote me. Then, I did that with certain things other boyfriends gave me too, if they were things I thought were really sweet. If they were key chains or clothes, I would just use them. But if it was something little that showed that some thought went in to buying it. One boy had given me a key chain which had this little pink paper doll on it, and he told me he wanted to get me something but didn’t have money to buy anything better, so he bought it for 20 rupees and he hoped I liked it. That went straight into the box, because I could see the thought that went into it.
I was house captain in school for two years, two years that I’ll never forget. In the first year, there were only 300 students in the school, and each house used to sit at the same table and the captain and vice-captain would be at either end of the table. I used to bake chocolate cakes and take them to school every Monday, and the whole table would share, and all the teachers would have some, and those are just the little things I loved about that year. The next year there were about 800 students in the school, so it was impossible to know everyone. But it meant the world to me that I was chosen to be house captain for two years. At the end of the first year, they took our badges back, and told us they’d use it again the next year, but they gave us new badges, and we could see the old ones just lying in a box, but they refused to let us keep it. So, we refused to give our badges back in the second year and that went straight in the box.
When my dad decided that he wants to start showing one of our dogs at dog shows, he said I’m going to be the one who works with the trainers and I have to be his handler. I was around 14 years old. I was the youngest handler at both shows that we showed him at, and it just felt nice. Since I thought that there were going to be a lot more shows and the badges we got from the first two shows were just the beginning, I thought I’d collect them, but those turned out to be the last, and for some reason I wanted the badges to be in the box.
My step mom, who was then just a family friend, came to visit us in Pune and she left some earrings back. I found them on the floor, one of them broken. She was so upset they were broken because they were her favourite pair. For some reason, I felt the need to put these in the box. I didn’t have the heart to throw them away. I felt like, no matter what, I’ll have something that meant a lot to her, and that made me happy. And yet, every time I see them, I get sad that they’re broken and I wish I could fix them for her. I think maybe I’m hoping that one day I will be able to fix them and then I can give them to her and she’ll be really happy.
I went for the Pitbull concert in 2010 with two of my friends from Junior College. I got in a lot of trouble because I got home really late, and fell asleep in the bathroom because I was drunk, but it’s one of those nights I’ll never forget. I begged my dad to let me go, and I gave him all the pocket money I saved up and bought it. So much went wrong that night, and yet it has been one of the best nights in my life so far. So, even though somehow by the time I reached home the tickets were a little torn and in really bad shape, I had to put them in the box.
I haven’t put much else in the box after that. Every time I open the box to look at everything, I empty it out and put everything back in one by one, remembering the story behind each of those things as I go. If I’m really upset that can put me in a good mood no matter what. It’s like my little box of happiness.