I have a little red jacket. Not little actually. Just a manner of speaking.It was given to me as a gift. It is the kind that doubles up as a raincoat as well as a windcheater.It is a beautiful bright red. It even has a hood. I loved the jacket. I still do. Just that I don't obsess as much about it now, not till very recently, as I used to then, when it was newly gifted to me. This happens with time, doesn't it. Old stuff makes way for the new stuff. That, however, does not mean that we value the old stuff any less. Or maybe we do. I'm sure the 'old stuff' lying in a corner, with a thin film of dust gradually forming upon it hopes that it's the former. I would wish the same, if were the 'old stuff'. But this isn't about me. It is about my 'not so little, little red jacket'.
I saw it lying in a corner yesterday while I was searching for some other 'old stuff' that I had nicely packed and put away thinking I would never need it again. Well, I was wrong. This is another interesting thing about 'old stuff', isn't it. It somehow, always manages to find a way back into our lives and that too when we least expect it. Maybe it is it's way of reminding us how useful it was to us once and that we did not pay our respects or acknowledged its role enough, before we decided that it had solved its purpose and that it was time to put it away, nicely packed, in a corner, where a thin film of dust would eventually start forming on it.
But like I said, this isn't about me or the other general 'old stuff', this is specifically about my red jacket. After I incidentally happened to be face to face with my jacket after a long time yesterday, I brought it out of its packing.
(I still wonder how dust manages to creep in and form a thin film on things that are so carefully and dedicatedly packed and kept away in a corner? I would hate it if dust where to form a thin film on me. Simply hate it. But would I still hate it if i was some 'old stuff' packed and kept away in a corner? Who is to say? Maybe I would be grateful for some sort of companionship and the warm fuzzy feeling of someone still wanting to cling on to me so snuggly, even if it was just a film of dust.)
So after I brought it out of the box and it's packing, I took a wet piece of cloth and started cleaning it. A pretty simple task, it may sound, but yesterday as I was doing it, it felt like a much needed exercise in realization. Multiple realizations, in fact. As I carefully wiped the dust off my red jacket, it made a rustling sound. That rustling sound took me back a few years. I envisioned myself just as I was on that particular day, a few years ago. It was just me and my red jacket, riding on my bike on a windy, cold evening. It was soon getting dark and I needed to reach home at the earliest. I remember, as I tore through the wind, my little red jacket did its best to shield me from the ruthless and relentless onslaught of the bitter, cold winds. It had made a rustling sound then, just as it did now, while I was wiping it.
I gradually came out of the wind and back into the room where I was cleaning my red jacket, only to be taken to a day where my little red jacket had protected me from the frightening downpour. It seemed that the sky above had revenge on its mind and was overflowing with tears that generally accompany a fit of mad mad rage. But my red jacket made a rustling sound as if to tell me, that it was there for me and would do anything in its power to keep me dry. That day when I came back home, my pants were drenched, there was water dripping furiously from my head and my shoes were soaked. But my shirt was almost dry.
With that image in my head I returned to the present. I noticed a small spot of dust under the collars of my jacket and started to get it out fervently. Today, when I think why I did that, there is only one explanation that comes to my mind. Maybe the act of cleaning of that spot off the jacket was an act of for my despicable act of having banished my red jacket so mercilessly.
Finally, after having cleaned it thoroughly, I checked its pocket. I wasn't expecting to find anything there but I have been wrong before, this time at least, I was pleasantly so. I found the torn stubs of two movie tickets. The ink on it was almost illegible. The lettering had almost faded away. Barely readable, I could recognize a few letters of what seemed to be the name of the movie. There was a K, an S and an A. The remaining two alphabets I could not figure out. I wrestled with my mind to recollect the name of the movie. But I could not. Maybe I would have to spend some time with the stubbed movie tickets as I was doing now, with my little red jacket. Maybe then my memory would come back to me and I would recollect the name of the movie printed on the ticket.
(The faded lettering on the ticket made me wonder if all things, ones that breathe and ones that don't, ones that move and ones that don't, ones that feel and ones which look like they don't feel a thing, are capable of having memories and then losing them in a dark, thick fog with the passage of time or does that happen only with humans?)
With my expectations raised, I looked forward to finding more relics of my past in the pocket. I searched deeper and deeper into the pockets with my fingers, but found nothing. Finally, desperate to find at least one more thing, I turned the pocket inside out. There was a hole in the pocket. I was sad. Surely, many memories from my past had slipped away through that hole and had fallen out and were lost forever. As I straightened the pocket, my red jacket rustled. I know I have you, I said and smiled.
Today, the jacket basks gloriously in the sunlight in my gallery. We both are determined to get the mouldy smell out. I look forward to the evening. Me and my little red jacket are going for a ride, just like good ol' days. And knowing that, I am not worried about sudden rains or gusty winds anymore!There is one more thing I know for sure, I am never going to put away my red jacket, ever. And if something other than that has be pre-destined then I hope that my little red jacket and me gather a thin film of dust together.