Saturday, June 04, 2011

Skeletons in my closet

So today I overcame my fears and finally attacked the closet I was dreading to go into. It had boxes that I shipped/moved from my grad school days to my first post-doc days to my second post-doc (here) without ever opening. Now I open, and throw throw throw like a heartless bitch. These are mostly research articles- god knows why I didn't dump them in Lutom before leaving. I guess its mostly because they have my highlighting and notes all over them. Many of them were seminal papers in the field I did my Ph.D. in, many of them I spent hours poring over - sitting in the library, in cafes, on my bed- while preparing for my qualifiers, while writing my thesis, many of them formed the basis of and contributed to a lot of my research ideas. They are a huge treasure for me- so what if I never go back and read them?

But all of that sentimentality is going to go out with today's installment of paper recycle trash. Let this post be the lone reminder of their memory. RIP, reams of research articles. You did mean a lot to me, and you will always live on, in pdf. :)

Then come the huge fat reference books. I had each of these brought over from India, one at a time, whenever someone was traveling to here. Each weigh anywhere between 3 to 5 kg. Put in the perspective of packing up into two 21 kg bags- I would only be able to take 4 or 5, assuming I dedicated 1 pc of luggage to them (which is basically not possible). Also, I never went back to them in all these years. The central dogma of molecular biology has been rewritten and modified several times after Genes V. The entirely xeroxed Janis Kuby bible for immunology has most of its pages faded- (25p xerox in chembur :) )so that is definitely going to be trashed. Others again, are precious because they taught me a lot of my fundamentals, I took great pleasure in acquiring my own printed copies of them instead of having to fight with others for the limited library copies in college, and well - when I bought them, they were expensive. But yeah, with a heavy heart, barring 2 or 3 (10 kg limit) I am going to donate these to the library. I used to imagine that I would be a professor one day, and all these tomes would be sitting in my bookcase in my office. :) / :(

Then there's the craziest collection of little bags I own. Little paper bags usually came with gifts etc. or some shopping. I don't know why I have held on to these. But they have gone in the "carry if I can" lot. They don't weigh much and I like re-using them when the need arises.

Then there's another crazy collection of travel-size soaps/shampoos etc. Again a result of crazy hoarding whenever I stayed in hotel rooms or last minute buying before going on a trip, and then not using for whatever reason. Yes yes, I pick these up from hotel rooms. I believe I have paid for them when I paid for the hotel room, and if I leave them, the hotel will throw them. I know, I may slightly delude myself there, but whatever. I like them. Now they are most probably going to goodwill, unless I can sneak them in. :(

The rest of the stuff was a lot easier to throw/recycle/give away. Mostly sheets/covers, room freshners, assorted junk. Some nice gifts from ex-boyfriends and such. I use a lot of these without any sentiment attached - they just became part of my life- but some remind me of specific times and moments and I never see myself using them. They also happen to be the nicest of the gifts and I haven't felt like throwing them either. Now they go to goodwill.

I still haven't figured out how to best recycle electronic crap like cellphones, chargers, modems, ethernet cables and keyboards. I don't want to simply junk them because I know they can be reused. Anyone with specific tips on where to recycle them? I will look up freecycle.

I need to proceed with operation throw in the most detached way, hence I blog to get the sentimental shit out of the way. :)


Shripriya said...

OMG - when are you leaving? This seems soon. Time for a coffee?

For phones, I've always given my phones here -

nitish said...

Recycle options:
- Best Buy
- The University's electronics dumpster
- Farewell gifts to ex-boyfriends

Sangi said...

Darn! Can't ship books, huh? That is a tough one to give away or throw. Universities would have boxes with older books for anyone to pick up - for the ones you are not donating to libraries?

Please do give to NGOs when you can - they need stuff like phones, clothing for women (who are getting out of abuse in one NGO I know) and getting into the job market, etc.

Reconsider the career choice - being an academic has a lot of advantages. Is that done deal in your mind?

ಅಶ್ವಿನಿ/Ashwini said...


I also do the same stuff you've done with the shampoo and soaps kept in the hotel room. :) Damn we've paid for it as rightly said by you..:)..

And for most of the electronic items you have can probably go to the craigs list for easy disposal.

Best of luck on your return and I know its very hard giving up so many things treasured till now.. More than those materialistic things, am sure there would be a lot of memories to be cherished and treasured of.

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...


Yes of course, time for coffee is there. Will call / email. I just got packing slip to ship my phones to ncadv. Thanks.

Lol @ option 3. They don't deserve my kachra even. :p

No easy/cost effective shipping options. Looking at spending a few hundred dollars, and I just don't have that kind of money now.
As far as academia, I haven't shut that door yet, but exploring industry for now.
And yes, will try and give NGOs and homeless shelters whatever I can.

"More than those materialistic things, am sure there would be a lot of memories to be cherished and treasured of."

I needed to hear that. Thanks.