Monday, January 28, 2008

The Object Of My Affection

The inimitable Kiran tagged me to do this. And I have been having a hard time. Atlases and elephants and bangles. I have no such treasures. Well, maybe I do, I suppose. There is a little steel “gadu” - an odd shaped cup for water that belonged to my mother that belonged to me and now belongs to Chip. But it doesn’t inspire mushy feelings. I have a pair of my grandmother’s earrings and a silver platter that was awarded to my dad. And they are all wonderful things to have no doubt and they will be passed on proudly as such things usually are. They are mine only in transit. The earrings will go to Chip’s wife and the plaque will be given to him as well. They are not mine, not in that sense.

When I came to the States nine years ago as a student, I came with two suitcases and a backpack. Leaving most of my treasures behind. A collection of vintage and old coins. A carved rosewood chest. Little treasures collected as a girl. I felt a sad; perhaps a little nostalgic knowing that this is where we parted ways. These things would not cross the shores with me. But I sneaked in a little treasure. And most of you would have a hearty laugh if you knew what it was. A hairbrush. A little plastic hairbrush. Black. With hard bristles. About eight inches in length. Shaped like curvier paddle or a half-round. Take your pick. The hairbrush is more than a quarter century old and it has quite a bit of amusing history attached to it.

The hairbrush came with a hairdryer set. This was the late seventies, early eighties when hairdryers were a middle class luxury. My dad and mom on their maiden trip to Germany bought a cherry red hairdryer set made by Siemens complete with accessories on sale and brought it home. My mother obviously liked it but I don’t have too many memories of her actually using it. I am sure she was convinced her hair would fall off or turn gray (and no, I don’t blame her). Needless to say, I was completely smitten. Not just by the red hairdryer but also with its box that showed off pretty blonde models using the accessories and features to achieve silky straight hair and tumbling curls. Wow. I begged my mother to let me dry my hair with it and she permitted me to do so a few times, but not more. If I couldn’t have the hairdryer, I begged to use the accessories by themselves – a large comb and a brush. The comb was too commonplace. Every household had one. Brushes, on the other hand were a novelty and I declared the brush as my own. Over the years, the hairdryer was rarely used, although I used the hard bristled brush every single day. Many years later, the hairdryer brunt its coil and was thrown away. I was in my teens. My mother begged me to throw away the hairbrush that came with it. I had several brushes and combs by then, but this one held a special place. Never would I part with the silly hairbrush. For many years, I brushed my hair with it, sort of to finish my hair routine even if the bulk of combing and brushing was done with scalp friendly brushes. It had become a sort of a talisman. To part with it would be to invite untold tragedies upon me.

The brush crossed the Atlantic with me and to every house I moved to, it moved with me. I bought fancier brushes and nicer combs, but this one always stayed. Over the years it collected dirt and dust. It became faded and marked and scratched. It came so dirty that overnight soaking in sudsy water did little to improve its appearance. BigGeek threatened to throw the vile brush away. “You will catch a disease” he pleaded. Hairbrushes were not to be used for a zillion years. True. I had brought and thrown away many, many hairbrushes, but I was unable to part with this one. One day BigGeek followed up on his threat. I found the brush in the trash can. I, of course retrieved it and cleaned it. “It has to get out of this house.” BigGeek said, arms crossed. I relented. The hairbrush was causing him too much distress. “Ok, I promise to get it out of the house.” I said. I was glum. I slipped the hairbrush into my purse and all conversation on the matter ended. I hid it in the glove box of my old car. And it stayed there happily for a while. And then, when I sold the car to the dealer a few years later, I gathered all my stuff and put it in BigGeek’s car. The brush went in his car and hid in the seat pouch at the back. I think BigGeek knows it is there but he has given up on it. I once told BigGeek when I was pregnant that I intend to brush Chip’s hair with that brush. He was horrified that I would expose our little one to such atrocities. But I have sneaked and brushed Chip’s hair with the brush. And he has enjoyed it.

p.s. Wrote it in a hurry yesterday, so forgot to pass along the tag. Gauri, Preethi, choxbox, your turn now.

24 comments:

AA_Mom said...

Nice write up. Just the other day I was remembering my 'gadu'. And was thinking if anybody still uses such things.

I know mine is in a safe place at my parent's place and yes somehow it felt very special to be drinking water from it :)

noon said...

You won't believe it - I just quickly managed to write a post on this same topic...have not posted yet. Came to check your site and saw this. Sweet sweet! I could totally relate to it (you will see some similarily when you read my post). Don't ever throw the brush! It's a forever thing! :)

rayshma said...

that was such a beautifully written post... :)

Preethi said...

What a beautiful story.. and what an unusual attachment.. I loved reading this.. its only women who have such strange sentiments and weird attachments.. BG would want to throw it away.. he is a man!! :P

SUR NOTES said...

wonderful post! and hold onto that brush...

Mona said...

that hairbrush's been everywhere huh?
it remided me of a little comb that my dad carried, you know the really tiny, fine-toothed combs?
i have memories of sitting around in the car, heading some place, and all three of us using the comb, one by one, to 'smart-up'.
those were the days.

karmickids said...

Lovely just lovely. I know just what you mean. I have one of them hairbrushes too. Ivory backed. Ancient. Belonging to the paternal grandmother. But didnt like her, so have no good memories of it. Just sort of hanging onto it.

Just Like That said...

:-D Sentiments are weird things. But they're to be treasured, yay.

Gauri said...

Wow !! That's one well travelled hairbrush :-)

Sweet sweet post Dottie :-)

Do you intend passing on the "hair brush' legacy to Chip ??

DotMom said...

aa_mom: I think its hard to buy them these days. I felt special too drinking from my gadu!

noon: just read out posts.. there is a similarity.. the nostalgia.. the object being so insiignificant.. half forgotten most times!

rayshma: thanks, hon!

preethi: you said it! you are tagged BTW.

sur notes: I will.. who knows Chip might be able to get a tidy sum for in on Ebay 50 years hence :)

mona: those were the says indeed! ah memories.

karmickids: Just like you to not mince words :)

JLT: you hit the nail on its head.

gauri: I do and I hope he makes a tidy sum off it if not anything else!

Preethi said...

Hey love the change to the layout.. it looks so serene (somehow I think it suits you!!) .. this is a tough tag.. will take it up.. thanks :)

Just Like That said...

HeYYYYY! you changed your blog template. Looks very nice and elegant! :-)

DotMom said...

preethi and JLT: I did.. It's thanks to the fantastic grafx gurl! she is fab.

rayshma said...

LOVE ur new template! :)

Preethi said...

All done.. not as good as yours but an attempt nevertheless!! :) come read!!

Orchid said...

first off, nice template.
second...hairbrush?! :) i was going to say..it's a probably in the estrogen...gotta think what mine is :)

noon said...

Wow dotmom - love your new look. How do you guys do this - come up with such cool ones every now and then!
btw - may be better if you could make the font a little darker - it is sort of light and blends in a little...not as easy to read...I mean I can read it totally but it feels easier on the eye if it is darker...

Tharini said...

LOL! I found this tale both cute and funny. So where does this hair brush live now? And why can't we see a picture of it?

And....I loooove your new look and template. Designed it urself? Love the font in Karma Caaling the best! Its excellent and the very subtle hues suits you.

Preethi said...

First timer here. came thru Preethi's blog.
What a nice story! And what a great narrative skill you have! I remember my dad had a hair comb bought in Dubai the nice shiny ones made of some fundu material, which he used to guard diligently. One day for some strange reason, i burnt the edge while experimenting with fire! Don't ask me what happened after that! nostalgic....

PS: i couldn't help but notice the hair brush ads below ur posts. Found it funny. he he heeeee

DotMom said...

rayshma: thanks, girl!

preethi: it is an awsome post.. iread it.. are you kidding me?

orchid: thanks. I am looking forward to reading about it :)

noon: your wish is my command. The font is a lil darker now. Lemme know if this is a confortable color.. thanks for pointing this out. let me know if you feel I need to tweak other things.

tharini: template designed by grafx. I took the banner and did my own take on it. I like the font too. Its papyrus.

preethi(2): geez.. i remember all of us combing our hair with our Dad's comb. some things never change! Welcome to my blog! Can't believe you actually like it:) Thanks for pointing out the ads.. they got turned on when I changed the template. I have turned them off :)

The TAAMommy said...

That is a lovely tale of the journey of the brush !!

Hope you feel better soon :(!!

Vinita said...

gadu:)) I guess every maharashtrian kid has one while growing up which belongs soley to them.
Yes hairdryers and hair brushes were viewed with awe in those days. And I remember my mom would think too that use of hairbrush will make my hair fall.hee hee and hairdryer was an absolute no no. I remember my mom used to buy woman and home magazine and I would go ga ga over all those blonde models, their make up and dresses. :))
(APlya manaat agadi pakka baslela asta ki ashya jivhalyachya vastu jar fekun dilya tar kahitari vaeet honar..hee hee agadi kharay tujha)

Vinita

DotMom said...

taa mommy: thanks!

vinita: oh boy! my mom had these dressmaking magazines and I would drool at them. ani jivhalyachya vastunbaddal tuza mhanna agdi khara aahe! malaa asa marathi boloon kaay maja vaatey!

choxbox said...

very nice dotmom :)

done the tag btw.