There is this habit I picked up from my dad – of unfailingly writing down the daily expenses. From experience, it is an excellent way of financially disciplining oneself, and that is my account book’s raison d’etre. But over a period of time, it has become a cherished belonging for a different reason. This December, when I close the month’s accounts, I will finish the book’s 160-odd pages. Each month, on an average, takes about 2 pages, and now you must have guessed why it is special. It chronicles the days of our life – D’s and mine, in the form of expenses, for the past 6+ years.

As I flip through the pages, I can see in my mind’s eye, snapshots of our life , from April of 2003 – our 10 year old Kiney getting repaired, for the umpteenth time, pleading for moksha, the dinners at the now non existent restaurant in Koramangala we used to haunt, the shopping at the then favourite brand Weekender, the old phone booth STD calls, because mobile rates were too high, the jackets we bought for the surprisingly cold Bangalore rains, the much awaited trips to Kerala, the doctor visits in the first December in Bangalore because of a cough that just wouldn’t let go, the Rs.12 haircut, browsing at the nearby internet cafe, the friendly neighbourhood Mallu store, the first visit to Barista and the nervousness due to the unfamiliar surroundings, CDs from the library nearby, Archies cards for Valentine’s Day, and cakes for birthdays. The area around JNC in Koramangala as the preferred cloth shopping destination.

The first mall experience courtesy Forum, end of CD lending, and the rise of PVR. Foodworld – which meant that the local Mallu store was slowly forgotten. Landmark and the continuing era of book shopping, the thrill of owning a computer, of having to explain why it still made sense without internet, floppies, chaats on the roadside, our first Strand book sale, and the joy of having bought so many books. The discovery of Megamart and budget shopping.

The boredom with Barista and the testing out of Coffee Day and Coffee World for a different experience, the discovery of Corner House and surviving a December without the need for a doctor, the ascent of the credit card, the discovery of instant Dosamix, the first digital camera, the Exercycle, the feeling that the Strand book festival was no more really value for money, and the shift to a new neighbourhood, and new jobs. Insurance premiums and mutual funds. The Fab India era.

Vacations. Buses giving way to trains to low cost flights. Making a visit to the Strand sale only because tradition demanded it, and because I had the feeling I would be able to complete my ‘Foundation’ collection this time, Tata Sky, and Thoms bread. The friendly neighbourhood theatre and late night Mallu movies. Broadband at home. Bangalore Central and Indiranagar 100 ft Road as  preferred shopping destinations.

The beginning of the Blossoms addiction, the return to Koramangala, Star Bazaar and the 10 pm movies at PVR. Morning Yoga classes. D’s hep life and the end of roadside chaats. The death of low cost flights. Apollo clinic and the return of the cough. Blog hosting and domain registration costs. Lifestyle as preferred shopping destination. The return of Fab India – for curtains and sheets….. and we’re almost in the present..

These were samples, each date has a storyline, many of them forgotten, some still fresh. An offline lifestream, a treasure trove of memories, that helps me take stock and converts what could’ve been mundane into an important part of life. As days pass into months and years, we have changed, perhaps seamlessly, but with the book, it is easy to see how and when it happened, and when one sits down and thinks, it is easy to figure out the why too.. Gradual changes to set patterns and cycles. I realise I miss many of those things, places and routines. At the beginning of 2010,the vision is still perhaps half perfect, but when I turn back time through these pages, it is good to see the distance we have traveled, and to note the things that haven’t really changed.

I will entrust the book with my other travel companion. They belong to the same category and will feel a sense of  belonging with each other. And as I wrote the expenses of December 31st 2009, and ended the year, I wondered if this dear book, if it could speak, would have something to say like Edie Britt in her farewell episode

As I looked down on the world I began to let go of it……. I let go all those things which seems so ordinary but when you put them together they make up a life.

until next time, figures of speech