The other day, I was watching a video and it took me back to my childhood days. This goes back to when I was in my 7th grade. One day my aunt’s family had come to visit us over the weekend. After a sumptuous lunch, they all left to visit the famous Meenakshi Amman Temple and I went off to play outside with my friends – our favourite game being ‘Hide & seek’. When I came back home after some time, I saw a leather case on the table. Curious, I opened to see that it had neatly arranged rows and rows of coins of various colours and denominations. I had only seen 1 paise, 2 paise, 5 paise, 10 paise, 25 paise and 50 paise coins until then. But these were shiny and different from anything that I had ever seen in my life!! Looking around to ensure that no one was watching me, I quietly pulled out some coins to get a closer look. The metal felt so good on my palms. I put them to my cheeks – as if they were going to feel different!! Hearing my mother call me, I quickly put them back in the case and closed it.
Soon the visiting family came back from their outing. By then, we had set the table up for dinner. There were several conversations about this and that and I was patiently waiting for a pause in the conversation to ask about the leather case and its coins. When I did ask, my uncle gave a proud smile and said he would explain all about it when we were done with dinner. With all eagerness, I finished my dinner & my post dinner chores and rushed to his side with the leather case.
He told me that he was numismatist – never ever heard of such a word in my life, honestly!! I was just in my 7th grade and we didnt have spelling bee contests then!! Seeing my expression, he smiled and went on to explain that numismatist means a collector of coins. They apparently also study about the coins and its source and, some of these people are also coin dealers. But my uncle was only a hobbyist, in the sense, he was only collecting coins as a hobby. He used to travel around the world and bring coins from all over. He also told me that a collector of paper money is called a notaphilist.
Inspired by his collection – rather, inspired by the fancy terms that one gets as a collector – I started to wonder what I could possibly collect as a young girl growing up in a small town. I started with collecting used bus tickets and stamps, soon gave up because I got bored of the drab looking tickets and didnt know how to get cool looking stamps!! But the passion for collection lead me to start collecting magazines, when one uncle of mine offered to gift us annual subscription of the National Geographic for us. That was quite a journey which I cherish even to this day. These magazines were informative with neat & crisp documentaries /stories and came with shiny pages that were full of high definition pictures of all kinds of creatures, buildings, travel destinations, etc. The magazine also came with a sheet of small cards of information that one could remove from the magazine and collect. I became a collector of these cards and all the DIY kits given in the magazine. I also learnt a lot in the process – the names of different kinds of dog species, snakes, fish, trees and what not. I soon became a proud collector of various things.
Looking back, I am quite proud and happy to have been a Gnomologist – collector of quotes & maxims, a Philatelist – collector of stamps, a Deltiologist – Collector of post cards, a Conchologist – collector of animal shells – when I moved to a beach city.
My grandmother used to be a pernalogist – collector of pearls and my daughter, a Plangonologist (A collector of dolls) among others. A friend of mine is a Virtuoso – a collector of works of art & curios – their house will be filled with shiny brass and copper artefacts. I really wonder how she finds the time to keep them shiny!! I have known many who are bibliophilists – collector of books or heortologists – collector of religious calendars,
Today’s kids probably are more of Audiophiles – collectors of hi-fi equipment.
Having a collection or pursuing any kind of sensible collection can have educational benefits by making one an expert in that field. It can be a very relaxing activity but, for some, this could become an obsession and hence, it is important to start any collection with some thought.
With the passage of time and shifting from one city to another, these collections slowly started loosing their values as far as my life was concerned. With each move, I had to throw away one or two of the collections, but definitely held the associated memories very dear. I talk about them with much pride to my kids. It definitely did feel upsetting initially to loose something that you had so dearly collected and preserved over the years, but it also dawned on me that I donot wish to have a museum in my house. With age, priorities change and it also becomes more difficult to maintain these, so letting go of those collections donot cause any regret, today.
What I definitely cherish and hold as very precious collections are those that define me as a person – the collections that help identify me – the HUMAN VALUES that I have collected all through my life. While many of them have been constant companions, some have undergone transformations with age. Understanding values that influence behaviours and prioritising them has helped me live a better and enriched life.
Values guide much of our everyday behaviour but we donot realise their influence consciously. Different people have different priorities of values and the action that one takes depends on these priorities. Understanding our expectations from life and the conditions under which these can be achieved will help us live a more satisfied life leading to a life well lived – be it in personal growth, autonomy, self acceptance, life purpose, etc..
On a lighter note, I am not sure if there is a specific word that defines the person who is collector of values!!
You can read some very interesting words for collectors and improve your vocabulary from these sites:-
PART 2 …….