As I sipped my morning cup of tea, my fingers felt a tangible engraving on the stainless steel tumbler. After finishing the brew, I scrutinised the etching on the side of the tumbler. My mother’s name was engraved on the metal.
My mother was married off when the joint family system was in vogue. Since she was entering a family where two married sons were already living with her in-laws, silverware and kitchen utensils given to her by her parents were engraved with her name. That was to prevent other sisters-in-law from claiming ownership of my mother’s wares by mistake. When my parents left the joint family for the sake of better employment in a city, mother could identify them thanks to the etched name and move house. After the passing away of my parents, some of their kitchenware ended up in my house. The need to etch one’s name on utensils is going out of fashion in nuclear families.
Despite religious gurus advocating renunciation of worldly attachments, some of us have the urge to claim some things as ours and would die rather than part with them. While in school, whenever my father purchased new books and notebooks, I used to cover them with a brown paper jacket and affix labels on them. The labels bore my name, class and school name. For fear that some bully in the classroom may snatch away my books or notebooks, I used to write my name inside the pages as well.
Since we cannot write our name on electronic gadgets like mobiles, they are programmed to unlock with a PIN or fingerprint or even facial recognition. These possessions have become so personal with password protection that husband and wife cannot use the same mobile and parents cannot see what their children are doing with their gadgets.
One’s money deposited in bank accounts used to be protected by the account holders’ signatures. When banks became electronic, PIN was introduced to claim one’s money. Whatever methods one may employ to hold on to one’s worldly possessions tightly there is always a thief waiting to pinch them. Thieves know how to erase owners’ names from stolen articles. And hackers even know how to clone credit cards and hack into electronically operated bank accounts and steal our monetary possessions.