The life more ordinary

Narrate, relate and connect stories through everyday objects at the Museum for Ordinary Objects.

As a borderline compulsive hoarder, I have a multitude of possessions that I just can’t seem to let go of. From memories to memoirs, things collected over the years threaten to burst out of drawers and closets. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone when it comes to this compulsive hoarding. Despite the restrictions of space imposed by Mumbai’s real estate, many a zealous collector holds dear their stationery collection of yore, greeting cards for every milestone or a carton of Phantom cigarettes. Every object is a story, every story is a bit of our souls.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to know and meet many more such souls, for whom that one physical possession plays out a kaleidoscope of interpretations? The Museum of Ordinary Objects does just that. It showcases objects from contributors and creates a temporary showcase of the personal, for public reflection and refraction. I spoke to Chaiti Ghosh, one of the three facilitators of this unique initiative, to understand the hows and whys of the Museum. She detailed the intention  as an attempt to evoke public interest in personal lives, by connected people with each other through the showcase of objects from ordinary lives. People are encouraged to come and drop off any object they would like to have exhibited, accompanied by a story or descriptive text to reason its presence at the Museum.

How ordinary do these objects get? ‘The last edition saw us receive a crushed Bisleri bottle, a wire bent out of shape and even a personal diary from the 1980s’, Chaiti shared. The bottle came with a very simple but powerful caption: Gender. Evidently, the very simple is the most profound and the very personal is always very political. By coming forward with objects that are from their everyday lives, participants are seeking to go beyond the tangible and into the ephemeral and metaphysical aspects of life and existence. Much too heavy, this food for thought? Not really. Take a minute to look around your immediate space and ponder over how any object, by way of utility or sheer habit can create a story and then a ripple community effect around it.

If you find any such thing, which I’m sure most of us will, do take time out to take it to Harkat Studios, where the objects are being collected and then curated for the final Museum showcase on Sunday. An ordinary object with an interesting story makes its way to the Museum of Ordinary Objects on Sunday. On this eventual day, visitors will be able to take a peek into another person’s story via their objects. One can also barter objects – exchange what you’ve contributed to the Museum for someone else’s ordinary exhibit. Don’t you feel the surreal excitement of this already?

What began as a collaboration between three professionals from diverse backgrounds first gathered momentum amongst an immediate circle of friends and acquaintances. It then went on to ring out to more known people. Now, crowd sourcing objects with personal relations to the people they belong to, the Museum Of Ordinary Objects is a subtle but solid way of creating an environment of participation and sensitive perception of human nature. We are not just our specialities but actually our ordinariness. With contributions being accepted from anyone above the age of six years, there will be interesting experiences for every age group.

Pick out your ordinary object of affection or affectation and head to the pick-up points. Each one of us has a story waiting to be explored.

Museum of Ordinary Objects

Collection: Friday, March 3 (11 am – 9 pm)

Museum showcase: Sunday, March 5 (10 am – 9 pm)

Venue: Harkat Studios, Bungalow No 75, Aram Nagar 2, Versova, Andheri West



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