The left over thick sambhar has been thrown. The uttapa stuck on the old iron pan has been scraped and sunk in water. The unused utensils have been dumped in the sink for the poor maid to clean up tomorrow. The dripping polythene packet containing the sambhar and chewed up drumsticks has been hurriedly put in a thicker packet and thrown in the already full dustbin. The empty racks have been filled with basic spices, drinking chocolate and noodles.
My first day in the new house.
Life had not given me this experience before. This seems like an adventurous journey to me. Each day unfolds with new challenges, surprises and excitement for me to face. After having lived in such habitats where I had everything at a hand’s reach such that I took everything around me for granted, this seems to be too stressful to handle. Arranging for maid, her stuff to kitchen and bathroom items has been quite an experience.
A few days back, almost a week ago you can say, I shifted out of Surat. Yes, I was excited about the new city but I do not know when the excitement changed into anxiety. And how I know that anxiety had crept in, you may ask. Tell tale signs like an upset stomach, vomiting sensation and headache. I suddenly wasn’t sure if shifting to Baroda was a good idea.
Maybe the 2 methi paranthasI had for breakfast did it. Or the butter. Or the oodles of anxiety and nervousness lying unsettled within me. I have been upset about separating from my friends and dear colleagues. My family believed that I was depressed and hence the impact on my health.
Two road journeys and a lot of nervousness later I reached my new office on Wednesday. The office wasn’t as bad as I had been told. The building is old, the decor is old fashioned (plastic flowers everywhere), the toilets smell like train toilets and the food is horrible. The rest is fine. The group is small and young and friendly which is something new for me. I am not used to being friendly at my workplace (Call me the Ice Queen). So smiling and being nice to people is something I need to practice.
For the first 3 days here, I kept cringing at the very thought of food. Even a single chapatti was too much for me. I kept feeling ‘pukey’ and full. After lot of therapies I thought will work, like curd, lime water and papayas, I went back to normal.
Sunday was the big day when I left my company guesthouse and shifted into the house. My excess stuff was everywhere. I spent good 3 hours trying to fit in everything into one single cupboard. Shoes, clothes, accessories, scarves, books and bags are fighting to find their place in one single room. Every time I shift houses, the quantity of my belongings shocks me. But even after vowing never to buy a single thing, I don’t change. Alas. Old habits don’t die so easily.
Being alone in the new house has been freaking me out. My over imaginative mind imagines hidden creeps, ghosts and even animals and reptiles lurking in the dark corners of the unknown house. I was lucky enough my new friend, Mansee, agreed to spend time with me over lunch and a movie on Sunday. What would I have done without her? We had a brilliant late lunch at Pizza Hut, watched ‘The Dirty Picture’ and browsed through books at a book fair. Had it not been for her, I would have cursed myself or just ran away from the house to some crowded place.
However happy I am about getting a house in such a happening, prime location, the expenses are killing me. The high rent, plus the home utilities, food, electricity bill and conveyance, which were so easily available in Surat, some even free, are taking so much of my attention here. I don’t ever remember buying basic home necessities like phenyl, mop, washing soap, salt, oil, etc. I always had these at my disposal. The maid shocked me by saying she will charge Rs. 400 for each piece of work. I still thought maids are to be paid Rs. 250 monthly. Has that time gone by?
Living in this sort of a society is new for me too. The buildings are close to each other. You open a window and you peep into the window of another. When I open my balcony, I end up looking at the entire set of surrounding buildings. And they can see me. Nothing is hidden and private here. Sunday morning was full of loud voices of vegetable hawkers and trash collectors. Women do not come down on the road to buy things. They send a cloth bag down through a rope and pull it up. Women ask for the prices of fruits also from their balconies. An Aunty stands in the balcony on the opposite building & talks on phone loud enough for me to hear. Sometime later, she and her husband (presumably) fight loudly.
This house is old. The bright pink walls are patchy and dirty. Paint is peeling off the walls and ceiling. The flooring is different in all the rooms. But I am not letting this bring my enthusiasm down. I am excited to convert this house into my home. Even though I have all the bare necessities to survive, I won’t stop here. I need my surroundings to look beautiful, not just complete. I want this place to feel like my comfort zone, not just a set of walls and roof that provide me with shelter.
This is just the beginning. I look forward to the next day because I know it will bring in new, exciting things. If not, maybe I’ll make it exciting somehow.