I have finally moved and settled down into a tiny little house on my own. For the first time in my life, I am staying on my own. I have the whole flat to myself. I can decorate it in my own way. I can keep things in my own way. I will clear the mess created by me only. Except the maid (and the obstinate neighbourhood stray cat), no one really touches anything in the house. When I had started working 7 years back, I had a deep desire to live alone. The house may be tiny, the walls may be of a ghastly shade and the flooring may be old but I would live like a queen in that house. That never really happened till 2 weeks back.
Of course, I had got used to staying with people since the last 3 years I had been sharing the house with someone or the other. And though situation led me to the decision of living alone, I did have some apprehension initially. My expenses would increase. I may feel scared of being alone. Someone may keep an eye on me waiting to strike at a right moment. Even though I used to hardly speak to my flatmate earlier (in the old house) her presence gave me some sort of a comfort; it drove away my fear of the dark. For the few initial days, I did not sleep well and felt discomfort all the time even though all amenities were available.
Speaking of amenities, the struggle I faced in setting up the house – getting it cleaned, repaired and brushed up – almost drove me out of the city. I was so demoralized and fed up. Even though I had help from loyal friends and friendly neighbours, who offered me to come over and stay at their place if I didn’t find the new house comfortable, I felt I was ‘fighting all alone’, not that it was such big a fight, really. But well, for me, everything is a big deal and I have to go fanatic and paranoid over every little thing. So, I did strain to get the bathrooms cleaned, drinking water arranged, the old musty smell & dust removed all the while fretting and complaining about how troubled I was.
The thing was I wasn’t thinking clearly. The cobwebs and dust had messed up my mind too much that I refused to see and implement easy solutions. The drinking water problem was ultimately solved by a carton of bottled water. The musty air reduced once I started living there and fresh air came into the house. I bought air fresheners for the bathrooms and cupboards and incense sticks for the rooms to liven them up. The broken ply and discarded boxes were picked away one day in my absence leaving my balcony spotless clean & me quite speechless. Some things just took care of themselves.
I had done up the previous house with a lot of compassion. It was upsetting emptying the shelves and stripping the walls (only an overly emotional person like me can think like this). What made it even more difficult was the strife I had my flatmate just days before leaving. We never communicated directly and at times I wonder what really happened. Nonetheless, it only increased the already wide distance between us. I do not like remembering the moments of taking away my things off the walls (all the decorative items in the house were my contributions. My flat mate wasn’t interested in decorating because she knew she was going to stay temporarily) and kitchen while my flat mate was still in the house. It was like I wasn’t leaving the house, I was parting with memories and old friends.
With my relationships turned sour, feelings still bitter (and a verbal war with a neighbour), I shifted into this musty, tiny, poorly maintained flat; I was convinced that this house wasn’t right for me and energies were signalling me to quit. Then things started looking up. My good old friends arrived from Bombay to spend 2 days with me. Those 2 days, the house became even messier and I did not mind. I just enjoyed with them. I let go. And then things took care of themselves.
I still haven’t returned to my usual routine – exercise, writing, reading, etc (which explains the long break from the blog). I am still conscious of the new surroundings. When I cook breakfast, I don’t actually devour it. I still feel weird. The warmth of the house is yet to touch me. The typical smell of the house is yet to be personalized by me. But I am sure I will start calling it ‘home’ soon.
Of course there have been good consequences too. There are no unexpected unknown people lounging around the house. The mess is lesser (and familiar). Because necessity is the mother of invention, I have dealt with shouldering the entire burden of expenses in my own way. I have full control of the utility items & food that comes in the house. My flat mate never shelled out for these. So instead of buying these items for 2 people (or 3, if you count The Boyfriend), I buy it only for myself. The food provided by Tiffin services in large quantity doesn’t have to be wasted. Instead of 2, now I order just one and have it for the whole day. Saves money and food. I also avoid eating out now. So I save money and also avoid oily junk food. I have become money conscious and spend only when needed. I probably wouldn’t have taken these measures had I continued living comfortably undisturbed in the old house.
I have learnt several lessons in the whole process – of staying calm, taking things as they come and looking at what you have and not what is amiss. Had I done this, the moving process would have been an exciting journey.