Saturday, 14 February 2015

Home Away From Home: Setting up a Home

I am the new employee whose parents dropped her off on her first day of work and even had a word with her reporting manager about the company and its business. I am the new employee whose mom told her boss and I quote “I am leaving her under your care now.”
Is there any reason for my brain not to face palm at this? 
Now, I am not the type who throws a fit at being escorted by my parents to school, college, first day of my internship and now my first day of work. Who cares? As long as they are not pinning a handkerchief to my pinafore, making my shoes shine so well that the water bottle hanging on my neck gets reflected in it and adjusting my Spiderman back pack, I am cool with it! But even to my ears, the ‘care of’ to my boss sounded something an emotional, drama loving mom would say.

After such a delightful, eyeball catching entry on my first day of work, wherein I was happily six hours late (or as my friend says "Pehle din pe aukaat dikha diya tune"), my parents, with me in tow, went apartment hunting. After having endured the relentless, ear drum bursting, lung cancer giving effects of the cities of Bombay and Thane, Bangalore, in my head, looked like that beautiful, perfect cousin whom your mom always looks at with admiration and then gives you that look which silently screams “Meh!”

Independent houses dotting the streets and very few apartment buildings is something I may never get used to. Apartments/ flats make good economic sense. More human dwellings in comparatively less space. Cattle class all the way! Just give your monthly maintenance cheque and your utilities are magically taken care of. Independent house owners seem to love running from pillar to post to get stuff done. Jolly! 

Another weird notion that I find unsettling is the friendliness in a neighbourhood. Something that goes against my every sense of being. The concept I am totally alien to. Back home, we would barely acknowledge a neighbour with a smile despite living in the same building, on the same floor for eight odd years. If you come across a person from your building, you avoid eye contact, appear to be busy on your phone (while you and I both know that you are randomly scrolling through your Whatsapp list, judging your friends' display pictures) and try to scurry away before having to forcefully act civil with them. Once that catastrophe has passed you coochikoo with a cute stray and try to communicate with him/ her in Dog. And philosophers say humans don't make sense. Pch!

The concept of paying guest accommodation here, like everything else, is commercialized. They call a broom cupboard a bedroom. Bombay townies will vouch for this- a town area servant quarter is more spacious and cozy than the PG accommodation here. You get a cot with a thin mattress, used bed sheet, a thin pillow (hopefully the past user didn't have dandruff/ lies) and voila! You have what they call a living space. I suppose the broom cupboard bedroom is supposed to give you an idea of the worst case scenario- if you take wrong decisions, you may end up in jail, and this is how jails are. LOL. Just kidding. You may be slightly more comfortable behind bars.
We will make the bedroom look as shabby and unwelcoming as possible that you will not even think of entertaining "guests" here. 
The best part of so called accommodations are the deadlines. Some of them had deadlines of 9:30 pm. Essentially, I'll be paying them to run my life while I enjoy their complimentary jail food. And I will be calling this my home. One PG for women went a step further and added a note on their main gate which read "Ladies who are late will be allowed entry only if they are dropped off in a company car." Because we don't use cabs or rickshaws or have colleagues/ friends drop us off in their vehicle when we are running late. That just sends a wrong message. Besides, if women come home late in non-company cars, they have no morals. So, don't allow them entry and keep them standing outside in the oh-so-safe-in-the-middle-of-the-night environment. Makes sense, no?
By Facebook's grace, we found comparatively normal landlords (not a PG), liked what they offered and took it. 

Now, love your mom to infinity because she will not judge when you are standing in the supermarket, looking like a fool and not having an inkling as to what all you need to set yourself up in a new place. While you stand there dumbstruck and completely useless, be assured that she'll pull out a nice shopping list and start ticking things off. Something which makes you go "Oh shit! This is how things magically appeared back home?" 
Eventually, in your temporary home you realize that the maid is only going to wash your clothes and hang them to dry. The dry-clothes-fairy is not going to get them back from the balcony. Oh, your wardrobe is not sprinkled with fairy dust to arrange itself properly.

When you live with housemates, there are adjustments that will be demanded. For example, you need to be totally okay with a stranger's lingerie drying in the balcony right beside yours, have a shoe lying around in the kitchen, loud noises around the house that make you think "What is that noise? What can possibly make all that noise?", a stranger running around the house wearing a helmet and by far the worst- looking at the aforementioned strangers in their night clothes. That is one moment where I feel like clicking their picture and sending them to my mom saying "Here's proof that people dress way worse than I do when home. You cannot say that I dress like an urchin at home."

The household will generally be either all male or all female. Never a mix of the two. Additionally, one more unspoken rule is "no opposite sex in the house" which feels like going back to school- "Girls and boys should not talk or mingle. Girls and boys should not sit together. The best punishment is making the child sit in between two children of the opposite sex."For the overtly adventurous kind, this may be your chance to break the rules, live life on the wilder side, play sneakoscope games and what have you!

All in all, living alone, especially for the first time, is never foolproof. Be your dumbest, lose your ego, venture into everything without any expectations, be safe and you will come out of this bruised and slightly less foolish. Maybe.


  1. I agree.
    Even I like apartments better!
    And setting up a place to stay is quite something. But, then who said life was easy? :) Adds to the experience! We get to write posts about life & share :)

    1. Oh, yes! There's always a silver lining :)

  2. This is all so true. Well, except the part where you come out of it 'less foolish'.