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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Home Sweet Home



Disclaimer: This is a rant. Not necessarily a logical one. Definitely a cribby frustrated one. Feel free to skip this. And yes, I know happiness is not about materialistic stuff. So go, be happy, who's stopping you?!

Let's talk about Housing.

It’s the one thing that is by far the biggest headache I’ve faced in this cramped up litter box of a city. The one thing that Bollywood conveniently skips over in all their dreamy-starry-eyed-in-Mumbai stories. Yes, I’m in a bad mood. No, I’m not over-reacting.

It’s been six and a half years since I first stepped into this city, where I started with staying in a dilapidated PG, sharing a room with two other girls, paying a rent of 6k. Because that’s all I could afford. And that’s all I thought I needed. And life was good, for quite some time, until of course the ceiling collapsed in one room, and the ceiling fan in another. Then someone tried to break in through the window at another point of time, but that’s another story.

Salaries go up and so do basic needs. And then the wants. I have by now stayed in 6 different houses in Mumbai, for different durations of time, and been house-hunting for around half of those times.

And house-hunting in Mumbai is a surreal experience. Actually, yeah, that’s exactly the word, surreal.

From creepy brokers who spend more time checking you out than your requirement, to houses that are so horrifying that you wonder how people actually live there… from kitchens that would ensure that I don’t even enter them once (from the 3-4 times a year I might right now)… to washrooms where you literally bathe on top of the pot… from owners who think it’s perfectly normal to demand your life’s savings as deposit, and a pound of flesh as rent…. To brokers who you’re not completely sure might just have underworld linkages.

To the dream house, that seems just beyond your reach, that you start considering selling your soul for that comfortable bed and clean living.

And then everyone has an opinion.
People who have never searched for houses.
People living comfortably with their parents.
People so far from reality.

And first you laugh.
Then it starts creeping up on you.
The horrendous truth of it all.
Of how this might be the city of dreams.
But dreams remain just that.
Because while you chase your dream, you sell away parts of your life that would be basic requirements for sanity anywhere else.

And you wonder.
How you got yourself into this vicious cycle of un-pleasantry.
Where wholehearted happiness is always
Just a bit too far.


Friday, November 11, 2016

Of Growing Up and Ageing



I stood in the loud darkness outside my office, willing A to reach a little faster, all the while feeling the dull choke of cigarette smoke from all the meandering chimneys standing nearby. As luck would have it, all traffic jams of the world seem to occur outside my office compound, which always results in a spiralling boring wait on the road.

And just like that, yesterday, a guy asked me for directions.
Which I gave.
And then he introduced himself.
And then he made more small talk.
Small talk that seemed to be heading towards not-so-small directions.
It gets difficult to keep giving monosyllabic answers beyond a point.
So instead I picked up my phone and called A instead, and proceeded to talk to him for the next 5 minutes till he arrived.
Not that there was anything even mildly threatening about the guy.
Or weird.
Or shady.
Maybe he was just bored.
But I think more than anything else, he took me by surprise.
I can’t remember the last time a guy randomly tried to talk to me.

I think somewhere along the years flying by, time went from crazy evenings at pubs, meeting new people, flirting and enjoying yourself, to a tame life revolving around excel sheets, Uber rides home, and worrying about the maid’s tantrums.

Time went from being one of the few girls in an all guy’s team, to being yet another married girl hiding behind her cubicle.
Time went from a lot of attention, to startling randomly scattered experiences.
Time went from perfect skin to spots and the first signs of wrinkles.

But as narcissistic as this whole post has sounded, I don’t miss it one tiny bit.

Because after the excel sheet, and the Uber ride, I finally reach home, cranky as hell…but knowing there’s a cushiony diwan, a puffed up comforter, a laptop set up to watch the latest season of Black Mirror, and A to snuggle up to.

And life is, as it should be, when it should be.


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