Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Living alone

(This post is the 5th post in the one-month challenge I gave myself.)

9.30 pm: Ok. Today I have reached the point I dreaded I will reach. The point where I am in no mood to write. It is not for lack of topics. I still have the drafts I would like to complete but they fall into 2 groups -1) topics where I don't have as much to say now as I did when I started them 2) topics where I have a lot to say and I know I won't be able to finish today. Apart from the drafts I can also think of some very obvious topics to write about- I would call these 'easy' topics because I have enough to say about them that I can write with my eyes closed, but then precisely for that reason they would turn out to be too obvious. I am trying to avoid that kind of writing for the time being though I might relent towards the end of the month.
So that puts me in a fix.
10 pm: Maybe I will browse for a little while. Some idea might strike or inspire me. or remind me of something I wanted to write about.
10.45 pm: After about 45 minutes of thinking/reading I am still in the same spot. Nothing comes to my mind. Blank. Zilch.
10:45:58pm (the seconds part is obviously made up. Just to indicate that the following happened while I was typing the previous sentence.) IDEA! Writing about living alone. Don't know why it didn't strike me earlier.

So, today marks 15 days of me living alone. A few months ago, when I knew I was going to move to Santa Clara, like most Indian students in 
the US, I was also thinking of having roommates. I put up the ad on our India Club site and also spread the word among people I knew etc. But one day, I had called up one of my college seniors who is currently in SC, and she mentioned to me that she was living alone. I guess that's when the idea took over my mind. But I didn't realize it then. I thought it was an interesting option. Why hadn't I thought of this before? However, I wasn't sure if living alone was for me. What if I get terribly bored or lonely? Will it be safe? Questions kept popping in my mind. So, I just told myself -"Not now". And also decided to stay with a girl who was looking for roommates.
As luck would have it, she backed out after a few weeks. After a few more such encounters with other girls (one where I backed out for some other reason), I was in Santa Clara hunting seriously for an apartment for myself.

People might have told you Bay area rents are high. That is only half the story. They charge you a ransom and an arm and a leg. And some more. For 500 sq ft of space with thin walls, rickety cupboards and not-worth-the-money features. So after seeing the sky-high rents, I went back to the idea of sharing a room and tried Sulekha this time. Again, as luck would have it, things didn't work out and I ended up taking my own place on a short lease.

So, yes, I came with a lot of apprehension. Especially because of the money involved. The first few days were a little weird. And I am still a little worried about whether I would forget to lock or leave the balcony open by mistake or things like that.

But I have been liking it so far. There is a simple pleasure in cooking for yourself. In trying to keep the place looking neat. In doing small chores with music in the background. In sitting and watching squirrels running outside the window. In lying in bed awake and looking at the sunlight between the leaves. In silence.

I think that the best thing I have liked about the US is this- the kind of precious silence you can get. Amidst clean surroundings and nature. (My vacation also gave me that, and words can't describe how much I loved looking out of the window onto a lawn and garden full of flowers when it was drizzling with a book in my hand- Ya, it was the stuff dreams are made of.)

The good part about living alone is that it's not as if you don't meet people. You can just choose when and whom to meet. And you can have a lot of time to pamper yourself. Anyway, the surprising thing is that I never thought I would appreciate doing all the household work it takes, with nobody to share with. But then again, it has only been 2 weeks so I don't know if the phase will last.

Or maybe it's because I got the Big Jambox (which is similar to the Bose Soundlink but better except for bass).  It is one investment I am proud of having made for the way it fills my room with sound. Beautiful, beautiful sound. Interestingly, it doesn't do just Rock and Coldplay very well. The best music I heard on it was MS. I had never realized how her voice can sound so much fuller with a louder speaker. But the way my room filled with Abheri defined the words 'divine' and 'ethereal' for me. It was almost as if I had never known how beautiful music could be.

Anyway, not to continue with the mini review of the Jambox, I would just sum up by saying I am happy that I am living alone for sometime. I know it might not last too long (financial reasons) and is a luxury (again, financially) but it has given me a long lost sense of myself. And time. It is beautiful because of the time I get to write and see nature, but more because of the music. And the silence.

Mostly the silence.

Tomorrow: Mahabharata

PS: (I know I posted this late. Had to do a few things in between.)

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