I Climbed it

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Home Sweet Home

It was at the Guptaji's Dhaba today that some of my colleagues and I ended up talking about the times when we left home. It was a girly talk in some ways. I was all ears as these are young vivacious girls in twenties.
For the sake of restoring privacy no real names again.
Lali was talking about her hostel days. And how keeping a small bottle of tabooed spirit and a sip of the bottle in the evening felt excitingly rebellious and irreverant.
Ashiqi said 'there is nothing like Hostel life... It prepares one for everything'.
Lali retorted 'Living alone prepares one for life. One year alone in that Def Col flat...first week in office was a night was so lonely. I lost 6kgs. Its so much better since I moved in with friends'. Lali is all of twenty three.

I agreed with her and remembered how when I had newly moved into a flat all by myself the first thing I noticed was lack of sound. An eerie silence. I grew up in a middle class home. We lived in a two room appartment. My brother and I never had a room to ourselves.In our neighbourhood most people lived like that. We had enough to eat. Loads to read. My father was a music lover and an atlas addict. So we listened to Tagore songs and knew our geography rather well. We read a lot. That was our entertainment and thats where both my brother and i scored browny points over our class mates. All in all it was a noisy neighbourhood...
I was almost twenty one when I moved out of Lucknow. All I wanted was a room of my own. A small appartment. After getting through an anchor test I had started anchoring for a local entertainment channel IN Delhi. One thousand Rupees a day. That was a lot but it was a freelance job. Would never get money on time.
I was living at my paternal Uncle's house those days and being without money would sadden me immensely.Once when I was without work for a month and was terribly low my aunt told me to get a job quickly or go back to Lucknow. She realised I was feeling terribly lost. I promised her I would get a job. And I hunted for a job like a desperate wild beast. I almost entered a marketing job. It really didn't matter what job I was doing at that point of time. I just wanted to work and earn and be independant.

And I wanted a room of my own. And a life which was absolutely lived and decided by me.

In a lot of ways my Jethima helped me focus. One day when I was invited by a friend for a movie my aunt told me I didn't have her permission for the same. I wasn't a regular movie watcher those days. I used to slog my butt away whenever I had work and in other times would just sleep. I used to be so tired that I would find no time to think. This was the time I had very little money. My aunt said 'stay home, get yourself a job. you are here for work'. That gave me perspective.
By the time I was twenty two I got myself a Broadcast journalist's job and my salaray was an unthinkable Rs Eight thousand. This was 1996 and for a mere graduate quite an amount.
I told my Jethima that I wanted to move out. It was seven months I had lived with them. I hadn't moved out of my parent's house to stay at my Uncle and Aunt's. However I wasn't able to articulate my needs then. And could never explain my need to be away from everybody to my Mother. Jethima calmly said she would help me move out but I should plan the whole exercise well.
I never moved out all by myself till 2001 January. Thats when I moved out of my marital home. For weeks I would check under my bed and behind the curtains and sleep with the lights on...with a blaring TV...
But then one day I realised ..the house was home was calm...and I had been home more than three hours and was reading and cooking and watering my plants...and had forgotten to compulsively switch on the Television...
We were healing well. I wanted to forgive myself and forgive everybody else. Felt vindicated in silence. Not that I stopped missing the familiar touch, smell, smile and sound immediately...But I welcomed new people.

New friends and old acquintances walked into my life. Strangers became Flat mates. And just when I had thought life had taken the saddest life and learning actually began...
So if Home was where my parents lived and my brother played...
If Home was where I recieved my first love letters from a Pen friend...
If Home was where I built my first love nest...
...The most loving Home was finding a room of my own...where I welcomed strangers and made them my own... where I decided to belong to myself and to the world ...
And now the Road is my Home...
and the Home is on a lovely wide road...
And I am all ready to take out my cycle for another ride!:)


  1. A nostalgic joyride for me in many ways! Beautiful. The flow of words seems unstoppable. You have a great capacity to pen down uncountable words, almost unthinkable for me.

    Now, why nostalgic? First, cos it reminded of the days when i as a school student would frequent your home. The memories still seem so fresh though it's been years when i bid adieu to school. Second, your mention of chit chat with your colleagues reminded me of the day you treated our gang, of which your brother till day remains the leader, with ice-creams when we passed 12th! Looking back, they were not mere dollops of ice-cream but ones of enriching memories. They were special then, and all the more now.

    And one thing, why i find this title of "Cycle Waali" so befitting is cos i first met you, when you were on a bicycle. Do you remember? But, good thing is you haven't stopped the ride, the journey is on.

    What to say. I felt so at home with this write up!

  2. Thank you Vijay. Your mails are always so well written and inspiring...r u writing your own blog now?? Do give me your url...just in case:)

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  4. this made me so nostalgic..and it brought in so many memories..some beautiful, some not quite pretty, but all those memories which centred around my changing homes, spanning across cities and countries..and the conversation at Guptaji's dhaba...well, that was often so reflective...u and all my Niche army are such an integral part of my life!!!!