Friday, April 17, 2015

Living Life Queen Size

This is a post towards Housing.com

Everyone knows that the first time you do anything, you need tons and tons of courage to take that first step forward. Especially if that one step means changing your entire life! And we do come across many such crossroads in our lives - one of which is when you leave the home you have lived all your young growing up years to become an independent adult.

I am sure we can all relate to the feelings and emotions that course through our hearts at that point - apprehension of actually, really being on our own, alone, fear of not being able to manage fending ourselves, excitement at getting a chance of living life on our own terms, pride of having been able to take that step.

I moved out of my parents' home quite early on. Professional college not only taught us the ropes in the academic world - it also taught us what taking care of ourselves really meant. It meant that when you walked into your tiny rented apartment you shared with 3 more (similarly mortified) strangers, you could not call out to your Mom that you were famished, and find hot, delicious food on the table. It meant that every scrap of paper, every piece of clothing that you left on the floor, was still lying there waiting for you when you came back tired and irritated. It also meant that water bills, electricity bills and anything that had to do with you paying for something, was your responsibility.

Four clueless individuals (including me), with no experience of living alone and armed with glorified visions of 'living on our own' thrown together to fend for themselves, DO NOT make for smooth, dignified existence. Needless to say, we had hilarious moments of learning in our lives.

The first few days we made do with basic amenities, which meant a bed, some bed spreads borrowed from Mom, a couple of towels and (the so important) bucket, mug and toiletries. And we guarded them with our lives!

As we learnt more things about surviving on our own, we discovered packaged foods, and also how to keep them hidden from plain view. We also learnt that parents sending food to us DID NOT mean that we ate all of it ourselves. Gradually, we learnt the art of keeping count of spending. We learnt that money somehow had this uncanny ability to stretch itself out during the last few days of the month - which meant that the last 100 Rupees in the wallet stayed untouched during the last lap of the month.

We also learnt to clean! Yes, frequencies were a matter of much heated debates, but we did learn how to keep our corner of the room clean. Bedspreads on the beds were protected (with requisite threats and violence if required) from dirty feet of others - even if that meant spreading out last week's dirty sheet ON TOP of the current one!

The landlords were a sweet middle aged couple who sometimes took pity on us and called us over for dinner, only to be shocked at the amount of food that we puny skeletons (we then were) could tuck into our bellies. We were given tips on how to wash clothes, how to keep them from flying off in the wind when drying them, how to fill out water in the morning so that we are not left high and dry (literally) in the middle of a shower.

The years spent in that little apartment, with well-intention-ed, but clueless friends amidst all the chaotic learning, were perhaps the best lessons we have learnt as young adults.


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