Tuesday, October 23

The Hassle

Now that I've shifted houses, there's a couple of things I'd like to share. Call it advice if you will. Or a warning.
  1. If you're shifting out of a nice home located in a fancyish part of Bombay because you're having issues with the nutter masquerading as your room mate, consider not shifting. There are easier alternatives; one of which would only require you to dispose of the corpse. And as we all know from the papers, there are plenty of places to do that in this city. 
  2. Unless you're in a financial situation where you're holding down two jobs and considering selling one of your less vital organs, think about investing a few shekels in professional packers and movers. It spares you the vision of your room swamped in a sea of plastic bags containing the surprisingly large trove of your possessions. 
  3. Of course, you'll miss one or more of the bags in the ensuing melee of moving. And those bags will, by definition, have something you think is very important. Like underwear, for example. Or kitchen knives.
  4. Ask your close friends to help you move. Apart from staving off the inevitable ennui, you can also avoid the possible hernia you suffer when attempting to pick up the box telly or suitcase.
  5. If you're thinking about procuring a vehicle to move stuff in, don't choose your cousin's ancient Maruti 800. Or, if you do, make sure that it really is in working condition. Including the air conditioning. Otherwise, what will happen is - 
  6. You take the car out at 1:30 pm on a Saturday, since that's when there's the least amount of traffic. Theoretically. In sweltering heat, in a stifling box on wheels, you will find S.V road jammed with every loony in the city, meaning that you only drive in 1st or 2nd gear. Then, about 10 minutes from your destination, you notice smoke emanating from the bonnet. A minute later, the car stops. 
  7. You get out, and with the help of a good samaritan, push the damn thing to a side. Curse softly and steadily for a couple of minutes. Call your friend and tell him that the moving has been postponed. Singe your hand while opening the now broiling bonnet cover. And then get lucky. 
  8. Not that way. 
  9. There's a mechanic on the opposite side of the road, who hems & haws for a bit, opens the radiator cap and announces helpfully that there's no water in it. Which, you point out to him in a martyred voice, you already knew. He then earns his 100 Rs. by pouring water into the radiator, only to cause a lava of gunk and rust to erupt out of it. The car is then started.
  10. Maybe its frustration brought on by the heat, the traffic, or your non-existent sex life. Whatever the reason, you suddenly develop a raging devil-may-care attitude and decide to continue driving to your old house anyway. 
  11. You don't call your friend and tell him about the change of plan. Instead, you move everything by yourself, only to discover that the washing stand and the ironing board will not fit into the car, come what may. 
  12. You realise you'll have to come back for them on Sunday. 
  13. You begin the drive back to the new place. A kilometre after the mechanic's place, the car stops again. You extricate yourself out of the rust heap, rope in another good samaritan and push the car to the side. Again.
  14. You wonder what you have done to deserve this. 
  15. You begin to giggle hysterically.
  16. The car starts 10 minutes later and you drive home. 
  17. You would willingly slay someone for a beer. Instead, you begin unpacking and arranging stuff. Your cousin invites you to dinner, so you shower and drag yourself to his place, eat and come back to the house. Look in the mirror and notice that you're now the colour of well-done toast.
  18. At 10:30 pm, you pass out on the bed.
  19. On Sunday morning, you're introduced to a new level of body ache. Also, you realise you have to go back and pick up the rest of the stuff. 
  20. You take the train.   
Song for the moment: It's a raggy waltz - The Dave Brubeck Quartet

Friday, October 19

The strangest party

Tomorrow, I'm moving out of the house I've lived in for the last 3.5 years. All good things come to an end and all that jazz. As far as this house is concerned, I've been lucky. It has all the amenities I needed, its close to all the places that matter in Bombay (train station, bus depot and Bandra) and it was affordable. I should have left when my previous room mate flew off to foreign parts, but chose to stay because of the incredible convenience of the place. If you read my previous post though, things haven't been that great around the house any more... and I woke up one morning and knew I had to move out.

Except for half a year in Phnom Penh, I've shared accommodations with different people since '06. I know that living with these people has made a positive difference to my life, teaching me to be more tolerant and independent. But it is time to live solo, especially as '30' is creeping ever closer. Even as I mentally went through the logistics of moving out, I wondered when the sadness and nostalgia would kick in. The house has a boatload of memories for me, more rich in some emotions than others. Yet, the days ticked away steadily and there was nothing. Just a feeling of relief that I was getting out of there, which was surprising and unfair.

Then, a couple of days back, a friend called in the evening. We made plans to meet at the Gymkhana down the road, where we've been countless times before. A few hours, beers and whiskeys later, I bid him goodbye and began my walk home. It was a little past midnight. All around me was the quiet thrum of a warm autumn night, pebble-dash shadow patterns thrown by the rain trees on the road, and the silent battle between the cold light of the moon and that of the street lamps. I've walked, stumbled, reeled and staggered up the road so many times before - both alone and with numerous friends. As I came up to my building gate and began the familiar process of hollering at the sleeping watchman to open the gate, it hit me - this would be the last time.

That's when I felt grateful. For it all.

Song for the moment: Hearts in the night - Bedouin Soundclash