(Be warned...this is full of general purpose whinning).
Its time to move again. Our landlord has, very apologetically, served us notice. You have been gentle tenants but I’ve got a great job offer and I am returning. I do hope they don’t notice the ugly gaps in the plaster that we, the gentle tenants will be leaving behind. A handyman had clumsily hammered gaping holes to affix nails for the mosquito nets.
That means another 3 weeks at the most. Sigh!
Am I sighing because it was too short a stay at a place, though rented, felt like home? Or am I sighing because I couldn’t make into a ‘home’?
By a ‘home’, I mean a home like our moms had. Everything ship shape, everything in place, neat and tidy. Not a speck of dust, spotless floors, refrigerators and cupboards filled with nourishing food, clothes laundered, ironed and folded away in drawers and wardrobes, green verandah where I sit in the morning coolness, sipping my first cup of tea.
Instead, there is a pile of unwashed clothes in the laundry basket (plastic one, because in 6 months, I couldn’t manage to buy myself a wicker one I so wanted). And the clothes keep piling since it was only today that I managed to find myself a good dry cleaner. God knows when I will actually be able to give those clothes to the cleaners.
I sit in my drawing room (and not a drawing cum dining mind you), a large room and stare at the pleasant effect of the glass windows framed in dark wood, yellow drapes and the assorted paintings on the creamy walls. And then I look at the divan where Rabindranath Tagore sadly looks at me, framed but not yet hung since I haven’t managed to find time to drill holes, (the neighbourhood handyman would mean more cracked plaster).
Alongside Rabindranath lies two of my paintings of rural France. I had copied them out of a Babar book and painted them, in my idyllic days back in France. Having brought them back with me, I framed them and shyly showed them to a friend who said, “looks like done by a 5 year old”. Ouch! It was a near perfect copy of the one done by a famous illustrator.
The brown cushions on the armchairs are all creased, as we, A and I have sat in all the chairs at one time or the other and yet have never plumped them up properly.
The shoes lie in a heap on the floor of the scarcely used 3rd bedroom. I have, often made a mental note of arranging them neatly in the empty chest in that room. Argh! My mind is saturated with all the mental notes I have been making.
Piles of old newspapers lie all over the round dining table, yes the one with the cracked but never replaced glass top. Anyhow, the papers at least cover up the crack rather nicely!
My verandah is brown as ever. Except the flourishing wild green growth of a plant I didn’t buy nor plant, underneath the white bouganvillea which stubbornly remains brown and bare.
And yet all around are me, are beautifully kept houses. Through the open windows, I can see marvellous arrangements of knick-knacks (knick-knacks? Wow. It took me two months to buy three drapes and one more month to put them up)!! Who are these Mary Poppinesque characters with perfect, spotless houses and domestic wheels churning with clock work precision?
Its dinner time. And I am hungry and tired, having spent the day looking at houses. I realise that there is no rice. Forgot to make rotis. There is some bread. I know there is. But spoilt in this humid heat. OK. We can buy some. And yes, get me some milk, I tell A. Atleast I can have some cereals for breakfast tomorrow….a pleasant break from constantly missing mine since there is usually nothing to eat in the mornings.
I wanted to put up the rattan screens (‘chik’ to those who know), a wicker lamp would have been a nice touch. A white, glass topped wrought iron table amid foliage and me amid all that. Pipe dreams. Ah well! Minimalistic is so stylish, I console myself.
I sigh because of the evenings I didn’t spend on the verandahs, of the walks I didn’t take in the rose strewn little park opposite, the meals I didn’t cook in the smart kitchen, for the laundry I didn’t keep in the wicker basket I never bought, for the spare bedroom I never converted into a workspace for making papier mache objects which I never made, for the alter I never bought for my gods who sit patiently atop a cabinet left behind by the landlords.
Just as well. Had I done all that….I would have been too well settled and would have been loathe to leave, wouldn’t I? And having said that, I stumble among the empty water bottles lying next to the bed, lie on my bed, lumpy because of books and pens I left behind when I rushed off to work this morning, angrily pummel my naked pillow (the pillow cases have been washed and are still hanging on the clothes line) and say goodnight!