It always blows my mind just a little when things turn 180 degrees in no time at all. When VC arbitrarily asked me about 6 months ago if I wanted to move home I was vehement in opposing the idea. Mostly because I am a sore loser when it comes to adapting to change. If I have no choice, I sometimes do it grudgingly but until I find my comfy spots around a house, until I am comfortable sleeping and pooping there, and until I know I can let go and breathe easy, I am never quite at home. And I have often wondered if I can ever feel that way ever again, any where else in Goa. Foolish of me to assume that this would be our happily ever after, because of a small but pertinent detail: we don’t own the house.
But that minute detail aside, it really does feel like my happily ever after. Aside from being a roof over our heads, this is my first baby as far as this part of our life goes. It’s where we put our heads together and put things in place, the way we wanted them to be. It’s the nest from where I spread my wings and flew out. It’s the haven we came back to day after day, of hard long hours of work. It’s where we’ve cooked so many meals and discovered so many new tastes. It’s where we’ve entertained so many friends and had family over so many times. It’s where we’ve laughed a little too much, and cried some too. It’s where we’ve quibbled about home decor and furniture and conflicting aesthetic senses and still managed to put up a comfy home. It’s where we’ve curled up into bed on lazy weekends. It’s where we’ve had drinks and dinner in the balcony. It’s where we’ve enjoyed the lush, monsoon view. It’s where we made our first home, our home.
So I think when VC broached the dreaded question, I was vehement because I don’t do well with change. But more than that I didn’t want to believe that VC wanted to up and move just like that.
When we finally found this apartment in Panjim, I was not just relieved because we had finally come to the end of a long and painful search, but also because I was extremely satisfied with what we had picked. This house, the first n a string of about two dozen, ticked off all the requisites I had back then: 1) a clean loo (and we got two!) 2) a balcony and lots of light and air (we got two of these too!) 3) a reasonably logically and well-planned space
We moved into a bare shell and slowly added things together over two years. It is only in the last year that the house has sort of felt more put-together and lived-in, even though so much is remains to be done. Our landlady is a darling and every now and then VC and I thank our stars for how hassle-free, un-intrusive and easy-going she has been. Often forgetting to collect rent, coming to meet us to collect it (rather than the other way round) and never getting in our hair (even though we’ve invited her over a million times!). Every year when it is time to renew we’d keep our fingers and toes crossed that she wouldn’t ask us to leave. Because beyond the basic requisites it initially met, the house has come to be a symbol of our lives together. A step up, a milestone crossed, a new beginning. Even though time is racing by far beyond that beginning, I don’t want to lose sight of where it all began.
And yet, in just six months since VC first brought up that dreaded questions, I have pulled a Dr Jeckyll on him. Today, as I sat surrounded by piles of clothes, sorting through and putting them away into our cupboard, as I dusted away the corners that I had dusted not so long ago, as I looked at the mess things were in, I realised how this home that we were so in love with, is not what it used to be.
The open, breezy space we enjoyed is now dusty and stuffy. The peace and quiet has been replaced by the cacophony of a construction coming up right outside. We’ve gone from waking up to the sounds of birds chirping and mist outside the balcony, to cracking, banging, knocking, cutting and lewd Hindi music the construction site plays, and a cloud of smog hanging over us.
I’m pretty sure it is only a matter of time before the green patch in front of us is gone too. The speed at which they razed down the old bungalow and leveled it to put up a parking lot, and the urgency with which the floors are piling on, makes me wonder how I didn’t seen this coming. As a result there is 100% more dust indoors. Windows have to be permanently shut, cutting off all the wonderful light and breeze that we enjoyed. The birds that woke us up every morning, the kingfishers that sat on the line right outside, the bulbuls that nested in the balcony below us — have all disappeared. And the worst of the all — the sparrows have gone too. I spend double the amount of time cleaning, and yet I am always dissatisfied with the results. I cannot keep up with the inflow of dust, and it leaves me unhappy and VC sniffly. I think maybe that’s why the summer feels extra hot this year. To come home to this everyday, has very quickly become tiresome.
So we’re picking up and moving in a few months. To a new home, with an outhouse, perhaps some gardening too. With less space, but another chance to set things right once again. With a square kitchen and lots of light, and many more months of cooking, baking, blogging and eating. I once said we have been in a constant state of WIP as far a nesting goes. But a large part of me suddenly excited by it. We are better placed now than we were in 2010, to put a home together. In many ways not being able to do it in one go, when we moved here, has forever left it in a state of incompleteness. If that was a series of experiments, this will be our chance to iron out the creases and put in the finishing touches.
Places we live in hold so much more than just our homes and belongings. Within the emptiness that fills the four walls, they hold imprints of all the moments we’ve cherished. They reverberate with resound with the sounds of sweet laughter on a happy day, feet dragging their way to bed at the end of a long night, drip-dropping tears on a tough day and so many memories, emotions and vibes of times gone by. But perhaps this is not so much about leaving behind what once was, but stepping up to what will be. In many ways it is an affirmation of what we hold dear and choosing not to compromise on it. It is about making new memories, in a new space. So although I am not good with change, for the first time since I moved to Goa, I have thought about relocating and actually welcomed it.