I’ve never lived it. And by that I mean never had the good fortune of sharing a living space with me, myself and I. I’ve never found myself to be in that place. Because I have always
been lucky played it safe and lived with my folks. So afraid was I of taking charge and becoming my own boss, that I avoided it, pushed it, right until I got married. And even then, that most anticipated move, the cutting of the umbilical chord, the steppign into your own shoes and creating a world of your own kind of move, was not what it is for most people. Because I promptly went from the safe haven of my home, to VC’s home to live with his family. I always gloated in the fact that I had the best of both worlds, a wonderful home to come home to, while I got a more than healthy shot of alone time wherever else I pleased. I loved the freedom of having the outside world to do as I pleased, but always having the security of a home that would always be waiting for me when I was done. A home that was beautifully kept,when I wasn’t even looking. First by my mum and then my mum in law. Those were the days of being completely un-domestic, footloose and fancy free. The laundry would miraculously get done, delicious meals would be cooked and served warm, the home was clean and things worked smoothly, all thanks to a giant network of silent elves (read: mothers) that functioned without my knowledge.
I couldn’t have asked for better. I thought it was the ideal life. And back then, it really was. Until we moved to Goa, and the tables turned completely. Suddenly I was the one in charge. Of keeping things in shape and in working order. Of cooking up meal after meal, getting the laundry done, tidying up and basically doing all those things I curled my nose away from in my life Before-Goa. I was in charge, but in a quasi-solo way. I still had the husband by my side most of the times. To manage the “manly” stuff. To chop veggies while I stirred what was in the kadhai. To dry out the laundry when it was done. To pitch in with the shopping, chores and the like. And to be a cohabitant in every sense of the way.
And then there was the building of an extended social circle, which is such an integral part of making your life what you want it to be. In Bangalore, I repeatedly told myself I was the epitome of being un-domestic, that cooking cleaning and the like would never be my thing, that I would always hire help. Iver the last four years I have eaten my words. Along with a lot of veggies, dal, roti, rice. And a serious amount of cake. Likewise, I thought of myself as the introvert, never seeking out company, always being the one spoken to and never going up to speak to, kind of person. And yet, over the four years Goa has turned that notion upside down on its head. Seeking out people you vibe with, building relationships from scratch upwards, and slowly assembling a not-so-massive, but very special web of people we depend on for company, entertainment, socialising and what not has been an essential part of becoming the people we are. I have made probably four times the number of friends the husband has in Goa. If the awareness that I have a domestic, home-making, home-loving side to me was born and raised so late in life, the same can be said for my notion of kinship and camaraderie. I am still an introvert, in that my circle is small and limited. But I am not lonely. I have unconsciously developed various circles around myself. Friends from work, from outside of work, through the blog, from the gym, from my random connections thanks to the work I now do, and so many of them have bloomed into happy, healthy relationships — each serving a different purpose, playing a different role in my life.
Part of becoming the person you really are, is accepting that certain notions you once held close, and considered non-negotiable actually melt away, reducing you to a but a tiny blob of putty, being moulded, remoulded and shaped in new ways you didn’t imagine. And just when I was coming to terms with that new side of me, being someone perceived as affable, social and in love with going out and doing things, once again I find myself in the midst of a weird turn of tide. Once again, I’ve pulled the curtain down on the frenetic, social life that was abuzz with drinks, dinner, movies, conversation, events and outings. And I’ve receded into the single life. Aided ably by the husbands fairly frequent travels, of course. So much so that of late I long for him to go away sometimes. Yes, I know wonderful thing to be putting out there today of all day, this day of luhhrve and what not.
This is nothing new with me, of course. I have wondered about loneliness, embraced solitude and loved it several times before. And it is mainly because my life here, despite this carefully curated and much-loved collection of friends, loves, passions and the like, is largely build around being by myself. Every now and then after a burst of activity, I long to swing back into my own world. Be alone, be a chicken cooped up at home, do nothing but read for days on end, refuse to take calls and the rest. The husband is the only person who is permitted to break this cocoon, and when he does it’s not like he gets in the way. In fact he is probably the more independent, less demanding person of the two of us, and it has rubbed of on me to a large extent. He doesn’t get in the way, isn’t demanding, doesn’t impose on my time or schedule in any way. And yet, when he leaves on a work trip, I feel this immense sense of liberation. To chalk out my day completely devoid of all other things like cooking meals for two, taking him his lunch on time, spending time together when he is back home and the like — all things I impose on myself, of course.
I am fast growing to believe that I am the solo-loving sort of person. And I’m blaming it entirely on never having lived the single life before.