I’ve experimented with working from home several times before. In the stint immediately after I got married, I remember being locked up in my bedroom, which was the only space we really had to ourselves in private, cross-legged and crouched over my laptop that was placed on my bed, while VC’s nephew turned a bunch of upturned kitchen utensils into a makeshift drum-set right outside the bedroom. there was also the time in Goa, before we bought a dining table, when I worked from bed. Which is really a fancy way to put it when the “bed” was actually just a mattress on the floor. I also reveled in the glory of working in my PJs, not having to bathe to get to work, and being able to work from literally anywhere in my home. In our first apartment in Goa, I didn’t have a workspace. I took my work to the balcony, stayed in bed some days and most times I worked at the dining table. Which meant moving things around all the time, especially meal times. When I began freelancing full time two years ago, I finally felt the need for a workspace of my own. My laptop, portable as it is, isn’t the only tool I use. I always need to have a notebook and pens at hand, often I need to look into books and magazines, and sometimes I just need space around me. Space to spread out, as much around me, as in my head. So I started making an effort to create a fixed space from where to work. Several other efforts to get more organised and treat my work professionally followed. It started as a necessity, and now it’s just a happy space.
The room has really become sanctuary. Funny how that used to be the kitchen at one time. In a drastic turn of events, I’ve outsourced cooking, to sit back at my desk and keep writing, as I take in the smells of my lunch being prepared for me. Having the room has made me more organised, and god knows, more productive too. I spend most of my time in the chair, sometimes switching to my beanbag when I need to relax or straighten my legs. I play my music in here, sometimes I dance out a whole song in between deadlines. Sometimes, when I am lulled into a postprandial stupor after a particularly good lunch, or when I’ve had a really hard workout, I throw myself into the single bed and take a nap. On easy days, I read there or watch TV. In the evenings, I usually step out into the balcony and watch the kids cycle, or the sunset. The balcony extends all the way down the width of the house, so it is large enough for me pace up and down when I need to take a long call or think. When we decided to install a second AC in the house a few months ago, we were undecided if it should go in the living room or my study. Only briefly. Because I quickly realised this is where I spend all the time in the day. And I’m the only one who’s home most days. This past summer, I had the added advantage of air conditioning, which has ensured I pretty much never leave. For anything. Not even ringing doorbells. I love being in this room so much, I no longer think of it as a guest room, even. When we have people visiting, I feel temporarily unsettled about how and where I am going to get my work done.
Today, I had a moment. It had just been raining, when suddenly the sun came out, doing that afternoon thing where the light hits the room in slanting, soft, gold rays. It made me painfully aware of what a privilege this has been. It’s all very Woolf-esque in how liberating and oddly empowering has been to finally have a room of my own.