I Got ‘Em Shiftin’ Blues
It’s been 3 yrs since we moved from Mumbai to Pune. 4th June 1995 was the big day. I saw myself living in this fantastic bungalow 6 months from then. However, six months later we were still living in the rented 2-BHK that was supposed to be a temporary arrangement. This was largely due to the steep property hike, not to mention the discovery that the bungalow was in the middle of a remote swamp. It’s now 1998 that the ray picture has become reality but in the meanwhile, we stuck with the rented place. I guess it’s normal to feel the pangs of separation when you’ve been sticking around for almost three and a half years.
I feel a strong urge to reminisce about some of the images of my current pad – my 2-BHK hovel. I’m not certain that hovels are allowed to have two bedrooms or even one for that matter, but mine does, in as much as the same way that a Dharavi-hut in Mumbai, would have a fridge or a CD-player. We let one bedroom to the stacked suitcases, the cartons and the boxes of all shapes and sizes. However they weren’t as satisfied as we’d anticipated and so some of them took over certain areas of the kitchen as well. Fortunately for us, the curios and other showpieces were a more grounded lot. They all squeezed in with the hi-fi system on the top of my 5ft-by-2 ft cottage piano.
All the furniture I ever wanted was going to be at our new place, so none was here. I have usually been sleeping on one-third, one-fourth and sometimes one-fifth of a bed of two mattresses on the floor. Changing sides in my sleep has become a bit of an experience! Of course, one doesn’t have enough time to muse over these sweet offerings of life then; one is usually more occupied by the unannounced barrage of well-wishers who measure their wishes by the length of their stay: longer is better. So one must always be physically fit enough to dig three suitcases below for spare linen or rummage through about five boxes for that spare pillow. Really, its nothing!
Life is definitely easier in any circumstance if you have the right ambience. In our hovel, we had the best. I mean, at any time of the year, we had north winds, south winds, easterlies or westerlies – in fact, all of them – gracing our hovel with their presence. It was the ultimate exploitation of natural resources because the fans would run without any electricity. Of course, the doors had to take some weathering for the team. But on the other hand, at least they didn’t crack with the heat; there was so much humidity all the year round.
Its one thing to have nature supplying personal climate control but it’s an altogether different experience to have her working as your interior decorator. And I’m talking living waterfalls in every room! They go drip, drip, and drip for most part of the year but during the monsoons, you can actually hear gurgling, bubbling and crackling. How absolutely delightful! And there’s more – maps, yes maps. If all the shops run out of study-maps, you can either despair or you can send your kids over to our place. World maps, maps of India, Japan, Czech and Finland – they’re all on the walls. Pure moss products, guaranteed! The only shortcoming is perhaps that they’re all physical maps. My reasoning is that you can’t really expect nature to involve in politics, now can you?
Our symbiosis with nature is probably more substantiated by the presence of various arthropods, reptiles, birds, mammals and you-just-name-it. We all live mutually in peace and harmony. If nothing else, then simply this spiritual equilibrium is what makes it so difficult for me to bear the thought of how much I’d miss our hovel. I know one thing for sure: our stint here was not a mere fancy of fate. There were genuine, solid grounds for not being able to quit it earlier. Coincidence? I don’t think so. The forces of nature are surely calling to me, beseeching me to go on living here. Nevertheless, with my sights set firmly on that rosy picture, I will have to turn a deaf ear to their pleas. But I’m so blue. I don’t want to move.