The Joys of Living Alone

I am not averse to sharing my living space with another person or other people. I’ve lived in a dorm, as a boarder and lived with my folks till I was an adult and those things really drill it into one’s head about the utter necessity of having your own space for your own shit. I mean, it’s critical!! Especially after a more permanent cohabitation starts with someone and they just leave their things all over the place like goat droppings. It can vex you like nothing else truly can.

Picture this- a smallish studio space or Praise Be To The Gods Of Personal Space, a loft…a few bean bags or bean bag chairs scattered around the room. A few non-skiddy throw rugs with vivid geometric designs on them. A large white wall designed a la Jackson Pollock viz this-  

There needs to be an island in the area designated as a kitchen for the cutting and chopping and sleeping is either a sleeping bag or a water-bed in a corner.

Not a very pseudo boho-chic manner but a messiness that gets into every living space but also one which is just short of a tornado-hit area.

Because at the end of the day it all boils down to this- my shit is my shit but your shit is just bloody annoying!

The Benefits of A Neverafter

That’s right. Not getting your happily-ever after with the one you long and pine for or imagine yourself to be deeply in love with has tremendous ROI.

Let’s take Romeo&Juliet as an example. Too bad they really haven’t found the Fountain of Youth else Will Shakespeare would have been a very rich bugger indeed, reaping benefits from all the royalty he’d have been getting from this one play he wrote. And it’s not even that a good one mind you. It lacks the depth of a Macbeth, the twists of a Midsummer Night’s Dream or and you don’t really feel the love. I know I don’t.

I mean take a look at this- 2 teenagers (it could only be teenagers being this impulsive and stubborn) decide that they have a crush on people their families find unsuitable. Families turn into big baddies to keep them apart and teenagers manage to muddle through it till they both end up dead. Yay…have fun making out in the afterlife nerds!

This tragedy of WS has been made into operas, movies, music videos, reenacted as a play and reread as a book and continues to persist even now. Why? Because a neverafter means the story can persist at least in your own head. A happily everafter means it’s over and done and you have no further role to play in it.

Everyone who has gone through unrequited “love” or has “loved&lost” will forever be marked with the touch of that “what-if”. They may not moan and groan throughout their lives about it but they’ll wonder and they’ll hark back to that person or the people who “got away”, “could have been” etc etc. When you get the one you wanted, it turns into marriage, babies, mortgages and the story becomes dull at some point for sure. Happiness might still play a part in it but the depths to which your mind can run when it unleashes the potential of the unknown is massive! And I think it’s fun for people, from time to time, to wander off on this particular path.

Unrequited love has spawned an entire era of work in English Litt from sonnets to prose to modern-day stalkers who have transitioned into very successful serial killers and creeps in the movies. The neverafter leads to illicit forays onto Facebook profiles of people you don’t have access to anymore, while you take in their lives as they pose for selfies or check into some minuscule coffee shop on social media or tweet about the time they last sneezed.

You don’t always check out the happily ever afters…they got their happy ending and started a predictable new story of their own…where’s the mystery in that?!

I remember going back again and again to read Love Story. Sad as shit but she died so beautifully on film and the way Oliver contemplated his life post Jenny dying…it was something. A man happy with his life doesn’t have half that appeal!

We like a little bit of the unknown in our lives. The places we could have gone, the things we should have done, the lives we would have led…it’s a fun exercise on its own and doesn’t hurt anyone. As long as you know you got exactly what you wanted- alive, hale and hearty and not swooning and dying or spouting nonsense from balconies…your very own happily never-again-but-this-is-what-I-like!

But going back to R&J, ever think what might have happened if they had ended up together?

Image courtesy-

Being An Indo-Anglian

I am lucky to have friends who make me think and expose me to new lines of thought…invaluable in my book.

Once such friend from the days of yore no less, shared this article with me recently and it beautifully encapsulates a large part of who I am in life.

I am a Bengalee by birth. Born in the motherland and lived there for all of 5 months. Thereafter it’s been a nomadic existence, largely spanning the northern and western part of India before the southern part became a permanent fixture almost 14 years ago.

Married a guy who’s had a solid South-indian small town upbringing; and have a kid who doesn’t embrace either of his cultural or linguistics legacies much and is entirely his own person with the language he prefers to communicate in and the food he chooses to eat and how he wants to live.

When I was growing up, schools weren’t that much of a head-scratcher for my parents. English medium was a given, co-ed or all girls wasn’t a criterion to be factored in…it just happened if one got enrolled in such a school. What was a preference was a convent school from the standpoints of discipline and learning propah English…it was propah only in terms of syntax and composition, accents in the Indian subcontinent are a whole different ball game and I have never come across a “neutral” accent while I was a student. And what’s fun in being neutral anyhow?

Anyhoo…fast forward to circa 2014 and Red and I were drawing up lists for our kid’s entry into a proper grade school. I cross referenced distances he would have to travel with tuition fees, school curriculum and also by how the schools fared in the rankings taken up yearly by well-known periodicals and publishing houses.

Why did I do all this? Well apart from wanting to be comfortable in my mind about making the right decisions for him, I had the freedom to choose and therein lies part of the problem or the “problem of plenty” as my mother is wont to pronounce every now and then as she takes stock of our lives.

We aren’t rolling in it. We aren’t hard up. We have enough-ish (because when is it really enough after all?). And as a result I get to choose something which will cater to my single-language-speaking, gadget-loving, reptile-obsessed child who needs a good, strong academic foundation without regimentation.

And on he went to mingle with similar kids for 8 hours a day for the last 3 years…these kids who comprehend their native tongues, or one of their parent’s native tongues but reply solely in English. These kids whose idea of ancient encompasses the cartoons of my childhood which aren’t passe thanks to the trend of retro being chic.

Comic Cons, speaking accented Hindi or any other Indian language and looking googly-eyed at anyone attempting to speak any other language apart from French or Spanish and you have our Gen-Z’ers. And we mold them into this kind of life by not necessarily insisting on adherence to any specific customs, languages or lifestyles. Theirs is a smorgasbord of experiences that we lay out and have them feast at will.

And while I don’t regret it; am wistful for the silliness I don’t get to indulge in with my child by speaking to him in my native tongue. I had these hopes of my mother reading to him, the same stories she read to me when I was a child and him experiencing a bit of my life via those similar experiences but that didn’t happen.

So we did Jack and the Beanstalk. We did Panchatantra with Winnie the Pooh when the animal phase was in full bloom, we did Goldilocks and 3 Little Pigs but didn’t do Vikram-Betaal because he seemed more Geronimo Stilton than Tinkle and Amar Chitra Katha.

And yet there’s till time. To add more items to the menu. Maybe give him a little nudge when it comes to picking them, the same way I transmit my “eat your vegetables” look at him when choosing his dinner items…but there’s still time and here’s to hoping one day when I speak to him in my native tongue he’ll speak back in the same language instead of nodding at me or saying, “You got it dude!”