It is that time once again. I wonder what I must have been in my previous birth! A gypsy from Spain, maybe? Or perhaps a daughter of the gadi lohars the tribe of wandering blacksmiths; maybe I had been a lambadi from Andhra. Whatever I might have been, I am a confirmed nomad in this birth, not putting roots anywhere, unable to settle down in one place.
But all of the above mentioned nomads carry their homes with them and pitch tents or park their bullock-carts as the case may be. They live light too. I can’t say the same about myself.
When I had done a post on moving homes last year, I honestly didn’t think that I would be doing another one so soon. But here I am, doing it for you folk as I am getting ready to move….Only the change is constant if I may use an oxymoron. The length of stay in one house is never fixed — sometime a few months, at others a few years; but move on, I must. It is destiny.
My parents moved houses too. So I guess it runs in the family. Father was in Central Government service and so if we were not moving to different cities, (sometimes he went alone when he was transferred) we shifted houses in the same one. One year, I remember shifting three houses in one street! Mother made do with the worst facilities and made it a warm home for us. When I have to make do with abysmal arrangements in the various houses I have lived in, I remember her with admiration and soldier on…
As houses go, I have lived in houses ranging from a single room flat to an independent house with garden and all – houses with shelves and storage cupboards, bare houses, houses with large/small kitchens, dark houses with little sunlight and nice and bright ones with good ventilation. As far as varieties go, I have had a smorgasbord of living accommodations. But the houses I most prefer are the small ones which are compact, with all the clutter out of sight in cupboards and cabinets, a functional kitchen, no water and power shortage and with the markets and other facilities close by.
I have developed a standard routine over the years for all the moves: hang up the curtains as soon as possible, set up the kitchen in record time and the kids’ study area almost immediately. With the result that they settled in seamlessly and went about their routine — found new friends, discovered the surrounding areas and so on. On hindsight, I regret never giving them the comfort of the constancy of one place and the chance to grow up with a set group of friends in the same neighbourhood. Sometimes I feel it was fine since they have learnt to adjust to different circumstances and at others I feel they have missed out something.
So used to the moving were the boys when they were growing up that when we bought our own house, the younger boy was still a pre-teen and probably the enormity of living in one’s own house did not sunk in. In fact, I myself forgot sometimes that it was my own house and I could hammer as many nails as I wanted on all the walls without having to worry about the owner’s objections. Obviously the younger one had forgotten too since he asked, ‘Ma, won’t the owner mind it if you put up so many nails?’ and then another day, ‘When are we shifting from here?’ From the mouth of babes and all….for, we did shift even out of our own homes – more than once, in fact.
While some might find it comforting to roost in the same place sometimes for generations, the nomadic genes in me get restless with constancy. So when we are not actually shifting houses, I shift around the furniture, change rooms, curtains and the like, to beat the monotony. For all my cribbing about this, I can list a few advantages of frequent shifting of houses:
- Escape from neighbours like this one.
- Hoping that the new house does not have the problems that the present one has (never mind the new problems)
- Clearing up of clutter. This one factor alone is worth a lot since the longer we stay in a place, the more stuff (usually useless) we accumulate and are too lazy to clear.
- Any other advantage that you guys can think of?
But seriously, I think I have some gypsy blood in my veins from some distant past.
And so here I am, trying to pack the stuff – which I had only unpacked less than a year ago — trying to shut out the inconveniences that I have already spotted in the new house, and planning on making a HOME for the nth time, actually the 43rd time in three and half decades. Wonder when my days of wandering will end.
As I mentioned in the post last year, the north wind blows in the film Chocolat signaling another move for the protagonist as it had for her mother and her mother before her. Only no North wind blows to signal a move for us. But some unseen force is surely at work or else we wouldn’t still be moving, when others our age are settling down to a peaceful life. Wish it were as simple as the ashes of the urn spilling and signaling the end of our nomadic days as happens to Elizabeth Binoche in the movie.
Perhaps it would be a good idea to live in a motor home, so that all I have to do is to drive to another place when the moving bug strikes. I wouldn’t be messing with my destiny but still get to live in the same house!
Brilliant, would you say?
I will be away from my blog for sometime, as the broadband connection gets shifted and I settle down. Like they say on the tube, ‘I will be right back after a short break! Stay with me, don’t go away!!