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Now it feels as if the house has accepted us, and we have accepted it. In the process, we have also re-discovered that joy of making a house your home.
It has been four months since the world came to a standstill and life went for a sabbatical. When I look back at the past four months, it feels like something out of a storybook, a post-apocalyptic fiction novel. I remember feeling shocked at the fact that it was already July!
More than half of 2020 has gone and for some reason the world seems to have not moved past March for me. The silver lining is that amidst all the darkness that surrounds us, surrounds the entire world, there’s still light. Irrefutable, unwavering, resolute, light.
Despite the current state of affairs, or perhaps I should say, because of it, we are living our lives in a more aware state of mind. We see things a little clearer, and we feel more acutely. I have experienced an expansive change in my own life, and in that of my loved ones, during this pause of 2020. This is a story about one of these changes. The story of how, for the first time in forever, I am living in a house I pay so much to rent out, and how I made this house into my home.
I still remember the first house my husband and I moved into, after we got married. Both of us had taken a couple of weeks off from work and painstakingly set up our first home for ourselves. Every piece of furniture, every article of clothing we bought had meaning.
I remember lying down at the end of a long day of shopping and cleaning and organising, and feeling content in a way I had never felt before. There were days when we sat together on the floor, surrounded with bits and pieces of our lives, eating vada pav for lunch, feeling truly at home.
We lay together on our makeshift mattress, (we hadn’t bought our bed for about two weeks), and made plans for the next day. Checking out each other’s hands for wear due to the cleaning, and possible biceps we must have gained due to all the heavy lifting we were doing.
Since we were barely home during the week, almost all the things we ordered online would be delivered at our neighbours’ homes, we got to know them better. We would knock on their door every evening, slightly embarrassed at causing them the inconvenience, and end up joining them for tea or snacks.
Thus, we made the empty house into our home and cherished every moment of it. Although we spent only a year in our first home, I look back at those memories of our little corner of paradise, with intense love and happiness.
The move into our new house was sort of rushed and we didn’t really have enough time to unpack everything and set up. Three months into the move and we still hadn’t completely settled in, crates and cello-taped boxes lined our living room like presents waiting to be opened.
Both of us were so busy with our new jobs, we barely managed to cook and clean before we dropped on our bed, tired and wanting nothing more but to rest. So, this house and us, we never really got to know each other well.
Before the lockdown, my husband and I had been so engrossed with our working weeks and lazy weekends, the house, never really registered in our beings. It was a place to come back to after a long day and rest.
We somehow never acknowledged that the house was a significant part of our lives. And the time we were spending inside the four walls, beneath this roof, was important, irreplaceable. Working, cooking, playing with our cat Loki, lounging on the bed, talking about the meaning of life and a myriad of such seemingly ordinary day to day activities. And slowly but steadily , the house formed a part of our lives, creating memories. We were busy trying to achieve the socially acceptable standards of a good life and life itself was passing us by.
Then the lockdown happened and lo and behold! for the first time in forever, we were inside our new house with nowhere to go! Work took on a new meaning, life itself took on a new meaning. It felt like we had just moved in with all our worldly possessions.
And it was only after the lockdown started and we started spending so much time inside, that it dawned on me, on us, that this posh, expensive, Mumbai apartment was just an apartment. We realised it wasn’t our home, not yet.
In the beginning, there was strife, like stepping into unfamiliar territory, we kept bumping into unexpected furniture and the furniture kept bumping into us. Trying to manoeuver our way around each other, we would constantly be taken aback by each other’s presence.
After almost a week of living under the same roof, we realised that none of us were going anywhere and we might as well get to know each other better. Crates were opened, and cardboard boxes were unpacked, and things were allotted their places.
It was like meeting close friends after a long time apart. Notwithstanding the utter chaos of the world outside, we arranged our own world into some semblance of order within these four walls.
We even bought a couple of easy chairs! I know, sounds cheesy and old, but the chairs have become our go to resting space after long days. My husband and I sit together in our living room, looking out of our window on rainy evenings, holding our tea cups for warmth and talking about our day.
Our cat plays around us, swishing his tail, and rubbing against our legs. And as my husband reaches over and places his hand on my knee, the warmth of his hand and the spark of this moment registers in my heart as a memory. One that we are making in our new home and it is perfect.
Now it feels as if this house has finally accepted us, and we have accepted it. And in the process, we have re-discovered again that indefinable joy of making a house your home. A home filled with love, light, laughter and purple curtains.
Picture credits: YouTube
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A writer. A storyteller. A book lover.
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