It was a life long dream of mine to get out of the house .I had never left house before, never been in a hostel and the farthest I had ever been from my house till I finished my engineering was the nearby Indira Gandhi Park where I was once allowed to go on a picnic in std V after a lot of begging. My parents in that sense are the censored version of Taliban and a firm believer in limited rights to children below 18.
My pocket money was so little it would fit comfortably in the watch pocket of my jeans(Watch Pocket or the smallest pocket on the front right side of your jeans was so called as it was used in the 1800s by the cow boys to keep their watches. Levi’s renamed it as the condom pocket. I still call it the watch pocket though, coz I am an Indian teenager. I don’t know what sex is.)
My parents gave me just barely enough money because as per them , it would keep me away from bad habits and I would learn the value of money.I didn’t learn the value of money exactly but what I learnt right then was I was going to be broke , lonely and miserable for a really long time.
I still remember How I had to create a folder called study material in the C drive and stash all my porn there as my computer like our toilet was a shared facility. My parents used to verify my homework till I was in 10th, perform secret background checks on all my friends , never failed to attend parent teacher meeting , read my mails and SMSes, eavesdropped on my phone calls and all.
In short my parents did it even before snooping was cool in the United States.
If that was not enough I had this bandwagon of relatives who would make regular visits to our house like re-runs of Ekta kapoor’s soaps. And many of them would that one son or daughter to have made it to the IITs or the AIIMs or some eye gauging institute and then would begin the multi aspect comparision of him/her with me which would always without fail end up with my parents lecturing me how interest and hard work can take you to success and how I had neither.
Firstly , looking at my relatives I realized the problem of overpopulation in this country is actually alarming. Imagine being directly or indirectly related to some 40,000 odd people .And what’s scary is their abnormal interest in you. When you are a kid , they poke your cheeks and when u grow up they poke you with ghastly questions about your future , career , girlfriends. And almost all of those questions have rather depressing answers.Actually on hindsight , I think all those questions could then and even now be answered by one single word – NO.
No future , No Career , No Girlfriend.
So this constant regression and regular invasion of my privacy led me to closely identify myself with the war prisoners rotting in Guantanamo and even contemplated filing a petition or two on Change.org(This website actually has a petition for the rights of Tussock Moth Caterpillar, mine wouldn’t be the worst).
Hence, when I got the job and realized I was to be posted to Bangalore I felt like celebrating independence day all over again.My plans on reaching Bangalore were :-
a)- Rent an apartment
b) – Have a girlfriend
c) – Party Hard
It didn’t pan out that way. Not by a long shot. Deposits for apartments in Bangalore range between 1 to 1.5 lakhs which after removing housing allowance, provident fund , medical insurance and food coupons is how much I make in a year. I work in a support project which means most of my colleagues are males in their mid 40s with a thick waistline and thin hair line. The Last time I saw a girl was 3 months back in front of a public ladies toilet , which FYI for personal safety is not the place to check out girls. Restaurant bills are so costly you start appreciating the value of Fasting more and more.
Living away from family requires balls of steel. Especially when , all this while you had your underwear washed by the neighborhood Shanta bai and your food served right at your oral orifice.The whole idea of living alone outside , independently taking control of your own life , taking your decisions and all has so many holes it closely resembles Om Puri’s nose.
It’s like I was rudely awakened from a long run of infantilisation and pushed suddenly into adulthood.You were spoonfed for so long and now you have to go search for your own spoonAll of a sudden those nagging things about family don’t seem to bother you. You actually miss them. The guy who said there is no place like home wasn’t high. He made fucking sense. It feels lonely in here .kind of terrifying too.When you close your eyes at nite those images of the past do a flash back like a Breaking Bad season reminder.there is a certain void that remains and always it will for there’s no place like home and you are too far from home.
So , as I said like three times already , no place like home. The only thing marginally close to home is sorority houses with quarterly wet t-shirt contests.(which unfortunately unlike Starbucks, KFC and obesity haven’t forayed into India yet)