Monday, October 16, 2006

Living with a shadow

Two is a crowd when one starts living alone. Having lived with my parents all my life the concept of living alone sounded too juicy. To me the bottom line of such living (and considering I am no different from any average male out there) was independence of what I could (or did not) wear. I could do whatever I wanted to. If I felt like getting up at three in the morning for some left over slice of black forest then so be it. Switching on the television all day even if I was never in front of it was just fine. This was my personal island and I was the only habitant. I made the rules. I broke them.

The beauty of such living is it changes your personality in such a subtle manner that the realization comes to you as a shock. Simple things that enhance you as a person start coming to light. For instance, the one thing you get better at almost immediately is your auditory skills. In a matter of weeks you are a master of every single clink and thud in your house. You know what the stove should sound like. You know what the washer and drier will do when it stops. You are so aware at one point that the slightest hint of an alien sound will make you get up and investigate. This might seem like borderline paranoia to an untrained eye but those of us who do this know that we are doing the right thing.

The other amazing thing about being with yourself is your voice enhancement. Lets face it. We won’t be partying all the time will we? Neither will we be entertaining friends round the clock. So this means there is always a window wide open for you to talk to yourself. Contrary to popular belief this is not a bad thing at all. In the six years I have been with myself I cannot even begin to tell you the things I have learnt about the way I sound. All this tends to get mixed up in the sounds and sights of a life with a family.

Another advantage of an island life is knowing more about oneself. For instance, I never knew I was such an anti-kitchen person. The idea of flipping over pancakes for breakfast only looks good in a sitcom series. When it comes to reality I would rather be the guy eating it with maple syrup than the one making it. I also learnt I hate alarm clocks. Being a person who was usually woken up by someone all my life I had never really needed an alarm. This probably explains why I missed the initial few weeks of ‘alarming friendship' since I hated a machine yelling by me at five in the morning. But then much like a castaway I had to befriend the thing.

In such dwelling survival becomes a key and thanks to today’s various technological advancements this is not such a big deal. Any external interference can be easily filtered out. This is not quite possible when one lives with family or others. My first shocking realization of this happened when I was told I needed to carry my cell phone at all times when I retuned back home for the first time. ‘Call us if you are late!’ was the advice I got. And sure enough, having gotten used to not calling home I conveniently forgot. Oh the words I had to hear later that night is something etched in memory. Yes. Living alone did not include this in its package deal. My little island seemed so wonderful that night. I could not wait to get back.

I love my family. I really do. But there comes a time when after having lived with a shadow for company, you want to go back to that. You no longer find it soothing that someone is waking you up. You miss your annoying little alarm. You no longer can walk into the kitchen in your underwear without your mother screaming her head off. You no longer can come back home at three in the morning and go to bed without some extra audio effects.

My next immediate challenge is the notion of living with my ‘soul mate’ as it were. Only one island dweller can truly appreciate the life of another. A classic case of takes one to know and live with one. I hope she too comes from an island and recognizes my island’s rules (or the lack of it thereof). It could get tricky otherwise, isn’t it? Let us hope it does not.



4 reflections:

VENU VINOD said...

hope you get your soulmate very soon, nice piece of writing.

shakri said...

Thank you Venu for the warm response. I hope so too, mate. :)

karthik said...

Nice thoughts....
Living alone is a new concept for indians. U have thought only the advantages and not disadvantages. Try to feel the things u have missed by living alone....and write an article

shakri said...

Thanks Karthik. I agree this living on an island concept has two sides. And maybe my article 'Well lit memories' is a look at the other side. I invite and encourage you to take a look at it.