When I first moved to Bangalore about four years ago, the only thing I knew was I wanted to live by myself. I’d been wanting to do that since I started college. It’s how I imagined my life to be. My mother, who had accompanied me to Bangalore for a short while, would constantly pester me to get a flatmate or find someone at work to move in with. Of course, I didn’t bother. I loved the silence. And the peace.
Many months later, my boyfriend at the time moved in with me. We switched a number of houses after that in a span of about two years. And after we broke up, I went back to living by myself. It’s been over a year and a half since, and sometimes when I think about it, I feel like I’m living my dream. It’s almost unreal.
It was mostly the independence that I was chasing. I wanted to do EVERYTHING by myself, and how I pleased. Back home, things have to be a certain way, how my parents expect us to be: eat with a fork and spoon, no lying down on the bed with shoes on, dal chaaval for dinner on Mondays, no posters on the wall… and a sea of other things.
Where I live now, I’ve done the contrary of everything aforementioned, and more. It has been beyond satisfying. To the extent that I’m not sure if I did it out of spite, or if I actually, really wanted to do those things. When I think of it, I hate lying down on my bed with my shoes on. It’s a confusing story in my head, you know.
With all the freedom and space that I’ve enjoyed and continue to, more often than not, there’s a humungous longing to go back home. It’s worse on bad days — when I feel like I could really do with some company. Just go for a walk with my mother, laugh at her ridiculously funny jokes, or even to fight with her. On good days, I feel extremely empowered about living by myself.
Buying groceries, paying the numerous monthly bills, changing bedsheets, replacing fused bulbs, folding washed clothes and putting them back in the cupboard, settling my book shelf — these things seem so, so annoying. And so trivial. But when I’m done with them, the sense of achievement is incomparable. It’s something I might not have felt at home, or even if I did, it would just have been for validation.
Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to open my door at the end of a long day and walk into an empty house. Ringing the door bell multiple times and having someone on the other end come running to open the door for you has its own charm. It’s extremely confusing. I like both worlds.
Two months ago, my pressure cooker had a major heart attack. I needed to get it fixed, but just wasn’t finding the time. My cook was irritable everyday because she was finding it inconvenient to make anything. Back home, I didn’t even think about these things or how they would magically come back to life. For two days, I was roaming around with the pressure cooker in the backseat of my car, hoping to leave work early to make it to the store to get it fixed. Finally, on the third day it happened. My cook was overjoyed. I didn’t think something as stupid as that could actually make me feel accomplished. It was funny. It made me wonder how my mother manages.
My parents keep asking me to move back because they miss me, and they’re getting old. And I can’t imagine giving up this life I’ve built for myself. I’d be unfair to myself if I moved back, and unfair to them if I stayed. It’s a thought that haunts me every single day of my life. It’s confusing. I know I’m never going to be twenty-something again. And I also know they’re only going to get older by the day.
I worship the posters in my room, but I miss the pristine walls of home. I pig out on meatloaves, but some Mondays I find myself missing my mother’s perfect dal chaaval. I’ve even learnt to eat rice with my hands, and well, what can I say, I bloody love it!
I’m confused beyond explanation. Either way, if I decide to move back, I’m going to regret giving up this life that I adore. If I decide to stay, I’m going to regret not having spent enough time at home. There is definitely going to be some regret, somewhere. But in between all of this, I realized I’m just about beginning to enjoy the confusion. It’s beautiful. I don’t know why, but the indecisiveness is supremely alluring.
I picked this outfit for it absolutely reflects my confused mood. It’s all too mixed up, but fits right in. Denim from the 90s, tan leather from the 70s and the evergreen florals. I believe confusion leads to good things. I don’t know how exactly, but it’s the only way to be. I don’t know how my life is going to pan out. I don’t know if going back or staying here would be the ‘right’ thing to do. I just hope whatever happens, it turns out to be beautiful.
- Chandni Doulatramani
Chandni works as Creative Lead for Wooplr, a fashion discovery app. She likes the sun, loves eating cheese and worships Led Zeppelin. She also happens to believe in the universe and even more in magic. You can follow her on @tartantoastandtaxis on Instagram and tweet to her @tartantoastaxis. Find her blog here
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