I have discovered the key to everlasting excitement – a life that refuses to settle down and keeps you constantly on your toes making you adjust to a new normal. Much like the commitment-phobic bad boy who women choose over the nice guy.
Eleven years back when we finally moved to our new apartment, I did a happy little jig and said to myself, yay, no more packing and unpacking of mountains of cartons! No more submitting piles of ID’s where we resemble doped convicts and filling forms in triplicate, giving proof of our birth and a forecast of our estimated death – so that we could get our address changed. We’ll grow old and crumble with this apartment. This will be our happily ever after. Yay again!
Truth be told, my yay lasted for quite some time. In fact it felt like a marriage that has lasted long enough to reach a stage when the halo dims, reality sinks in and we start taking each other for granted. It’s no fun to be wrapped in a comfortable cocoon of predictability. You get bored of being bored and soon enough you start itching for change.
The fun fact about change is, everybody wants it. But when it’s finally at our doorstep threatening to knock us out of complacency, we throw a fit like a kid being dragged to school for the first time.
Three years back when we moved to Brisbane in Australia, I welcomed the change. True, it took me a few months to adapt to a new way of living. But once I got past the trauma of being my own cleaning lady, presswali, cook rolled into one, I cherished the freedom I got doing my own stuff on my terms.
What I did not know was this was just the beginning of an unending cycle of settling and unsettling.
Barely a year after moving back from Australia to apartment no. 1 in Gurgaon and then to another apartment, we are getting ready for the tedious process of moving again. Our packers and movers have become an extension of our family. I now call them by their first names.
Every new move hurts like birthing pangs. You move into your apartment that you fell in love with at first sight. You don’t mind unpacking 110 cartons even if you nearly die of exhaustion. After the move you discover that the AC keeps the room toasty, the geysers are environment friendly, half the fixtures don’t work. Add to it the intense negotiation with maids who’ll quote salaries that make you wonder, why the hell did I waste my time on education! Add to the many weeks you spend searching for those important documents or that box of earrings that you’d carefully kept someplace but can’t recall.
The last few weeks, my life has been packed with more activities than the clothes I’ve accumulated over the years. Like every time, I’m busy making bundles of giveaways and chasing apartment society guards, maids, housekeeping staff, begging them to relieve me of the burden. Thankfully, they all oblige.
Moving house these days has become like a project that entails elaborate planning. It involves fixing the date, making field trips with measuring tapes to decide what can fit where. Then we make numerous trips to the new abode to engage in intense brainstorming sessions deciding paint, curtain colours, what to lay off and what to induct into household furniture to suit our new improved image. On project execution day it’s mayhem. You run around like an excited puppy, barking instructions to packers to make sure the bed-linen, towels, your elaborate wardrobe is packed with colour-coded precision, hovering over them hawk-eyed ensuring they don’t maim your precious tea-set that you never use because it’s too expensive.
Once you’re done with moving and unpacking, you collapse in a heap with fatigue but not before proclaiming, I’m never moving again.
Famous last words!
It was never this complicated. When we were a house of a few wicker chairs, a bed, a cooler, a box-like kitchen and three suitcases of clothes, all we needed was a tempo. Packers were unheard of and we’d do our own packing.
I guess this is what we know as natural progression in life. As we grow older we make life more complex. A family of three requires a house big enough to fit in a football team. We accumulate possessions because it gives us a false sense of accomplishment, yet end up with a feeling of emptiness.
Right now we are half way through our move and all I think of is work, why me, can I go back to sleep and wake-up next year!
I am aware this too shall pass. I am doing my best passing on my stress to anybody who’s willing to listen, describing to them in detail how hard I’ve been working, how little I get to sleep and how sick and tired I am of moving yet again. And now that I’ve run out of friends willing to lend me their ears, I’m unleashing my angst in this post hoping that all of you get stressed recounting your own experiences.
Happiness may get doubled when you share it with friends. But stress gets halved once you’ve shared it with the world.
I think I am feeling better already.