Scratch all those paeans I sang about my first house in
. Yes it was lovely, yes the balcony was romantic, yes the rooms were big and I had it all to myself, but it’s amazing how tiny a trigger it takes to destroy that feeling of comfort and security in a quiet house by night. Hyderabad
So… how tiny was the trigger?
The size of a palm.
Only two nights after I wrote about my one-woman house party, I heard noises: first in the balcony, and then scurrying in the kitchen. I was petrified, but got up to check. As I approached the bedroom door, I heard distinct scuttle near my bin – not ten steps away. I screamed. I knew I was gonna be dead. I screamed and screamed. It was amazing that for the time of night, the noises were steady enough to wake me from deep slumber, allow me to get out of bed, walk to the living room door, open the latches and unlock the grille.
I screamed. Screamed and screamed and screamed my guts out. Called for help. I thought someone had entered the house. How, though still a mystery, was not even my concern. That someone could, was bad enough. And after all those horror stories that mom and Dida had ranted about how people’s homes were broken into, and when nothing was found, the occupants injured or killed, scared me to almost fainting.
When I think of the night, it injects indomitable fear inside of me. I’ve been a rather fearless soul most of my life. The past few years especially have been a relay of one gutsy decision after another. Stepping into that crazy ass place called Bombay and then chucking a perfectly secure committed relationship ka bubble, sacking my boss a year later, taking a four-month break, taking off again to come farther away after almost being determined to stay closer to home… leaving baby and the comforts of home.
But all those steps were taken not out of fear, but a sense of self preservation. This time, I’m fucking spooked. A month before I moved to
, Anuj asked me if I was afraid of ghosts. Who’s seen one, was my reply! But voices can send chills of various kinds. One is the fear of losing one’s sanity, the other of losing life. Hyderabad
In the past two years, I’ve never felt the need to exist for a reason – not for others, least of all, myself. Have you ever thought that your being madly cheerful could teach a child to smile? Or that a ringing smile over the phone could comfort your parents a few hundred miles away that you’re happy and healthy and healing? Or even be so super kicked as to club each night for three weeks straight with someone going through a divorce?
But that night brought with it a fear. Of being lost to all these wonderful people. I’m not implying that these people can’t live without me – not for a moment – but they’ve made me realise what I can give them. And I want to give more, not succumb to some desperate petty thief’s frustration at being so penniless.
Coming back to the question – what was the trigger? Well, a tiny ass rat. A rat, yes. Ha ha. Laugh, why don’t you?
It drove me insane – the noise, even from outside in the distance, echoing around the empty hall. I cried and cried and begged friends to let me stay with them till I found another place. I even reconciled to it, thinking it will go away – the fear, the insanity.
I moved into
three days ago. It’s crazy commuting distance everyday, but it’s nice. The drive isn’t junkyard traffic. And the township itself is self-contained. And guess what? It has a pool! A POOL! But most of all, I have friends there. The warmth of having people around to smile or have a cuppa chai or out hangout late talking about crappy Bollywood movies beats all comforts. And this whole proximity to the workplace is a sham. Malaysian Township
I used to wonder forever in
why and how people could travel two hours each day to and from work – in the train or bus or even hailing a taxi or worse still, drive! But it’s ok. It’s an urban reality. So the work place is far far away from home. That’s good no? The boss can’t call you in the middle of the night of a super brilliant weekend. And in my case, the commute is also a good drive! Bombay
So all those who would laugh at my shift cuz of a tiny rodent, it is NOT FUNNY. And I’m sure you’ll all mock-sympathise and say “ya ya, we understand and fear is completely natural,” but even coKo admitted, “I dunno how you survived even those two months at the Bs’.”