In my fifty plus years of life I have changed living quarters thirty-five times. That’s an impressive number, right? And imagine, these are only the ones that I remember. There are a couple of them that I stayed in before such time as I started remembering things. For example, from my parents I have heard about the first house they moved into in Kasargod, which incidentally was right across the road from a movie hall (Yup, they watched all movies that made it there and on my arrival, I tagged along too) and was rented out by KonkaniAmma as they called the houseowner. I met the lady years later when father was once again posted to Kasargod. I still remember how she gushed over 14-year old me in Konkani accented Malayalam. When she had last seen me, I had been just a tiny toddler. Of course talk on the occasion inevitably veered towards how I used to stand on a box (Yes. That was a pre-requisite for the routine. We show-people are like that. We absolutely need a stage to perform. Yessir we do.), whenever I wanted to sing or someone asked me to, and dance to ‘Aaja re pardesi, mai to kab se khadi is paar...” a song from the film Madhumati. Sigh. That’s how early I started calling out to the pardesi to make his appearance. But the pardesi took his own sweet time to get back to me.
Digressions apart, that had been the first house I moved to, from my ancestral house where I was born. There definitely were a couple more houses in between till we moved to the huge old lonely house in the middle of a coconut grove at Manjeshwar, which is the first one that memory gifts. That was where my sister bit me and hence a house I am unlikely to forget. Anyways that’s where I started counting till I reached thirty-five. This number includes one boarding school, two college hostels, not to mention the many government quarters that I stayed in before and after marriage, but not the holidays or time spent with the L & M in places where army allows family for only a few months a year.
The thirty-sixth move, now looming large and close, did not come easy. It had been fun initially, when it became known that we had to move (we stay in a rented house), especially the research part where you wade through ads. The “dedicated” (Oh wow, fancy that!) car-sheds, “virgin” (Don’t tell me we Indians are obsessed with virginity to this level, egad) apartments, the “attached’ (to what?) bedrooms all vied with one another to catch your attention. But all the vying came to nought at the first call one made. Each conversation initiated over the phone sort of ended in the following manner:
Yes a dog.
Sorry, no dog.
Okay then. Thank you.
Click. End of conversation.
I have certain good old prejudices like everyone else I presume. I can never really trust people whose eyes don’t smile and I am wary of those who don’t like animals, especially dogs. They just don’t have a heart, the humans, not the dogs. As for a soul, you gotta be kidding me. Nope, they don’t have one, the humans not the dogs. Dogs are all soul.
Much to my chagrin I found that Trivandrumites are a soul-less lot, anti-dog to the last one of them, the house-owners that is. My opinion about them hit rock bottom with all the nays I got from even those who hadn’t said ‘No pets’ in their ads. Bah! People who loved their concrete homes more than dogs were not worth associating with. I wished I had a house of my own where I could let my pup roam free to scratch walls and doors and say ‘Tchah to you’ to such as them. But unfortunately I did not, so had to beg people to rent them out to me. Nope, I did not actually beg. Catch me begging, especially to soul-less dog-haters! Fat chance of that happening.
OMG, time is running out, I used to tell the L & M. He wasn’t being proactive enough according to me. He was taking things coolly. In fact in the face of no-dog policy of the house-owners, what he suggested had been we give Luci up for adoption. Well, all hell did not break loose, but the sudden chill in the air told its own tale. He did not make the suggestion again. I am not fussy about houses, I am someone who’d adjust anywhere, nor am I averse to new locations. So I’d tell him, ‘Take this or that house, let’s move.’ But he being born and brought up in Trivandrum has affinity to certain areas and reluctance to move out of his comfort zone. I sighed, rolled my eyes, to no effect. ‘Will we ever get a house to our specifications?’ I asked him mournfully one day.
“Somewhere is a house waiting just for us,” he replied rather too optimistically, I felt. And all this while I would have sworn that I was the more optimistic one. Time was running out and I was prone to splurge on good old pessimism for a bit. But pessimism cannot have me for its own for long. I am a natural optimist; the one they say does not even see clouds, because she is walking on them. So back I went to being one, que sera sera and all that, you know. And just like the L & M said, the house meant for us came looking for us through an unexpected call from friends. They were about to rent out their house and had heard we were looking for one. . The best part is what they said when I expressed my misgivings to the Brigadier and wife, owners of the house, that Luci might dig up the tiny lawn in front of their house. They told me to quit worrying about it. Luci will outgrow all that soon, they pacified me. That is what I mean by dog-lovers having a soul.
I generally find that people go all teary-eyed, not wanting to leave the familiar behind. In fact I have seen people beat their chest and lament because a blogging site has closed shop and they are forced to opt for a new one. Nothing of the sort for me. I relish moves. Once a decision has been made, it is like I cannot wait to leave. I am impatient and raring to go and set myself up at the new place, whether house or blog-site, it doesn’t matter. Most of the time (not always though) as luck would have it, I am helped along by circumstances (either created by living things or non-living things) that make me want to just get out as quickly as possible. This time it is a faulty electric line. I have been boiling in the humid weather since today morning with no power supply. All I want to do now is go to my new house and relax. Of course relaxing is a far way off. But you know what I mean.
So, if you don’t see me in the days to come, it will be due to either lack of time, or because I am not yet connected (God forbid!) to the net. Sigh. Who am I kidding? I will probably be peeping in every day.
Note: The pics are all from the house I am leaving behind.