I am vacating my rented house in South Delhi tomorrow after staying here for nearly nine months. The newly hired house in West Delhi is going to be my fifth residence in Delhi in a short span of three years. I had left my parents and siblings at the age of sixteen and stayed in different cities thereafter for my higher studies and profession except for the three years in between with them while pursuing my graduation. Towards the end of my post graduation and the beginning of professional life, I stayed in the house of a Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation bus driver for nearly two years. And, that was my longest stay so far in a rented house. Otherwise, I used to change the roof over my head at least once in a year. The shifting from one place to another was quite easy for me as I used to move around with all my belongings in a suitcase. My motto was ‘less luggage more comfort’ just like the Indian Railways. Because of my frequent movements, I have not yet been able to obtain a passport, which is the most important proof of one’s identity and citizenship, from the Ministry of External Affairs. As per rules, one should have stayed at a particular place for at least one year, that too with some proof, to be able to apply for a passport. Now, I am moving to the new house with the hope that my passport will bear that address.
I hope I will stay there for some time as it is no longer possible for me to move around with my stuff in a suitcase. Though I have not accumulated much, my wife joined me with all her possessions in 10 – 15 bags. She did not want to leave anything behind with her parents. After the wedding, when we got into the train to Delhi, I had a horrible time keeping everything under the seats and other vacant spaces without causing troubles to the fellow passengers. Therefore, I will think twice before deciding another pack up.
I start realizing that slowly I am being confined to my office and home. There will not be any late night parties, no eating-out with friends and no unplanned adventurous trips. This is a transition phase of the life of a free bird to that of a caged bird to an extent. However, I started enjoying the privileges of this new life – there is somebody at home to open the door to you when you are back after office, a cup of hot coffee once you change and freshen up yourself, meals at your table on time, washed and pressed clothes and much more than that the warmth of her love. These days, I impatiently look at the office clock to show 5.30 PM to get out and get lost into our small cage. Earlier, only one third of the day was spent outside office. I am slowly adapting myself to the changes in my life.
As I have mentioned in some of my previous blogs, my reading habits as an adolescent had instilled in me a passion to travel to the great nations and cities that served as perfect backdrops to some of the great works of our great writers of all the times such as the Russia of Dostoevsky and Chekov, China of Pearl S Buck (The Good Earth), Colombia of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Bengal (Kolkata) of Tagore, etc. During those days, I dreamt of running away from my home to see these places in real. I believed that I would become a writer one day and known all over the world. I was eager to go out and experience life with all its uncertainties, harshness, troubles and tribulations. I hoped that such experiences would mould me into a different being and provide me with the stories to tell the world. However, as you grow up, the way you look at life changes. You start realizing the expectations of your parents and siblings about you start focusing more on meeting, and if possible, exceeding their expectations. While doing so, you pretend to be deaf and ignorant to your inner callings.
Recently, I had a chance to watch a movie adaptation of the play ‘The Glass Menagerie’ by Tennessee Williams. I could easily identify myself with Tom Wingfield, the leading character in it who wants to set out to pursue his passion of becoming a poet but forced to continue his job in a shoe factory due to the commitments to his mother and a sister who is crippled. I think there is a Tom lying dormant within each one of us with dreams yet to be fulfilled, passions yet to be followed, potentials yet to be actualized and a life yet to be lived.