My (barely) living situation in the great Maximum City is pathetic. This is the first time I am fending for myself away from home. (Let’s just take a moment to appreciate Pune- for its crispy, agreeable weather, friendly people, moderately priced groceries, tolerable traffic and gung ho rickshawalas– all traits that Bombay lacks. But Bombay is an Honourable City) I am shacked up in a 2bhk with 4 strangers. That’s right folks. This ain’t The Hills unfortunately. I can’t even cry in private because I’m holed up in the living room. Girls keep passing by this common area like nobody’s business. I am getting used to dressing up in the closet, my makeshift khoofia jagah for bawling my eyes out with silent abandon. The only source of ventilation in this stuffy apartment is the window by my bed which stays open 24×7. Ofcourse there is the rickety old ceiling fan, but it is positioned at a dutch angle far away from my bed. That’s why I have to sleep in a Vitruvian Man Position to enjoy a sorry excuse for a breeze. Imagine me in this sexy pose wearing bum shots and a spaghetti… Leonardo Da Vinci would be so proud with this contemporary version of his art! ‘Que Bella!’
I’m not always this cute around the house though. I am my own maid too. Dirty dishes, dusty cupboards, tiny refrigerator, broken TV, leaking pipes and of course the blood sucking mosquitoes! How did Cinderella look so pretty while slaving away in worse off conditions? My hands constantly smell of dishwasher liquid. My hair is frizzed out. My legs hurt from walking long distances in search for a miraculous auto ride back home. Once I finally touchdown at my apartment, it’s another serving of bullshit. I can’t even carry out a normal routine in peace. I haven’t unpacked yet, so I am constantly rummaging through clothes from the suitcase, misplacing and forgetting things. Life shouldn’t have to be so hard man!
Take breakfast for instance. First I gotta wash the pan, wooden spatula, knives and forks in the sink. Then I proceed to make an omelette. Note: the Bombay humidity forbids this omelette to cook properly. So I am forced to binge on a runny, smelly, half baked omelette which looks like scrambled eggs gone wild. But Bombay is an Honourable City. Then I have to boil milk for hot chocolate; for this I need to tear open the milk packet with a knife because one of the roommates/the maid has stolen my black scissors. I don’t see the point of going through so much trouble when I’m going to unwillingly vomit half the contents on the way to work anyway.
Taking a bath is another odyssey. I have to carry all items to the room that is blessed with an attached bathroom. This room however is locked from the inside, as usual. I do the customary 7 tap knock. Flatmate number 3 opens the door, furious. She points angrily to the sign that says “Do Not Disturb. I’m doing yoga”. I raise my palm, like Jesus Christ, as if to say- “Bitch, Please!”
After a fight, it is decided that I shall be the first to shower. Whatever pride I have of winning this argument vanishes the moment I enter the snaan ghar. It looks like the architect started out to build a standalone toilet closet- but decided half way through that he would accommodate another 2 feet space for a bathroom. How gracious! Oh and did I mention there is no shower head? Pass on the bucket and mug please. I have been forced to master the art of bathing in an imaginary straight jacket. Once done, I have to leave with all my belongings – soap, scrub, bucket, mug, tooth brush and clothes. Imagine me juggling all this junk with one hand, and holding onto the towel barely wrapping my body with the other! Once again, ‘Que bella!’
Sigh. I’m exhausted just recounting the experience. I won’t go into the gory details of what follows outside the four walls. After all, beggars can’t be choosers. There are people who have it worse. Why do you want to spoil your mood reading my dookh bhari kahaani? Go and find someone else’s sadness to feed off on. I am done whining, complaining and gritting my teeth. I shall now cope with life’s lemons with a smile on my face and a spring in my step. Just like Raj Kapoor in his films. At least I’ll generate a steady supply of lemonade this way!