ALL GROWN UP AND LIVING ON MY OWN
You know what’s funny?
Too many (Indian) women of our generation never had the opportunity to live on our own. We went from living with our parents to living with our husband’s families or with our husbands.
We never got a break or even a proper transition between these roles unless we had lived in a university hotel. Most of us didn’t get to live in a shared flat in a different city like many young girls these days do once they get a job. And live-in relationships were these scandalous setups that we saw (and maybe even secretly wanted?) in American soap operas.
Meanwhile, there were quite a few of us who weren’t waiting to get married; and we fantasized about having a little flat to ourselves and managing a little household all by ourselves.
I remember having this calendar with pictures of European cities and I was extremely fascinated by a picture of Amsterdam with its canals and bikes and I used to dream about having a job there and living all by myself in a little attic flat facing a canal, carrying home the shopping, cooking, reading, sipping wine in the evening….you know how that goes :)
The Curve Ball
Getting Started By Myself
When I left to live on my own, I had enough money saved up from my job and I could manage well with it, but that was the least of my problems. Finding a flat wasn’t that easy in Delhi NCR.
Ah, why Delhi NCR and why not Kolkata, my hometown? I knew Delhi well from my 3-month sabbatical leave when I taught with Teach For India. I also had friends who would help me in my new venture and most importantly, I didn’t want to be close to my family in India who, I knew, would bombard me with questions.
Believe me, I had to face some rather unpleasant questions from flat owners owing to my “married yet single” status but I was prepared for them.
Here’s a small sampling of some of the other intrusive comments I was told, especially by family and friends:
How did I deal with all of this? On the inside, I laughed.
But on the outside, I became a stoic as far as the questions were concerned. I never even felt the need to justify.
The only remark that used to get my goat was “he let you?”
I had major problems with the word “let” and I still do. It reeks heavily of me being my husband’s possession and implies a concept of partnership that I abhor.
But with time, I stopped getting worked up. I realized it’s hard for people to look beyond the known rules set by society, let alone question them.
So How’d it End?
What’s also happened is that a sense of detachment grew inside me; a Zen-like detached attachment to things and people. Because, as it turned out, I really loved being on my own.
I felt this immense peace engulf me when I returned home, put the 3 locks on the door, showered, had dinner and climbed into bed with a good book or to meditate.
Have I grown more egoistic or selfish in the process? No. And I feel complete in myself with a lot more love in my heart to give. But yes, I have become highly selective of where to give this love.
At the end of the day, I feel it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever taken for myself. But to this date, I’m still trying to understand whether my detachment is a good or a bad thing. Does it have to be either? What do you think?
Moushumee Basu Roy
6/4/2018 07:27:58 am
Hey. Loved reading this one. Thanks for sharing. On your question about Detachment and whether its a good thing or bad, thought i will share my perspective. Dont judge it (detachment I mean). Its neither good or bad.. only when u judge it does it get tagged as 'good' or 'bad'... So no getting 'attached' to detachment. :-)
Shormi Roy Choudhury
6/13/2018 10:07:27 am
Good read. I had similar dreams of living alone, someday it will be true. Reflective, responsible and reasonable!
6/14/2018 06:48:31 am
6/15/2018 08:34:59 pm
Very interesting and courageous decision I would say. Inspiring as well:)
6/17/2018 07:12:35 am
Absolutely my philosophy Alka. Thanks so much for responding.
Arathi S Gaikwad
6/16/2018 04:11:09 am
When we have come alone and will go alone, why do we need to have this question ? One fine day we will any ways be alone. Each member of the family frame work has to depart as per the plan agreed by them while they chose for the journey of their life. You had liked it and asked for it , enjoy it. Every color of the journey is beautiful enjoy it. No one can see what you see , no one can feel what you feel. So none of us can tell you what's good and bad for you.
6/17/2018 07:15:07 am
Thanks so much for taking the time to write back Arathi.
6/16/2018 09:56:08 pm
More needed like you
6/17/2018 07:16:06 am
Your comment made my day Samirah. Thanks so much.
6/17/2018 05:12:56 am
Nobody can judge good or bad . The decision taken n the ability to achieve is inspiring to many. Life is the other name of fulfilling the desires we have for ourselves. There is nothing wrong to attend oneself on whole. Hats off to u !!my dear lady 😊
6/17/2018 07:17:59 am
Thanks so much Anindita.
6/17/2018 07:05:06 pm
Loved reading it...almost having d same time.
6/19/2018 07:58:58 am
Glad you liked it Manisha. And even happier that you are experiencing the same.
6/18/2018 03:57:49 pm
I dream of this too...a year of living alone.Maybe after 2 yrs wen my youngest goes off to d university. ..I could give this a try💗
6/19/2018 08:00:34 am
Thanks for reaching out Shumi. Yes, you could think about giving it a try coz otherwise you'll never know if you like it or not.
12/12/2018 08:30:48 am
Enjoying this phase and definitely its awesome and amazing .
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