Saturday, November 2, 2013

How much space is required for that kid from Cochin?


I was born as the elder son of Rema & Gopalakrishnan, a couple who struggled to make their ends meet.  Since my father never owned a home, after marriage he took my mom to his parents house just like any other Indian guy would have done.  They started setting up their life in that house, inside a room which was hardly 6 meter in length and 6 meter in width.  A house where my father's parents, 3 younger brothers and 2 younger sisters stayed.  If you think this was a "chaotic situation", wait till I complete my story.  Months passed by, my father's first sister got married and moved away to her husband's, I was born followed by my younger brother couple of years later.  Years down the line, my fathers two younger brothers got married and brought their wives to the same home.  My other aunt got married and moved away.  Few more years later, the same house which had 4 small rooms and a kitchen, started getting filled with kids - a total of 5 from the production house of my two uncles.  All the running around, arguments, fights (adults too) created such a pandemonium, as if there is a boxing match going around all the time.

Years went by, my lovely grand father passed away, my fathers youngest brother got married and his first sister ended up coming back to the old house due to issues at her husbands.  At the age of 15, nothing changed around me.  From two adults, the 6m x 6m room now had two teen boys sharing the room with their parents.  My luxury was having an amazing father and mom, who struggled to deal with their day to day life because of my fathers "job situations", my extravagant dine was to sit on a small chair inside the tiny kitchen eagerly waiting for my mother to prepare the yummy dosa (crepe), my "king size sleeping space" was the slot that I squeezed on the floor in between the cupboard and bed frame, my "air conditioning options" were convincing everyone including my brother as to why I should sleep right under the ceiling fan, open the windows of our room risking mosquitoes and cockroaches from entering the house, my fights were with the rain drops and cockroaches that came down through the roof and the wooden planks underneath the roof, my focus was on making sure the small plastic cover on top of leaking roof patch doesn't fly away during rain.

After an year, my father went out of state for his job and the joint house situation went from bad to worse due to the silly and illogical internal arguments that always happened within the house.  This "fancy" ride went on for few more years until we moved to a new place for rent, Finally!!  I remember getting out of there for the last time, all teared up and emotional.  I never felt any kind of suffocation inside that house but if you ask me whether I was frustrated at times, my answer would be an obvious "Yes".   Later, I had to move to a different city for work and hardly stayed for more than 4 nights at the house which we had rented.  I never went back to a situation similar to that of my childhood at any point of time after that.  The learning from that experience was immense and knowing my roots definitely helped me to stay humble.  If you have ever noticed me saying "It's OK" in response to a "space crunch" situation, then I really meant "Come on, we have enough space, lets do it".

Question - Why I want to write about my story which I never shared with anyone before?  A recent move of apartments from a spacious 1 bedroom to a studio, a move which took away a good amount of free space, a move which compensated me with a saving of $250 per month!  Though I was initially hesitant for the move from an apartment/building filled with memories to another one, what I would save if I make a bold move helped me easily reach a decision (money, as always, which everything comes down to). A small flashback into my past definitely helped me out and took away lot of minor concerns which I had in my mind before end of the month.  For that young kid from Cochin, the new house plan was still luxurious when compared to that small room where he grew up in, big enough to deal with his issues, big enough to contain all the wave of emotions that he is going through because when I look back, as a young kid I was always optimistic about what future has in stock for me.. a better and brighter tomorrow!

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