The invaluable perks of not having a personal room…(Suraj Divakaran)



The stealthy and soothing tunes of ‘Queen’ are ringing in my ears as I make way after buying a packet, each of bread and milk from a shop nearby to my lovely abode.

“Yesterday my life was in ruins,
Now, today I know what I am doin’…”

As the ‘Musical Prostitute’ sings to me and takes me into his world, simultaneously I expertly and rhythmically dodge over puddles of mud due to the most previous showers on the ground.   I reach my lovely abode and ring the bell. My mother opens the door with a smile, but glares at me the moment I try to sit somewhere without washing myself. I refresh myself and go stand under the fan in the bedroom to cool off my spirits and that is how I would like to start.

When I started online classes in my college, I could see with clear eyes that almost every single student/classmate of mine had a room to themselves, adorned with their own creations, their own possessions, colors, pictures, a comfortable bed and privacy all to themselves. The moment I saw these things, I imagined them with the biggest might and strength.  The ironical thing about humans is that they spend a lot of time thinking about unrealistic things, negative things and most probably what’s missing in their life. My first thoughts were that they led the best lives one could ever imagine in comfort, happiness independence and most importantly PRIVACY.

And just as teenage is the most crucial age of making mistakes, I mistook rooms to be divine.  But of course, I am not crazy to demand a room for me,  cry or regret anything.  My family lives in a small, beautiful and lovely house/flat.  It’s small because it has a common room for everyone, beautiful with my parent’s efforts and their reflection, lively with my younger brother’s smiles and loud noise. I seriously don’t know what I’ve contributed, but my parents are proud and happy with whatever I have achieved so far. But the major confrontation that I went forward with was what I already had!!!!

If I entered my house from outside, I would be hammered with a load of questions & interrogations from my mother.  I would be shot down with glares every now and then for not doing a particular thing in the right way and compared to how my brother is not like that, when he doesn’t even bother doing those things.

While I am on my study table,   my mother comes into pick up something from the cupboard, my father comes in to take his phone and then returns to request me to turn on the router, and my brother comes in to satiate his hyperactivity by jumping on the bed, screaming and asking obvious questions.  If I managed to send him back to the main room, in some way in matter of minutes he will come back asking for a pencil or an eraser. They all barge in through the door as if it’s the door to a commercial building. My phone has been checked and my friend’s profile pictures have been viewed if my mother has nothing else to do. She will then go ahead with a character analysis of them on the basis of their profile pictures. The funny part is that in the midst of my online lectures, there would be my mother and curious brother asking intriguing questions about whether the particular teacher is married, has kids, how beautiful are the plants placed on a particular teacher’s window grill, how many fellow students are keeping their camera always on, why some students are never keeping their cameras on and so on. While a fun activity goes on in the weekend activity period, my brother sits on my lap and my mother behind me, both henpecking me to answer, guess or retaliate with their excited monkey’s faces. Sometimes I fear that they unmute the audio and barge into my activity class with some ideas or suggestions.   

The thing that I can observe and am grateful for is that I have a roof above my head and a loving family.  Even though our space is small, we live our biggest lives in it. We can’t always look at what we’re missing because sometimes we need to carefully look at what we have already.  And if I have a room of my own, certainly my life is going to be a void, empty as darkness.   These are the moments that lit up my life and maintain that fire and I cherish and live with it.  If my life is fun like this, I am always going to hold on to it rather than waste it on some irrational fears and possessions.  Because whenever I think about it, it always brings happiness, a grin which spreads across my face and laughter, but never would I look at them with regret or sadness.

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