31 August 2013.
It is past midnight and I am standing in front of a plain soft board, trailing my finger aimlessly on the rim of the shelf just above eye-level. In my mind, I had visualised this moment a hundred times already. From the 1st day of August, a weird fluttering in my heart kept making me conscious of the time ticking by. The month of many lasts. The beginning of the end!
A glorious picture had formed itself in my imaginings. A silent goodbye to the room that’s always made me feel safe, a quick (hope no one’s looking!) kiss on the door of House 34, as it shuts behind me. Shutting me out forever. A certain romanticism in the mere idea of a farewell…and yet nothing had really prepared me for this. This unnatural numbness I feel as I strip the room bare of everything, leaving it stark naked.
Just like the first day I entered it, almost a year ago. A new campus, a new experience…this house was an introduction to so much. Adapting to strangers and accepting their whims and fancies, living with their flaws and weaknesses. The door to my new room opened up so many possibilities on that very first day. As the days slipped into months, the room developed a character similar to mine. I love sitting by the window, so a chair adorned that corner and photographs from so many wonderful moments with friends quietly climbed on the walls and created a home for themselves. I am no interior designer and yet steadily I could see the room moulding itself to adapt me, to let me be.
Here I have spent many a mornings lazing around, aware that no one was there to coax me out of bed and such a blissful feeling that! Here I have sat and cursed those birds which decided to wake up even before it was time for me to sleep. Here is where I have learnt to take care of myself and here is also where secrets, confessions and midnight gossip sessions have taken refuge. This is where it began, and today here is where it ends.
Because the house is no longer filled and the room will no longer remain mine in a few more hours’ time. So just for tonight, I take a moment and relive everything. The scary creaks at midnight, the loud late night phone calls from the floor above. The gushing water waking me up each time someone used the bathroom and the freaky taps on the window a random Sunday morning. I sit here and wonder how the year just flew away. In between settling in and getting ready to move out, somewhere the coin dropped.
Perhaps it was habit, perhaps it were the moments spent in here…but an attachment developed. With something as inanimate as a house, and yet with something as real as a home. Where strangers from different ethnicities realised heart breaks are universal. Where single children learned to share space. Where one’s ego took a break. And where experiments in the kitchen improved not just digestion skills but also our confidences. Because these four walls have given us not just shelter from the rain, but also laughter despite the pain. From handling unruly flatmates to cleaning up toilets after each other, there is perhaps nothing I haven’t learnt to deal with in the past year.
There is just one grudge I would always hold against House No.34.
The house that gave me so much, never taught me how to say Goodbye…