It’s time to manoeuvre life’s turn again. To leave behind the known turf, a few known faces and more fewer close friends. It’s time to muster up the courage again to seek unchartered routes and unknown faces. It’s time to move to a different place after four years of calling this house our home. Our home whose journey began with teary eyes (unmet expectations) and is now culminating with tears in eyes (soul-satisfying). What changed in between is a beautiful story to be told.
House Story 1 (Gurugram)
It will be for the third time now that A and I will be moving home. Right after marriage in 2013, I shifted to Gurgaon (now called Gurugram) where A got posted while we were engaged. Since he was staying in Delhi before that, we had to look for a new place. A finalised a beautiful apartment that became our home for the next one year. It was a brand new flat with modern infrastructure and a not-so inhabited neighbourhood. The surroundings had lots of open spaces since the area was still developing. A beautiful terrace extending right through the entrance was a dream come true. A and I spent many beautiful evenings and late nights at the terrace, watching night lights, the never-ending skyline, and the planes that hovered over every then and now. Our landlords became my first friends in a new city.
A city and the house that gave me endless stories to share with you, which I will do so in due course of time. The stories of my first year of marriage, of beginning of my hospitality experiences, of watching shows at Kingdom of Dreams, of A’s friends (let’s call the duo S2) becoming our anchor of support, of us ending up spending more time at their house than ours, of meeting my PG flatmate and best friend from Chandigarh in Gurgaon (out of nowhere) at a stranger’s house, of meeting a colleague in my office who turned out to be my mother’s best friend’s daughter, etc. All scattered stories interwoven so magically.
House Story 2 (Ghaziabad)
After an year in Gurgaon, A was transferred to UP western area (Noida) and it was time to move again. This time too, it was A who finalised the flat all by himself without me. It was so because the circumstances were such that A had already joined in Noida while we continued staying in Gurgaon because of my job. He was commuting daily from Gurgaon to Noida and had only late evenings at his disposal to look for a place while I was in Gurgaon serving my notice period.
A finally zeroed in on the flat and we shifted to Indirapuram on May 24, 2014 to be exact. I remember it because it was my birthday the next day. I was taken aback when I saw the flat. It was a huge place with four balconies, nice light fittings and chandeliers. The kitchen was too spacious with so much storage that my stuff seemed less in comparison. But all this didn’t matter to me just because the flat was not a first-hand. I don’t know why but I realised later I have this slight resistance towards staying in second-hand flats. Plus, it was a little old construction. You know those houses with brown, hinged huge doors like in older times.
As it is, the cultural shock of moving from Gurgaon to the state of UP was hard enough to chew on. As we drove from Gurgaon to Noida belt on the day of our shifting, a complete cultural and social transition was evident. Here, all I could see was people and more people. Forget about open spaces and greenery, it was concrete all around. Societies in hordes and flats stacked up like cards. I felt lost. The day somehow passed in moving boxes and arranging the stuff. But by the time it became dark, I couldn’t hold more. Just as A wished me happy birthday as the clock stuck 12 am, tears rolled down my eyes and I said to A, “I did not like the place.” Poor he, he could not fathom what was there to be bothered about in such a spacious, airy and well-built place. He consoled me and offered to look for another space. The day got lost in birthday wishes and surprise party A and S2 had planned for the evening. With swollen eyes, I cut the birthday cake.
In the week that ensued, stuff was unpacked and energies diverted in making the place functional. Kitchen utensils and glass crockery up and shining again, paintings and pictures put upon walls, bedsheets spread, pillows covered in bright hued covers, chairs and tables placed to perfection, curtains hanged, a dash of magic here and some sprinkle of charm there, and voila, the house I hated became the home I loved. Everything shined, the lights at nights brought the home alive. The happiness in my heart brought a sense of relief to A. We both hugged each other and said, “Life, bring it on. We are ready.” What ensued next was a four-year-long journey, a roller coaster one, just like you all. At a place I humbly called my home. It was not perfect, but still was ours, until A got transferred again.
This city and home too gave me many stories yet to be shared with you. Of how I felt extremely safe in a city and state (UP) so notoriously called “unsafe”. Of how I learnt to stay alone, my solitude stories, my bond with malls and cafes, of meeting old friends from Chandigarh again, of making a friend for life in my society lift, of my professional freelance experiences, of my marriage gathering more years in its journey, of having the good fortune of excellent landlords once again and more importantly, of a six-month-old child (not mine, please don’t confuse again guys) growing up into a four-year-old boy, of hospitality efforts gone right and wrong, of hosting host of family members and friends, many celebratory birthdays, small gatherings, and much more.
Presently, A has joined his new territory. We are still looking for a place to call our home. This time, both of us together. Life has come full circle once again. Last time, we were alone. This time, we have all of you to share our story with. Let’s see what life brings on now. We pray for love and happiness, for us and each one of you. Do you have a home story too?