We’re a week into 2012, and I’m proud to announce that so far, I’ve managed to stick to both my New Year resolutions (“Drink More Rum” and “Fall More Sick”) Not just that, I also managed a third, which was “Move Out Of Parents’ Home You Idiot Man-child.”
That’s right – I, for the first time ever, am living in my own apartment. King of the castle. Master of the domain. Walker in the nude. You get the idea.
I’m lucky because I managed to find a place in Bandra (or ‘West Worli’ or ‘North West Cuffe Parade Province’ or whatever the builders are calling it these days) My office is just down the road, which means I no longer have to spend hours in a local, my nose buried in some stranger’s armpit (I prefer the armpits of people I know)
This sudden availability of free time is most welcome, because as it turns out, living on your own involves a lot of work. Contrary to expectation, life is not like an episode of Friends. Or wait… it is like Friends, except that I’m Monica and I have to cook, clean, scrub, decorate, host and to make things worse, my flatmate looks nothing like Jennifer Aniston (although it would be creepy if he did)
Now there are many things in life that I’m good at, like writing, performing, and having serious conversations with women about haircare. But cooking has never been my forte. However, I braved it out in the kitchen recently, learning to whip up tasty and healthy meals. Hah no, I’m kidding. My body composition is now 80% McGrease and 20% Crippling Fattie Shame.
And there is a very good reason for my lack of real-world skills; it’s called The Indian Mother.
That’s right, because we Indian boys are the most mollycoddled and dependent species on the planet, possibly ahead of Norman Bates. In all my time at home, I never lifted a finger – not because I didn’t want to, but because I didn’t have to. Indian mothers will pamper their sons all the way into adulthood, resting only once they’ve made them Prime Minister.
On the upside, things like storage and decoration become a lot easier if you’re a man. For example, I don’t have a cupboard, but using only my masculine skills and bare hands, I’ve managed to create a fantastic garment-storage structure, technically known as ‘a pile of clothes’. Over time, this pile has evolved into an entire ecosystem and although I cannot be sure, I think some Bangladeshis have sneaked in and set up home there.
As far as decor goes, we’ve used a minimalistic theme for the drawing room, because we have no money to buy furniture. It’s completely bare, like a dinner table at the Hazare house. This emptiness inspires two very different reactions, described below.
Female Friends: Ooh, big empty room. We can decorate it with fairy lights, and new cushions and curtains and carpets and sofas and fabric – OHMYGOD I AM SO TURNED ON RIGHT NOW!
Guy Friends: Ooh, big empty room. We can play underarm cricket here. And this floor will be great for that spin thing I learnt in the 3rd standard – OHMYGOD I AM SO TURNED ON RIGHT NOW!
The next step is to develop my ‘Guy Network’. This is a common Bombay thing, wherein you have a bunch of guys to do everything you’re too busy to do – finish the laundry, buy groceries, repair stuff, please the wife – everything. As of now, I know a guy who knows a guy who knows other guys, so it’s all good. And if things get a bit too overwhelming, I’m calling Mommy.
(Note: This is my HT column dated 8th Jan 2012. E-paper link here)