The CLL post was arguably my most-read blog post so far. A full 8 people complimented me on it. The fact that that includes my Mum who could not, for the life of her, recall what CLL stood for, is another matter. Such overwhelming response made me feel obligated to share the end of that story with you. I really wanted to upload a pic of her on this post. But even the hard disk on which it was stored crashed. Here is the closest alternative I have for it. I am sure my roomie would vouch for the many uncanny similarities:
So I did not, as it turned out, manage to find a place before New Year’s Eve. Actually, I did. But a certain prospective roommate decided to find herself a soulmate one day before the registration of the contract, leaving me homeless and backstabbed. It’s amazing, and indeed, impressive how parents these days are able to conjure grooms up at such short notice.
And as I entered 2010 with a rapidly diminishing faith in humanity, my numero uno on the to-do list, predictably, was to find refuge. After fleeing to a friend’s place to ostensibly celebrate New Year’s and taking shelter in denial for a day or two, I returned back to CLL. Her beady eyes bored through my soul. They asked the question that her larynx quite vociferously articulated seconds later, “Tu mera ghar kab khali kar rahi hai?” (I realize that English translations just don’t do justice to the Sound of Music that are her words. The written word itself, admittedly, is a limitation. How I wish I had audio tracks to share…)
Anyway, between the devil and the deep sea, I chose the former’s incarnation. I shared my woes with her. For expecting any shred of sympathy from her, I blame my sheer credulousness. KKR winning the IPL would have been a more realistic dream. Thankfully, economics worked in my favour. Since there was no replacement brave enough (or ignorant enough) to take my place in the House of Horrors, letting me go would have meant an unnecessary plug on a source of steady income and morbid entertainment for her. The invisible hand worked its magic and Dharavi lost one potential occupant. For the moment.
Thus followed the second innings of CLL’s run in my life. You cannot fully appreciate just how few movies the combined forces of Bollywood and Hollywood manage to release in a week unless you are in a situation where going straight back home after work is as dreaded a proposition as it has been for me these past months. After the multiplexes failed to satisfy my ever growing appetite for post-work time-pass requirements, I turned to the option of prolonging work itself. It might just work in my favor that everyone at my workplace thinks that I am a raging workaholic. Even bumping headlong into the closed shutter one late night on my way out of the office door did not deter my spirit. Of course, that might also have been after-effects of the possible concussion thus suffered.
Thus followed the 3 longest months of my life, punctuated with the regular conspiracy theories. The latest in that infinite list was the accusation of me having stolen a spoon. I realized I had just hit a new low in my imaginary thieving career. I was almost tempted to steal something nice and expensive for real, if only to make my résumé look a little better. But the concussion hadn’t reached that deep just yet.
As I write this, I have just completed the process of registration of a Rent Agreement. (By the way, did you know that Rent Agreements were called Leave and License Agreement? I first thought they had mis-spelt the word ‘Lease’ quite consistently in my copy. Turns out it really is the word ‘Leave’ there. Interesting that they put that word in an agreement binding you to not do the exact thing.) Legal parlance aside, with great faith in the constitution of our noble country and a deeply unfounded and shaken faith in the nobility of its citizens, I am counting my chickens, hoping that I move into the new place, come April 1.
Meanwhile, as my just-exed-roommate and partner-in-suffering moved back to her hometown, I decided to give the solo showdowns with CLL a skip and am living ad-hoc in a guest house for now. (Yes, it isn’t just Atithis that can drive you out of your own house. It is also CLLs.)
Last I met CLL, she was watching over my back as I cleaned out my almirah lest I decide to clean out some of her hangers as parting thefts. By now, I shouldn’t have to spell out the words ‘true story’ to have you realize I’m not exaggerating here.
The claiming of our deposit checks will stand out as my last lingering memory of CLLisms. No less than 4k were charged to ‘Miscellaneous’ losses, including her 500 bucks-worth diamond-studded umbrella (there is no other explanation for the price tag), her 1000 bucks gold casserole and the slipper from heaven that cost 500. This was all stuff that a maid purportedly stole from her. Even the maid gets a benefit of doubt in this case, though. The underlying assumption, of course, being that we played the role of accomplices of the maid in conspiring to rob these crown jewels from her Collection of Coveted Crap. So, my boss in this alternative career path is a housemaid. My résumé was really heading downhill now. After a scene-creation that would put Ekta Kapoor to shame, we decided to cough up the amount as a price for peace. Not without being told, of course, that our protests against paying up would haunt us till our dying day. Which was proclaimed to be not as far as we might be inclined to hope.
A friend recently pointed out that the CLL chapter of my life would have, at least, given me good mom-in-law training. Indeed. It trained me that if a prospective mom-in-law seems remotely like CLL, run like hell from the son.
Back on the guest house sofa, I make it a point to put my feet up on the sofa as I marvel at what a luxury a television screen without the latest episode telecast of Agle Janam mohe paida na kario feels like. My ears, though still a little numb, are adjusting nicely to the absence of an ultrasonic shock wave hitting them every 5 seconds. Even as I live out of my considerable and disorderly luggage, I think to myself, “This must be what heaven feels like.”
You never appreciate the little things in life until they are taken away from you. Like forgetting to turn the phone charger off without being charged with attempted arson.