March 6, 2011
"My name is someone and anyone" *
Sometime during the end of 2009, my mom had come visiting me in Hyderabad. I was living alone at that time, and was going through a particularly crappy time in my life. A time where I was happy living alone and didn’t require anybody’s company.
So one night, mom and I were talking, and she asked me when I’m planning to move back to TVM. I told her that I wasn’t planning that anytime in the near future, and she didn’t quite like it. She could not digest the fact that I was happy living away from home, alone, with a handful of friends to keep me company, and a job that I loved. And I could not understand why she could not digest it. I mean, was there anything wrong in liking a city other than the one you have lived most of your life in? If I want to live alone and be by myself, is that akin to having a psychological condition(Now is not the time for "But aren't you crazy anyways?")?
“But how can you live alone like this? Don’t you get bored?” She asked.
“ Actually, I love it. I like being by myself. I’m happy that you are here, but in a month, I know I would want even you to go back home and leave me to my space.”
She was stunned, to say the least. She could not believe that her daughter wouldn’t want even her own people around her.
Well, it was true. I realize that it was a very mean thing to say, but like I said, I was in a rebellious frame of mind. I even told her that I want to go away to some hill station, far away from everyone, where I don’t know a single soul, and I want to teach kindergarten children and write. After a while, it was scary even to me.
It’s not exactly the same scenario anymore, but the idea of anonymity still fascinates me. You don’t know anyone, no one knows you, you’re not answerable to anyone but yourself. I can do whatever I want, and nobody will care a hoot. And even if they do care, how does it matter to me, because they don’t know me after all, right? Nobody to judge you based on your past, nobody to question your present.
Initially, it was my new-found freedom that I enjoyed. I’ve written about it earlier on too, how I like the fact that I’m not answerable to anyone here. I described it as a strange feeling. It’s not like my parents were very strict even while I was living with them. Not at all. In fact, my dad is the kind who always encouraged me and my sister to go out alone, do things by ourselves, so that we’re never dependent on anyone. Yes, I miss home, I miss my parents, I miss my friends back home, I miss the familiarity of the city I grew up in, but I know I don’t want to go back to it permanently now. I don’t think I will be able to handle it. Who knows, I might reach a point in life where I don’t want be alone at all, ever. Where I might need constant company. And when I reach that stage, I won’t resist it. Because after all, man is a social animal.
A dear friend of mine happened to tell me yesterday, that he wants to go away from Hyderabad for a while, go away to some place where no one knows him, he doesn’t know anybody, "to break the monotony, the stagnation of one place". And I realized that it’s not just me. I think, at some point, every person wants to live in anonymity. To cut away from familiar grounds and create a new familiarity. To stand apart from everyone and just watch. To discover new places, new people, a new you.
People could never understand how I could go alone for shopping, roam around the city all alone, spend weekends all by myself holed up inside my house, my books and music for company. They called me a loner.
I’m not a loner.. I just… like my space.
Now I don’t live alone anymore. I have a roommate. She works in the evening shift. When I leave in the morning, she’s asleep, when she comes back at night, I’m asleep. We see each other on weekends. So now it’s like, I have a roommate, but I still have my space. We don’t get on each other’s nerves, not get in the other’s way. We both like that.
Free. Anonymous. Loner.. The lines got blurred somewhere along the way.
As did the point of this post.
*Title of this post is taken from Jorge Luis Borge's poem "The boast of quietness".
Photo courtesy Rohan, friend and photographer.
Posted by Spaceman Spiff