Well, I have moved house again!! When i made the shift from Lucknow to Gurgaon, it was to a well furbished 3 bedroom flat and I thought “Ah! Finally out of a Govt rental to my own place, a final resting place of sorts”. But, that was not to be and now i have moved to a larger flat, in a presumably “more upmarket” gated colony…. will this one be the last?
Almost four decades ago (1973 to be precise), Subhash and I moved into our first home in Sector 15, Chandigarh – a few weeks after our wedding. We had 2 rooms, a small kitchen and bath + toilet which we shared with the other young couple on the same floor. We shifted to a campus house in a few months and thereafter I have lived in a series of PWD constructed houses, about which I have written before. And all these houses had windows that were never aligned, walls that were ‘distempered’ (not the canine variety), doors that creaked, bathrooms where the water always flowed away from the drain ……… And the electrical outlets were fixed and limited. So, the extension board was an important part of the household. And as the electrical gadgets grew and the computer became an integral part of the house, the role of this piece of equipment grew. And Subhash was obsessive about keeping them all functioning – 4 socket/3 socket and double socket extension boards, 15 amp ones and 5 amp ones, and those with both kinds – and the wires trailed across floors to the gadgets.
The interiors of my earlier Gurgaon flat was done up by Mukta, before I moved from Lucknow. And it was the first time in my life that I was living without extension boards. And the water drained in the bathrooms, the walls were smooth – of course the builder provided windows were not well aligned and the dust always managed to get in.
The flat I am in the process of moving into was done up over the last few weeks, once again, supervised by Mukta. I have tried to stay out of the way mostly, but being around and available, have been involved at all stages of the project. Since the woodwork was ‘white ant’ infested, it was discarded and new woodwork put in place. The kitchen got redone and new wiring was drawn etc…. And the whole project which started in mid-April and was to be completed by end May dragged on. Skilled labor is scarce and tends to act pricey – and so, sometimes the stone cutter did not turn up! The plumber had to make his Vaishno Dev trip, the painter had a family wedding and the tiler fell sick! Of course, there was the usual summer fevers….. As we passed mid-June, I started hyperventilating about the unfinished state, and Sanju our contractor started getting nervous about my site visits. Mukta kept assuring me that this is how these projects go….. but there I was wondering whether the power outlets would be at the appropriate place, where would I put this or that……. And then I left on Friday morning to come here to Chennai and take my mother back to the new flat. I had booked for the 22nd, thinking I would be unpacked and settled – but that was not to be!! And sitting in Chennai, far away from the last minute finishing job, I started reflecting on how one’s expectations grow!!!