Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Moved house

Moved house during the weekend that was, I mean the week ended September 8, 2007. That is, um, after twenty years. A truckload of books, files, papers, vessels, clothes was transported to the new abode in what else – a truck. I didn’t think I could do it, but I did it. The truckwalla gave me a fright when he turned up one and a half hours late after tens of frantic cellphone calls. But he showed up as promised.

Then the double bed wouldn’t go through the door. Ronnie suggested that we dismantle the whole thing and being an engineering student he knows how to wield the spanner and make things work, which I loathe doing. He has to, that’s going to be his profession, isn’t it?

At the new place, there is no television on the first night, and I start having withdrawals symptoms. I am alone in the house since wifey and sonny are back at the old place. I phone the cable vendor ten times; he promises to turn up – not immediately - but the next day. Oh hell! But the net on my laptop works anywhere in India, and I surf and reply to Ryze and Facebook messages.

The morning of the second day, a Sunday, I wake up early. And… I listen… there are bird sounds like a distant symphony, sparrows and I know not what all (I am a bad Orinthologist, sorry, Salim Ali), singing their various sweet songs. Seems like I can’t do without bird sounds in the morning, they are my morning symphony, or raga, or whatever. I woke up to bird sounds in Artist Village and I am gratified that I can do so here, too.

Then I go for a walk. The road in Sector 9 of CBD Belapur leads me into a thickly wooded jungle of sorts. I guess we denizens of CBD Belapur are such a blessed lot. Just behind this wooded jungle is a smallish hill and if one crests it, one is in Artist Village which is again a valley surrounded by thick, green vegetation. And to add to it, there’s the small pond in the middle, and two waterfalls that feed it.

In front of my present house are a couple of tall Ashoka Trees and a tree nursery of sorts which is called “Mango Garden” because there are plenty of mango trees in it, in addition to a lot of other fauna on top of a smallish hill that adds to the “birdsound” factor. Just when I think this, I see a man with a discman earphone clamped to his ear, jogging ahead of me. Aaaarrrggh! Some people will never learn!

See, I am surrounded by thick vegetation on all sides and, of course, there has to be bird sounds, which seem like a sine qua non in my life now. Then I have a hectic time taking out all my things from cartons and putting them back into shelves and cupboards and inside table drawers. That finished, the cablewalla appears at six in the evening, after having promised to come at twelve in the afternoon. He is a rakish guy with the nervous mannerisms of a smalltime goon; the sort you see parodied to death on the small screen.

I refuse to pay up a transfer fee, as I say that he used to supply me a cable connection at Artist Village, which is where I used to stay. So he rakishly, and making some film-like adjustments to his hair, tells me that if I pay for six months he won’t charge me transfer fee. So I say okay, and pay for six months and save Rupees Two Hundred and Fifty.

That settled I lean back on my sofa and surf the channels. The flat is pleasantly situated and we spend the first day getting adjusted to the various utilities. Wifey doesn’t like western toilets (unhygienic) but has to adjust, son ditto. I say I have washed and rinsed it with Harpic, nothing less.

The cartons that seemed endless are in various cupboards, safely out of sight except a few that are dumped in the bedroom. I have to work on them when I am more settled. I also want a small corner where I can write and am told I can have one in the bedroom. So that settles it, readers, do look forward to more literary output in the days to come.

This quote of VS Naipaul about Nirad Chaudhuri came from Jaya Tripathi of SASIALIT, a literary network I am a member of:

"Chaudhuri, in spite of all the great names he takes, was not a scholar. He had no idea what scholarship meant. He held on to the idea only because it was the main part of his self-esteem. Take that away and he would have been completely lost.... Being Chaudhuri, he thought successes came to him not for his picture of East Bengal and Calcutta between 1890 and 1920, but for his hundred pages of 'scholarship', his ideas about the history of India...."

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