Living and Walking Alone

I am somewhat on the introvert side on the line of Social Behavior ranging from Antisocial and then introvert and then reasonably-less-speaking-person on the left side, and then a normal person, extrovert, blah-blah person, and then Antisocial on far right. I do talk a lot given the opportunity, timing, and context but I am not much a fan of Small Talk. So if I don’t have anyone around me for a prolonged period of time, I can do quite alright. In other words, I am accustomed to the feeling of what over-enthusiastic (or just extrovert) people say ‘getting bored’. I am not familiar with the feeling of ‘thaasophobia’ which extra-enthusiastic people might have.

So coincidentally by chance of fate and luck, and some heavenly misalignment of planets*, I am living alone for last 3 months. Before that, I lived with 2 roommates for more than 5 years and even before that, I lived with a joint family of 14 people for over two decades. So for others, it might be a normal thing to tread alone but for me, it is certainly a new experience. Not that I haven’t lived alone for a shorter period of time say a week or two when roommates used to visit their homes but this is now the longest I’ve stayed on my own. Living alone is work if you ask me. One has to be responsible for everything and stay alert most of the times. Earlier one had someone to look after smaller things like shutting off the dripping tap or doing kitchen stuff or the most troublesome task of opening the door when someone knocked. One afternoon I dozed off and forgot to shut the main door. Don’t tell anyone as nobody came, not even the cat. I am still learning the nuances of living alone. And till the grace of some govt. bank HR department, I will continue to rule my apartment like cockroaches roam around Bengaluru, that is, like a boss.

Work-wise living alone is one thing and emotionally it is different. It is wonderful in a way because of several reasons as it gives you to sit down and think. This kind of thing is hardly possible when you have several distractions of people or electronics around. I don’t remember sitting down and pondering about the meaning of life in last 5 years. Nope, never. Now when I don’t have a TV nor a roommate, and when I am totally fed up with the Internet, I go out for a stroll/run. (Ok, whom am I kidding, not Running per se but brisk walk.) This happens in the evening and mostly in the night around 930-1130. Earlier when I used to go for a walk, I used to keep my headphones on with loud music so as to not get distracted by the noise of traffic. Not anymore.

After 930 pm, most streets which are not the main roads are generally deserted. People are inside and Dogs are taking their naps before they go berserk after a couple of hours or so. The place where I live has quite a number of small parks around. So when I go alone, without headphones, I get a chance to look around without any purpose to achieve as such. And I generally see this: Some people coming back from their offices tired and hungry. Some food places’ workers returning to their homes joyously giggling and making fun of each other and a LOT of couples. The average number of couples I see in a mere 2.5-3 KM walk is more than 30. Some slightly mature (30ish) walking after their dinner. Some cuddled up in some dingy corner of the park’s wall where light is rarely disturbing. Some guys standing on their bikes talking to their girlfriends outside Ladies PG Hostels (HUGE number of PGs around here). Some elderly couple walking together with them not talking to each other and men generally walking 1 m ahead of their wives, but still strongly together, if you know what I mean. Some sweet talking PDA types young couples who talk as if their vocal chords have been stuffed with marshmallows. Some sitting outside a closed shop talking with shine in their eyes and glee in their voices. Some quarreling because someone missed wishing on birthday. Some celebrating birthday outside the girl’s hostel. In general, I see more unmarried couples than married ones. This makes me feel kind of happy.

I sense the sort of happiness one feelsĀ thatĀ one feels after watching ‘Before Sunrise’. The craving people have to meet at least once a day and spend some time to talk is just beautiful. For some, just a glimpse from a window is enough, if it gets too late. I might sound weird as I am not some 90-year-old philosopher who has seen things but to me, there is a sense of innocence in these faces who, after spending their whole day in sun (sometimes office AC also feels like sun if you are not happy with the work) and relentlessly head-banging traffic, they still take time out to make extra effort to talk to the people they like. As I said, many people don’t make that extra effort. They just let it be and resort to technology instead of a good old face to face talk.

Nobody knows, how many those couples turn out to be legitimate couples in future. Nevertheless, this time never returns. After marriage happens, family life begins and the job becomes busier, nobody gets the face to face happy quarreling time back.

Now only thing I worry about is not worrying about this*

* Joking