I moved to India and I finally got a place. I negotiated to rent the top floor room of a usually crowded working women’s hostel and it’s alright. As in alllright – not just OK. I was startled to find out at 5am the next morning it’s right next to a mosque.
I sleep on a hard mattress on the floor. I shower out of a bucket filled from the only running faucet. I wash my clothes by hand over a stone slab. The extent of my furniture is an ugly steel bookcase and a broken plastic chair. I cook from my mini Trangia and own a nice set of stainless steel crockery for one.
I complete most activities on the floor; hanging out, cooking, stretching and looking at the glow-in-the-dark stars on the roof, courtesy of the previous tenant. Apart from my mattress there are 3 rolled out woven bamboo mats covering the bare tiles. I try to get around the room jumping from one to the other like little islands – lest I get swept out to sea by the torrents running between them.
I’ve got a terrace. It’s good for breakfast and hanging out my washing. In the mornings and most evenings math tutoring takes place on the adjacent-terrace-cum-open-air-classroom. I listened for fun for a few days but quickly got bored – as I’m sure most of the students are too.
I have daily battles with common household pests. Those ants get into everything – score currently stands at 3-0. But I’m looking at options for retaliation. A large bug decided to go swimming in my shower bucket – I liberated him outside my bathroom window. I’ve got a mosquito net but it lives on my bookcase so I sleep cocooned in a sheet instead. I’d prefer it if the geckos talked and I just leave the cockroaches to their own devices.
The area’s pretty quiet. On my morning exploration missions I pass by wandering cows and goats, the other day I saw a donkey. From early dawn local ‘wallahs’ pop up vending their goods – dosa batter, fruit, milk, yoghurt, tea, coffee, the local paper and jasmine and roses which I buy to put in my hair. Coconut trees line the streets and houses are a pretty variety of faded pastels. When it rains there’s varying options for aquatic sport activities in the street – although it’s best try not to think about the sketchy sewerage situation.
All-in-all it feels kind of like camping. Which is good because it’s one of my preferred pastimes. Only now I do it everyday.
‘Life’s an adventure because that’s the way I live it.’ – Amber Adams