Today I baked a cake and last Sunday I opened the sewing machine and stitched a large pillow cover for my new 2 ft X 2 ft TV-viewing throne! Baking and sewing are my favourite hobbies. This means we feel settled in our new one-month old Aashiyana. We are back in the business, the business of enjoying ourselves! We picked up on entertaining close friends within a week of arrival at our Aashiyana, that’s fast you would think!
It was a painful process though, uprooting ourselves from our comfortable campus home and campus life after 28 years! Co-passengers on Spaceship 502! A lifetime really. Our careers grew there, our little one grew up, flew from the nest and returned to get married on campus. A lifetime indeed! For my husband it must have been tough, though it never shows! It was not just his home, it was his place of work, his office, meeting place with his colleagues and long time friends.
The process of uprooting began about a year earlier. Every cupboard and loft we opened had a few surprises. There were files/documents from a couple of decades earlier, suitcases without handles and zips in disrepair, bags galore! My husband and I must have attended 100s of conferences, each with memorabilia of our travels. Laptops, mobiles, other e-equipment were all distributed. There were some e-ware that we could not recognize. We send photos to our daughter to ask if she recognized it. Pat comes the answer, ‘Those are amplifiers and speakers that I used in Chicago. I do not need them now!’ Even now I do not know if these are one set or two sets of speakers (see photo and tell me)!! I gained more knowledge on this, the large box is a subwoofer! It captures low pitched audio frequency referred to as bass. Woof Woof!!
A huge library in the study was shrunk by donating to our respective institutional libraries and to children’s libraries. Furniture was dismantled and remodeled to fit the new Aashiyana. For this we thank our carpenter, Dilipbhai, who converted all our hare-brained design ideas into a reality. The dismantled furniture and later more furniture was moved in various rounds. To sum, we reduced our 28 years of worldly possessions by almost one third!
When most of the carpentry, painting, electrical and pumbling work was done in the Aashiyana, we had a small griha pravesh of our own! Oh, and we forgot the agarbatti and diya. No matter, griha-pravesh in two rounds as well, agarbatti and diya in the next round. The Lord God is with us, and we have the blesssing of our elders, on this earth and beyond.
The day of the final move arrived. The first to go were the potted plants. It turned out to be a full truck load. The plants entered our new Aashiyana first and occupied its place in the sun, in the two balconies. I hope and wish the majority of these would be able to survive the searing 44-45 degree Celsius summer temperatures of April and May.
While a few workers went with the plants to the Aashiyana, the rest began packing in earnest. Every single piece of crockery, and show piece was wrapped separately and packed into cardboard cartons. I was most concerned about the glass ware in the kitchen. At lunch time we could not find the box of rotis that was to be our lunch. The enthusiatic boys had packed that too. They had to unpack four cartons before the roti container appeared.
The truck with the plants returned, but we found that one more truck was required for the furniture. I began to panic. The manager of the packers ordered/called for one more truck. I was left on tenterhooks till it arrived. The panic was as there were entry restrictions in the new apartment complex. The trucks would not gain entry after 6.00 pm!
Fortunately the extra truck arrived and it turned out to be a larger one. The workers neatly filled up the trucks, first stacking the cardboard cartons, suitcases and later the furniture. Every single thing was loaded, including buckets, mops, every tiny item was stuffed into the cartons and labeled. My husband ordered tea for all the workers. Finally the trucks were loaded by 5.00 pm and we left for the new abode by 5.30 pm. We just made it. Hats off to the workers!
The trucks were unloaded in the Aashiyana. But we were not done yet. Each piece of furniture was unpacked and placed where we indicated it should be. A wall of cartons stood in the kitchen. Another wall of cartons with books stood in the guest bedroom. It was 9.00 pm. The workers wanted to unpack the cartons. We called a halt! We still needed to figure out where the items would go. So we ended the day, exhausted.
Day 1 in the apartment: We took courage and unpacked the cartons labeled ‘kitchen’, with some help from Manishbhai. Finally the wall of cartons in the open kitchen was dismantled. The kitchen was more or less in order. The gas company guy connected the pipeline gas! We felt partly settled! And here is me resting my back with my feet up. But no chance of sleep as drilling began in the neighbour’s house! Welcome to living in an apartment!!
My creativity was on display when we hung up the home-sown upcycled curtain. The curtain was made from an old dupatta, with lining made from some other upcycled material. Green and yellow Bandhni curtain.
Slowly as things started to find their place in the Aashiyana and when we thought we were settled, this monkey arrived. Down came the fan! The drawing room was messed up again, while he monkeyed with the cables and got it neatly across to the adjacent room. Tata Sky turned Tata Play, it is called!
The best thing about the new Aashiyana is the swimming pool! Getting into a routine of swimming on a regular bais after 4 decades in this city! And the worst? That clearly is the long commute, daily drive to work! Well good fortune also comes with some tough luck! And so with your blessing and blessings of elders, we begin our new life in the city!