|There is something about neat homes that draws me to them (Photo credit)|
I have been a guest in two different homes in two different cities last month. While I envied the super size of one house, the apple pie order of the other made me jealous. The big one was so big that you could work out running back and forth answering the door bell. Numerous wardrobes lined up to hold clothes, a separate room for kids' toys, a huge drawing room. And extra room called the study!! My Mumbai flat truly is a match box in comparison. A huge house with so much space is like a dream since I moved to Mumbai.
And the other house had me swooning over the orderly fashion in which it was maintained. Every time I visit, the guest bedroom - not used much otherwise- has a neatly made bed by the man of the house. I find towels - hand to bath, in different sizes on the bed with a new bar of soap. The books on a shelf in my room are neatly aligned one on top of the other with not a speck of dust on them. I open a kitchen closet for a glass and almost fainted! Every thing on every shelf was so neatly lined up as if it had never been touched.
My mind quickly went back to the war zone my room looks like very night. And how miserably I fail to restore order despite the de-cluttering sprees I go into. This was like living in a dream. And it’s always been like this every time I have visited - and think, this is the kind of neat house I was (always wanted!) As I go green with envy, my thoughts run away on their own guilt trip - why can’t we be this neat! I have tried so much to clear clutter and have things neatly arranged around me but it just doesn’t happen. And soon I move from self-bashing to spouse-bashing - he just doesn’t bother to put things in their place and it is impossible without everyone being on board about it. And if only we had more space for our piling stuff, it would be much neater.
As I step put of my room with these thoughts swirling in my mind, I find tea for everyone on the dining table on a coaster (coaster! Isn't that only for the guests!) As I sit down to sip my tea, I see the hostess meticulously wiping every plate and spoon which was washed earlier and laid out to dry in a plastic basket. I am astonished and ask her why she was wiping every vessel. And her answer - wet vessels can't be put back in the cupboards. They should be dried first. And what blew my mind was the fact that it was a rule of the man of the house. He had lived on his own for years before he brought a wife home and was used to this routine - and apple pie order in the house. And now the woman of the house just had to follow it!
I could already see my envious green shade fading. I kinda began to get a peek into what goes into keeping the house spic and span. An everyday effort to arrange things into neatness. And when I looked back at my life, I can't even think of a time my spouse bothered about what happened to the plate he finished his meal in - let alone setting a process for dealing with it! And wasting my time on something as inane as wiping vessels dry is unimaginable! Now, it might work for some people, but I think I am too pampered to have these rules imposed on me.
And staying in the big house, I found the hostess complaining of how she hasn't found the time to clear out and organize her wardrobe for over a year now! Arranging the kids’ room is as much time as she can find in her busy schedule. Over the few days that I was there, I found that the more the space, there more there is available to clutter. I know I have a problem with lack of space in Mumbai homes, but beyond a point, we take space for granted and don't bother about piling clutter. Gradually, it just becomes unmanageable.
So while I noticed the seemingly good parts in their lives that were missing in mine, I forgot to account for the more awesome things in my life. People see the shiny exterior of others' shoes but what you don't know is the blisters they have within. I'd love a big and neat house with fancy wardrobes, expensive curtains and different rooms for every purpose. But with all that also comes with the responsibility of maintaining it. What I failed to notice was the blessing of being able to clutter around and not have to put things back in their place then and there. (Which I have always known is the secret to a forever neat and clean house!). Instead of letting things just accumulate, living in a small house has taught me the importance of 'use or donate' style of living.
In short, there is nothing called a perfect life. I have heard people living in the best localities and flats also complain about the hefty maintenance they have to pay to be able to live there. I may look at fancy, large homes and neatly lined up books and envy them, what we don't know is the challenge that each situation brings in. It may seem like an utopia you'd like for yourself but what you don't know is the reality behind living there everyday.
This post is a part of a 7 day blogging challenge by BAR where I'll be writing on a new prompt everyday. The prompt for today was - What you don't know.