Room 402

Like any other Sunday, I thought I’d sleep in but was unable to. The hostel Mess had eggs for breakfast again, and I spent all day within the confines of these four walls. This Sunday was going quite normally until my roommate entered with a load of cartons and began to toss her clothes in all four directions. Within minutes the room was in a mess. I was stepping over cartons and kicking shoes around as I struggled to find my way to the bathroom.
As surprising as it might sound, this turned out to be a moment of dual realisation – one, the fact that this chaos, this clutter, this disorder was not pinching me the way it normally would; second, the overwhelming realisation that today was going to be our last night together.

Realisations don’t always hit. Sometimes they creep in without you realising and you assume it hit you because the ache, in both the cases, is pretty much the same. But trust me when I say that it did hit me, because it did. (hence the post!) I really did not imagine myself typing this out. “After all, it has only been a year na?” is what I envisaged myself saying when this academic year would come to an end.
But eight months, give or take a few days, down the line and I know that’s something I will not be saying. Ever.

A year ago, the idea of living with anyone who wasn’t my parent/sibling seemed impossible to me. I never thought I could enjoy a friend’s company 24×7 without him/her invading my privacy – a formidable offence in my make-believe book of sins. So when I moved to another city for college, I had zero expectations. I dealt with whatever came my way, always cross-checking my realities with that of others, trying to understand the ways of this strange world, doing my best to avoid clashes while trying to maintain, build and rebuild my own boundaries. What I failed to realise was that this was a journey and the thing about journeys is that they never leave you untouched.
So I think somewhere along the way the intimacy just crawled into the same room as the two of us and began to fill the space in between. The comfort arrived much before but both settled in almost at the same time. It was in those worn out evenings followed by silences and yawns, in the constant synchronisation of schedules, in the collective attempt at preserving our sanity that we found ourselves devoid of pretence and paranoia.

Now she has had roommates before but for me this was an incredibly new experience. It was the first time I was actually “adjusting” with someone who wasn’t my brother. And even though we had our own, as she put it, “literal ups and downs”, I enjoyed it quite a lot! To be honest, I was really skeptical about this whole thing, especially on days when I’d grapple with my slumber only to scream at her in the middle of the night. Or when I’d nag her about little things that I could’ve easily ignored.

Any way, the point that I’m trying to make is that, despite what happened or didn’t happen, I can’t deny her importance in my life. I guess, once you’ve lived with someone, it’s hard not to see them in that light of familiarity. They cannot and never will be strangers to you for the simple reason that your lives once co-existed


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