[Contd from Part One]
Year 2008; House 5
So, by 2008, I had settled happily in XX8 Holler House and for the first time, I was feeling really at home. Oh, the naiveté of my yesteryears! I sincerely believed that this was the last apartment for me before I finished my thesis and, went on buying all kind of furniture and stuff I would and would not need to make an apartment functional and livable. Admittedly, like I said before I got carried away sometimes and ended up with six pairs of curtains to put around four sides of the metal four poster bed I bought from ebay (actually I had to pay more to ship the bed to my address than its cost). But mostly, I was happy and certain that this was going to be my permanent address. To this day, 95% of what I own was bought in that house.
IS on the other hand had decided to stay in town after all. This obviously made me very happy, and I started pushing him to move to Holler as well, given we already had a lot of friends living there at that time. I believe IS was finally starting to realize that living with ghost of a workaholic room-mate can get depressing once in a while. So he applied to the housing office and I am not entirely sure why or how, ended up with a furnished, two bedroom apartment. Sadly, he had given his flat-mate notice, and the new place wasn’t to be had until a few months more. Now call this brilliant deductive logic if you will, IS decided to shift base to a hotel for three months at $80 a night, with all his stuff without having to inconvenience anybody. I am entirely serious when I say he often takes such decisions.
Just before this decision was given shape I came to know of it, and promptly intervened in a sensitive and genteel manner like “pack up, come to my house and camp on my living room couch, NOW.” Unfortunately, it meant another move. Well, it actually it wasn’t that bad (Read: I didn’t put in a lot of effort until the move actually happened.) IS did manage to squeeze in his twin bed alongside my old couch, but sadly, his metal monster desk had to go. I mean, my living room was sizeable, but not big enough to fit in a twin bed, a couch, a chair, a desk of my own, my friend’s home theatre and TV plus my own hulking 30 inch TV (I mean, I got it on such a good sale price; I couldn’t just let it go), and then that desk which was a hulking mass of metal that measured 5 and a half feet by four feet.
DO not ask me how I, no, we, found our way through the web of things in the living room in that apartment, but somehow, we did. We had to once again, re organize, sell stuff and make room for more stuff, like the 54 bags of frozen beans and veggies IS stashed in my freezer, my poor chicken thighs and ice-creams fighting to co-exist and cling on to their spaces amidst the green revolution. IS brings back strange stuff from India, like Basmati rice, ground whole wheat and daal, so those were added to my kitchen shelves, and I figured I won’t need to go grocery shopping for the rest of the year. So IS started living in XX8 Holler.
Year 2008; House 6
Come fall, IS finally got his two bedroom furnished apartment at Holler and once again, he moved. This time it was up a few floors and transport was a most convenient elevator, however, I kid you not, there was still a lot of labor involved. Unfortunately, IS had received a furnished unit, so he had to get rid of a lot of his smaller furniture. Why am I telling you this? Because a year later, all of this, every last bit of it, would come back to haunt us. Anyhow, IS moved to his new place and freed up a lot of room in mine. So , I wasted absolutely no time to fill in those corners with utterly unnecessary stuff as the fake trees, which, I had picked up in the infamous church give-away. That’s right, people went home with awesome entertainment centers and chairs, me, I came home with a fake tree.
Anyway, those days were also some of the most confusing for both of us, and we started realizing our friendship was slowly but surely metamorphosing into something else. IS had never been in a relationship before, and I am not what you’d exactly consider as being very successful in relationships either. I won’t embarrass us with any more than what is strictly needed to give readers an idea about the utter depth of our confusion. For him the solution was to completely avoid me for days on end. For me, the pillar of stoicism that I am, the inevitable solution was a bottle of red wine and an utterly indecipherable movie or book. I tried Finnegan’s Wake, Ulysses and Bunuel movies one after the other, in various degrees of intoxication, and ultimately gave all of it up for Harry Potter and a six pack of Blue moon. No matter what our solutions were, we could do very little to stop ourselves from utterly embarrassing confessional phone calls once a week and after months of this self inflicted torture, we completely stopped fighting the inevitable. We were, and still are very different people with diagonally opposite interests and likes, but at that time, we just said “To hell with all that, bring it on.” It took us a little more than a full year to get there, but we got there, eventually. And then IS decided it’s time to let folks at home know. Okay, now why I am telling this in this narrative? Because providence wanted all of this to culminate into what else but yet another move.
Year 2009; House 7
You see, our folks at home didn’t at first take kindly to this piece of information. In India, people from two different communities having a relationship, is still somewhat of an anomaly. Especially in that small town where IS hails from. So both sets of parents were upset, his more so. None of us could go home that year due to work, so both of us had asked our parents to visit us. With both sets of parents due to visit us, and with the knowledge of this relationship not well received at all, it seemed a lousy idea to put both families in the same building. IS hadn’t helped that situation by describing in a brusque, matter-of-fact way how guns and rods are commonly used in their town to resolve a lot of such scenarios. Therefore, what could he do but move to another apartment a little far away for the time his parents were here?
It is hard as hell to find an apartment in this town that you plan to leave in the winter, but we did manage it. We found this nice charming one bedroom apartment with a huge front porch at XX Rowdy Street in a hip and happening neighborhood. I was so sure IS was going to enjoy the neighborhood a lot by not stepping inside any one of those cool bars and pubs, ever. Problem was that he now had no furniture except that one bed! (I told ya, it came back to haunt us in a year!) So, once again, IS and I visited the damned church giveaway, and this time IS went home with a second, useless fake tree.
Two newbies, AK and NG had joined us this year. NG had managed a fairly nice recliner, AK had managed zilch but I promised him a lot of stuff by the end of the year when IS left that apartment, and all of us came home content. IS also got a broken lamp and a beaten up dining set, but I think he was happiest about that fake tree. That touch of green will liven up the living space, he said. I grinned and stopped myself from rolling my eyes with an effort. I was so ready to get rid of that stupid fake tree near my bookshelf myself, but he wouldn’t even take it.
However, I am proud to say that my apartment furnished that three month-place of his with every other piece he needed. Turns out I had enough to furnish two one bedroom apartments, kitchen included. Heck I had an extra microwave somehow! Gives this a whole new perspective, doesn’t it now? KS stepped up again, and with him and this time a smaller Uhaul truck, IS moved, once again into his 7th house in this city. He had sublet his room in his Holler house apartment to a guy so that when his parents left, he could move back in where he was.
Year 2010; House 8
It was actually New Years Eve when another Uhaul truck pulled up on the curb in front of XX Rowdy Street, to take back IS and his stuff to his older place. However, we were also giving a lot of stuff to AK for his new place, and JR, another friend who was leaving town , also intended to out some of his stuff into another apartment, I have completely forgotten whose. Only this was December /January in upstate NY, and there was a foot of snow. I kept praying to whatever higher authority resides in the sky to hold off the snowing part a while. She/he listened to me, partly.
It snowed after we pulled all the furniture out of the house and before we loaded them into the truck. And then there were boxes, pots and pans, kitchen stuff IS hadn’t bothered packing, and ten thousand other things from India. This household had multiplied at least two times in its contents since I helped setting it up a few months back. So, we made stops, picked up people’s stuff, dropped off stuff at AK’s apartment, put stuff in the trash, and finally, put back IS’s stuff in his apartment.
Then at about 5 am on January first, we dragged our beaten up and tired feet and got into the truck to return it to the depot. It started snowing heavily and then the truck conked out. THE DAMNED THING WOULDN’T START! The batteries had given out, because wherever we stopped and unloaded stuff, IS had left the flashers on. The old batteries couldn’t take that much. Apart from kicking the truck and crying with frustration, I tried calling AAA and was informed that rental vehicles are not included in AAA’s coverage. We thought we’d just sit there and bury ourselves in snow, when a University security car bailed us out by jump-starting our car. We returned the truck, went back to our Holler House flats and I slept for about eighteen hours straight. I don’t know about IS, but he sure didn’t answer my calls or show up for food for the next two days.
[to be continued]…………