(After thinking about it a while, i've edited my original post. I think it perhaps now says what i wanted it to say)
A kid i know at work tried the "i'll read your signature" line on me. It was a slow day and i'm just stupidly drawn by things that promise to reveal some hidden aspect of my personality to me - so we sat down and the first thing she said to me was, "You don't like to own things." Wow. I must admit i have heard a variety of truisms like "you've been hurt before, you're very strong", etc etc... never something as specific as this though.
The reason i mention this is because over the last couple of weeks, my latest acquisition has been getting a lot of attention. My house. I bought it in the suburbs last year. To give you an idea of just how much of a big deal this is, let me explain. I prefer a laptop over a PC. Soft, light-weight bean bags and mattresses have been the preferred choice of furniture (i use the term loosely). I've never bought a TV or felt the need to. My only piece of furniture was a dismantleable spare-design burma-wood table and bar-stools and cupboard for clothes. Anything else would limit the 'up-and-move' quality of my existence, as seen from the average of 7 residences in as many years.
To a very large degree, this 'up and move' aspiration has been reflected in my romantic relationships. Anyone brought up the M-word, it would usually be the beginning of the end. Suddenly, things that were accepted as normal, would begin to irk - his need to just go off without leaving a note, his video-game dependency, his possessive streak, etc. And behind all the irrational arguments and the nagging nit-picking, would lie the question, "This is what i'm supposed to live with for the rest of my life??" And the answer, unfortunately, was more often than not 'NO'.
But now i own a house. It doesn't up and move. You can't pack it up and carry it with you to unpack on a hillside with beautiful views. In fact, there is little you can do with it except come back home to it every night... and repair its blemishes. And keep investing in it - your time, money, patience, peace of mind.
Much like a marriage. I find myself working really hard to keep my house looking just-so. No, i'm not anally-retentive when it comes to dust, or a bit of clutter, but i like my house to be mostly sorted. It helps me relax. It helps me unwind after a long day filled with agravations. Things that get broken have to be repaired. Things have to be bought. There is no out. You can't just leave because at some level you don't want to - it's home. Like a marriage should be.
The thing is, I didn't really buy the house. My parents bought it for me. (No, i'm not a spoilt brat...not a materially spoilt one, in any case.) This particular investment was done for various reasons - great investment opportunity, convenient base in Bombay, but most importantly, giving their only daughter roots in a rootless life. Mom even bought me plants that now i have to keep alive.
Ever since that time, things seem to be going completely out of control. .. or atleast the kind of control i'm used to having my life in. First there was the house, then there was heavy, wooden furniture, then a JOB to battle the vagaries of freelancing income to pay the EMIs, and now talk of getting a car.... All this, while there's still little to eat in my refrigerator and i'm fantasizing of just 'up-and-move'ing to Barcelona and earning my living as a bartender.
And this is where things get really freaky if i take the analogy forward. If my house is like a marriage, does that mean that even when i'm in it, i'll be constantly fantasizing about getting out, and more importantly, will i have to be kicked out of my inertia-driven state and almost forced into it?
The bottom line is, I sense myself growing roots, and the worrying part? It's not an entirely unpleasant feeling. A minor concern stays - When i look back at this time of my life 20 years from now, will i think that this was the point when i started losing myself and becoming the complete stranger i find staring back at me from the mirror now-then? Maybe. But for now, i love that in the mornings, bright sunlight streams into my living room, and the pretty flower-buds of my potted plants peek at me as i stand there, idly flipping through the papers, wondering whether i should order pizza for breakfast.
It's cozy. If this is marriage, it's allright.