SMALL ROOM FOR A HUGE LIFE
The broker, the people on the road and the honking auto-rickshaws made me realize that I was breathing contaminated air in a surrounding that had everything man-made, except for the blue sky that reminded me of the almighty. I wished that the broker clearly knew what I needed for an abode, in this city. I prayed that I should not feel as lonely as I was feeling amidst this crowd – a luxury to ask for in a city life away from home.
Days went by and there I was in front of the broker’s restaurant run by him, drinking the hot tea he offered. “Up there” pointing to the terrace of the 4 storied building “is the place” the broker exclaimed. It felt rather funny to trust the broker in believing that a flat was up there on the terrace. I could wish that the breeze would carry me upstairs ignoring my obesity and pumping enough air into my lungs. Curiosity propelled me to reach the terrace quicker than I had thought. My curiosity was might with dismay. Folly was revealed in the hope I had on the broker. Had my dream search been a small room in the brokers mind!!
Just a room and nothing more than a room – a 20 square feet room. A neat humble one. The room was over even before I got in and took my 3rd step (was it 2.5 steps). I walked out to come in once again to ensure that it was not a bad dream. Utter dismay! I still couldn’t come to terms with the size of it. Is this all the broker could find for me in all these 3 weeks. The bit more of the terrace area outside the room was good enough to make for a decent studio apartment.
What was going through the owners mind when he had built it? Was he planning it to be a store room? And now, to fuel the flame, I found something more interesting. There was a twin room adjacent to this room and a vacant one at that. There was a single common toilet for both the twins outside.
“2500 only per month” the broker said. “What do you say?” he asked.
I tried to calm myself and walked once again into the room. The room had a window on the left wall. I pulled the latches which were fastened and pushed the doors of the window and found that the same opened towards the road. I leaned forward on the rails of window to rest my forehead, closed my eyes and took a deep breadth. I didn’t want to go back to the place where I am staying now. No I don’t. No way.
But how can I stay in this one. It’s too small. I have never lived in such a place all my life. I opened my eyes and looked down at the road where the vehicles were moving swiftly. I could see so many people who had come in from different parts of the country to earn for a living. The road was crowded. All of them seemed to be in a hurry to get their things done for the day. Each of them were in their own worlds.
There were transactions happening between people all over the place. There were the ones at the bakery to get their tea and snacks, the ones at the auto stand bargaining, as well as people on their way to the adjoining main road. The bakery, the auto stand, the roads with vehicles, and the hotel with alacarta and parcel service- the place was thriving with business. There was no one interested in others business. All were on their own. Looking down from the window, I felt all alone. The place was heaven for the vendors all around, earning more than they could have, back at their villages. Sure, they were making lots of money, but none had happiness in them. Could they ever buy it with money?
The room, the crowd, the loneliness, the lack of experience in this city lifestyle – all added to the dark cloud settling in my mind.
I very much found myself to be the fish out of the water. I would say that it is more apt to put it as “The fish pulled out of a lake to be put into the sea”.
The only way out of this situation would be to find a job near my hometown. But that needed a minimum of 2 years of work experience from any IT company so that I can return back to my hometown which too had IT parks. But 2 years was more than I could bear.
I had to live with this. I walked out of the room and looked at the sun that shone brightly into my face and there was something that struck me. What struck me was the story of a book which I read many years back. It was the story of the Indian Saint “Sadhu Sundar Singh” who had given away all his belongings and became a Sadhu. All that belonged to him when he departed this world was a 20 square feet room. As a sadhu, he wore a yellow robe, lived on the charity of others, abandoned all possession and maintained celibacy. He was known to be the Apostle of the bleeding feet since he walked barefooted on all his spiritual journeys. A streak of positive energy passed through me. Why not follow the footsteps of this great saint who shook the land of India and Tibet alike in the 1800s with his simple, yet powerful life. Of course, I can’t live out his life in all aspects. But why not give a try to live contended in such a small room as he did.
I now started to think on new lines – a room all for myself, just like at home, a toilet since the twin is not occupied, a bakery on the roadside, the brokers restaurant at the ground floor serving homely food of my state of Kerala which is southernmost state on the west coast of India, an auto-stand in front of the restaurant, a super market at a walkable distance. Am I not blessed to have such a location, which, in all respects, defies my logic of a stay at a small single room alone!
What more can someone ask for at such a rate? – I thought to myself.
However, the mind again did its fair share of posting all doubts causing me to look into the future and prophesize to the room “You mean to me- trouble”.
“Am I being tricked into something here?”
“Did I check everything in all aspects?”
“Shall I go forward with the offer or not?”
After a drive through the thoughts of my rather skeptic mind, my intellect drove me to make a fair decision at the cross roads.
That being said, I decided to go for a spirit driven decision rather than the logical.
“I am okay with this, Mr. Khan” I said to the broker. He gave me a blank look. Was it because he didn’t expect it? I didn’t bother to ask as it did not matter to me. All that mattered now was to move in as soon as I can. He took a cigar and lit it. He took a puff and looked down as if he was looking for something and quickly look up and blew out the cigarette smoke and said rubbing the sides of his moustache “Okay Mr. Korah. Come with the advance of 20,000 Indian rupees by tomorrow morning. You can move in today itself. Here is the keys”. I took the keys of room and sneaked it into my pocket.
I hurried down the stairs and walked towards the super market that was at the corner. I bought a mattress, a pillow and a foldable table. I also bought the basic necessities to the toilet. Came back to the room and unloaded all the newly bought items to the room and locked them up. I walked up to the house in which I was staying and packed my luggage from home town and moved in to my new big fat “HOME”. Before I could take bath, I noticed that there was no water heater. I caught an auto rickshaw and went to a nearby electronic store and bought the water heating coil and came back. On the way back, I saw a shop run by the evangelical literary society of India. I stopped by and got into the shop. The moment I entered, my eyes were magically caught up towards a wall hanging which had the young Jewish boy Samuel praying on his knees. I found it to be the perfect painting to be hung on my wall and bought it.
I borrowed a broom from Mr. Khan and brushed the floor, even though there was not much dust. I laid down my new mattress and pillow. I pulled out the bed sheet and pillow cover from the stuffs that I had brought from hometown.
I had a nice bath and then started to arrange my stuffs from hometown on the foldable table. It was dark by now. I went down to have dinner from Mr. Khans restaurant and came back. Laid down to sleep at night.
I was thinking to my self -Well done Korah!! This is the first home that you have rented from your first job!! What a way to pull it off. The feeling was amazing!!
Night fell and I could hear “Trrrrrrrr Trrrrrrrr Trrrrrrrr” from the road. The auto rickshaws were driving down the road and the same persisted for many hours and finally I dosed off in to sleep. Lo! I felt that I was hearing strange whispers. What could it be? I wanted to get up and switch on the lights but couldn’t. Chills went through my spine. I was scared to be honest.
I slowly reached for the mobile and switched on the flashlight and by chance the light fell upon the painting hung right at the portion where Samuel was, kneeling down to pray and the sound stopped. My heart was pounding fast. I could feel the adrenaline kick-in to my arms and legs to haul me to the defensive instincts. I waited and waited. There was no more of it. It was complete silence. What could have that possibly been. I looked at the painting once again.
I remembered that I slept off without praying and not thanking GOD for this new abode. Was it the divine intervention leading me to pray? Was it the same experience Samuel had as a young boy when he heard the Lord calling him? I decided to stay awake and pray continuously for until I fell asleep. The prayer provided a sense of relief from within and dozed I off to sleep again.
And there came these gentle sounds once again… this time it was more audible… fear swept once more across my whole body. I decided that I would not take this anymore and gathered my strength. I decided to open the door and check it and deal with it, come what may!!
I jumped up from my mattress and pulled the lock down and with all my courage grasped the handle and opened the door and switched on the lights at the same time.
Lo and behold – there were around 10 men standing in front of me!!
Source by Roshan Thomas