I have been in Norway for a little less than fifteen months. For more than 40% of this time, have spent staying alone without family or even a roomie. This is perhaps happening for the first time in my life and nothing that I experienced before.
I have lived the past nine years of my working cum educational life out of the suitcase. Whether it is the time spent while working in Bangalore or Pune in India or in Connecticut in USA, I have always had numerous roomies to share apartments with and virtual roomies to hangout with. The virtual roomies are some good old folks, who just don’t sleep at your place regularly unless they are drunk or it’s too late. Apart from that vroomies (virtual roomies) hang out with you to eat, sleep, drink, roam, shop and do everything else. Even during the MBA days, where I had the first time experience of staying in a hostel (though the B-school was located in my home city – Mumbai), I had a roomie and a group of virtual roomies. It’s the camaraderie in the big group that brings all the excitement in staying alone during your Bachelorhood 1.0 days (pre- marriage).
In Bachelorhood 2.0 (post marriage) I had initially shared apartment with a roomie in Oslo. Then when wifey joined, we had a great time watching movies, going for various outings in and out of Norway or just hanging out with friends. After we moved to Stavanger and she left, life has been one hell of a ride back to Bachelorhood 2.0. It ain’t no bed of roses, I can tell you that. Though I do not have any roomies and stay by myself in this 65 sq foot 1 BHK apartment, still have vroomies to hang out with. Vroomies and I typically have the Friday and Saturday night party/ hangout at Pedersgata or my place – enjoying some conversations, drinks and food. However what I dread is the company of myself, once am back into the apartment.
Have been my own roomie for the past 6 months. When it comes to doing my share of the work, I end up doing everything L as there is no one to share it! Be it the cooking, cleaning, loading the dishwasher, ad hoc utensil clean up, watching movies, listening to music or at times sharing that rare drink. There is no scope to gossip / have conversations, get different perspectives real time or be updated about the happenings around in India, Norway or anywhere/ anything else. Even if am sick, have a fever or feeling down and depressed, have no one to rely on in person than myself. I leave the house at odd hours and come back at odd hours, especially when I am travelling and it is uninviting and dreadful to walk into a quiet house when you are come back as a worn out traveler. I have seen those days, when I have been given delightful surprises by my wife – with the house all decked up, aroma of freshly cooked food in the air and the lights set just the way I want them to be – with candles and all. Then the excitement of someone waiting for you for so long / wanting you back – the first hug , the first kiss. From those days, to this day, when I unlock the door and just find stillness inside and nothing else, all I can grumpily say to myself is “Welcome back Deepak” and then grudgingly get back to business to cook myself a meal or make that hot tea.
In life, all of us at sometime want to be “left alone” or want “our space”. I can truly stand testimonial to the fact of how it feels to be alone. It ain’t no good folks. Enjoy the company of people close to you whenever you can. It’s never a burden. When you have too much of time for yourself, you won’t know what to do? Watch a string of movies? Read all those books that you always wanted to? Write all those books that you always had wished to? You can never get all that done while alone. Trust me. Your mind would wander around all things you may want to do/ think of and not to do/ think of. It is totally off the harness of a stable mind.
This kind of an experience of staying alone can truly jeopardize the social skills of any human being and I am no different. You miss the small things like home socializing so much (barring the times with vroomies on weekends) that I fear I am not turning un-social. In fact. also miss office socializing unless i have meetings to go for in Stavanger or travel to head office to Oslo. I work from home 24X7 unless travelling, so no scope of office socializing too. So to avoid that, I try to stay connected to the world through phone, skype, chat and more importantly Facebook. My mind wants escapism through this jail of living by my spirit and shadow through Facebook - my true virtual companion. At times I guess I take it too far with my updates exploring new details of my life or depth of my thoughts for that day. I miss sharing living space with a human being. Guess that is being vented out in the form of updates on Facebook by the hour / day. Am unable to figure out if it is done by me to escape hearing the clock tick by each second, whenever I am in the living room (incidentally where I spend 90% of my time when in the house) or wanting the world (in the form of my network of Facebook friends) to know what I have been doing. At times walking quietly to the library to pick up movies or shopping at the local grocery stores makes me get out of the house once every 2/3 days (unless i have meetings / official work) and escape the quietness and loneliness. But apart from that there is hardly any other new thing to talk / discuss about. Seeing this, the mind gets hungry and makes my fingers type in Facebook.com on the browser and check updates and put my updates to keep myself on the news and vent escapism.
Have to indeed dig myself out of my un-social network and also from the self addiction to social network through Facebook. Need a detoxification by diverting my mind to various other things – maybe like re-starting meditation or getting regular on this blog or re-starting the Gym.
Life has never been so quiet ! This is definitely going to be an experience for the longer run that will be etched in my mind forever. Maybe i am getting geared up for something special by the forces of this earth. Only time would be a testimonial for that.
Till then will try to cope up with the un-social network!