Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Messier than Thou ..


Once, I walked into a men’s hostel holding Papa’s hands.

 It was not the hostel of the college I graduated from.  It was a warm Saturday morning and Papa decided to walk into the men’s hostel in Trivandrum, my hometown, to meet the warden for some reason. I also went with him, as it was too hot to wait in the car. Not that I had any interest to go inside ;-)

As it was weekend the boys had gone home, just a couple of them were walking around shirtless and clueless. I was amused, by the shock they got when they saw me.  We stood inside for like sixty to eighty seconds, during which the guys were doing the ‘Hangover’ act trying to recollect what happened to them the night before. Beyond that many seconds, anyone with normally functioning nostrils cannot survive in that building. Magazines strewn about, shirts hung randomly without clips, and that strong weird smell. The smell of a thousand cigarettes, stale food and dirty socks.

We came outside with the warden and they continued talking, while I stood beside Papa mourning my dying sense of smell. Then a guy came outside, dressed in a crisp shirt and jeans, shoes polished to perfection. He wore sunglasses that looked branded, hair wet from styling gel. As he walked past, I knew he wore some expensive perfume.

How can a person emerge out of that foul-smelling germ-infested building looking like he came right out of the Cinthol ad? Like hooooowww?

Let’s cut some slack here, it’s not just the men’s hostel. There are highly educated people whose homes look like the entire city’s garbage exploded inside it. You wouldn't believe the sartorial brilliance they impress us with post emerging from that trash can. Whatever happened to good hygiene and housekeeping?

Basically my Mom had an acute OCD condition. She couldn't stand even a microscopic speck of dust inside the house. She used to go to her Mom’s place, which also had pets gallivanting indoors, and start cleaning.
A real life Monica Geller. But when we were younger, everyone we knew had well-kept houses, I remember. Even if I walked in to my friend’s place unannounced it still looked tidy. Her room may not be the best example for it but teenagers are excused. We had a lot going on in our lives and had to please a lot of undeserving people, so tidying up the room was the last thing on our minds. As we grew older and had to marry, life got so boring that we thought we may as well tidy up.

Life in a hostel gave me a realistic peek into the upbringing of people in a bigger picture. Till then I had shared my room with my sister who too had an OCD, I was generally messier than my family but when I went to the hostel I realized my self-worth. There were girls who left cooked Maggie noodles in their rooms during semester holidays, and returned to a room of worms. There were others who dint mind sleeping with detergent powder, cloth hangers, books, shoes, water bottles, plates, plastic containers on the same bed. And there were others whose rooms looked like seven star hotels.  There were rooms that smelled so good and stuff kept so neatly even though none expected any guests in their rooms. The super clean rooms did impress me, but God I could not believe that people can be so lazy that they choose to sleep with a thousand random things on their beds instead of clearing them! In comparison my room looked like one straight out of a Karan Johar movie. And my parents thought that I was the laziest and messiest one!  

Parents were not allowed inside the hostel so there was no way to prove otherwise. Sigh. 

When I graduated college and started working in software companies there were colleagues alongside who coughed nonstop and others with conjunctivitis in closed cubicles  striving to meet deadlines that were more important than life. I graduated from messy, unhygienic surroundings to a whole new level of contagious diseases.

Now where do I start? 


20 comments:

  1. Hahaa... :D good one, Anita! I'm still a very messy person to live with. I hope I get some of that Monica Geller syndrome!

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    1. Nono messy is better than Monica Geller any day ! :D

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  2. "Shirtless and clueless" - good !
    papa

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    1. Haha thanks Papa I'm sure you remember this incident !

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    2. I could actually visualize that scene, and yeah I'm another one with the OCD! And my hubby's habit of leaving clothes on the bed / chair can drive me up the wall! And kids, I'll need a whole post to get over the mental agony of convincing them to keep their room tidy if not spotlessly clean :P

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    3. RGB: Haha thats true... I too cannot stand clothes on the chairs and crayons on the floor. But I maintain I do not have an OCD. :D With OCD, it is difficult to live with normal people !
      Welcome to this space and thanks for your comment!

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  3. My mother used to tease me that I was a messy one. I went to hostel and found out that I was the best in the business of keeping my surroundings clean. I once sneaked her inside the hostel to prove my worth!

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    1. OOh I couldnt do that ....:-( That one chance to make my parents proud !

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  4. Hostel life is always like that.... that's why its called "mess"... hahah.... went thru all that what I read...

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    1. Hehehe True ...'mess' is true in every sense of the word ! :D

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  5. LOL, all those boys surely got a shock when you walked into that boys hostel :-P
    I cant stay messy for long, but yeah I am not someone who has the OCD to clean everything. My mom has. And when she comes over to Pune to visit, she explodes after one look at the house. I fail to see what she sees, because to me, my house is like what you said, something from the Karan johar movies. Really not sure what they see :-| I blame it to my -5 eyesight and not my messiness :-P

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    1. Lol...guess all moms have this problem... It's not much of a problem when they visit, though ;-)

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  6. Hehehe...nice read Anita. Guess what, my OCD oscillates between Obsessive-Compulsive-Disorder & Organizationally-Challenged-Derangement. Best of both worlds, with 'amazing' results ;)

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  7. കൊള്ളാം ..

    ശരിക്കും എന്താ പ്രശ്നം .. വൃത്തി വേണോ വേണ്ടേ ...

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  8. Fortunately / Unfortunately, I was never a part of a Hostel (I have my regrets though). But I have had friends who used to live in hostels and know a thing or two about it. First the smell - they get used to it, no big deal for them :D Then the mess around. Trust me on this, despite being messy, they still know where they have kept their stuff (like their I-cards, Exam hall tickets etc).

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    1. That's excellent Binu. Missing assignments and record books were routine incidents at my hostel!

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  9. People who have a symbiotic relationship with mess are esoteric beings. The strewn clothes, rotting garbage is just an illusion. that is meant to be ignored for the sake of spiritual realization.

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    1. May be.. :D But we cannot ignore when we are invited there for a meal ! :D

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