In my life, I have moved a lot. Moved out, moved in, moved up and moved on. Each movement was significant. Each taught me a discrete lesson.
Growing up in Kolkata, we did not move much. Our school was a priority and hence my working mother decided to stick to Kolkata with us and her extended family, rather than following my dad all over India.Thus we stayed put. It was only when we got admission into BITS, Pilani that the first movement came about.
It was a small step for every other student but a giant one for us. Being over protected all our lives, moving out was a big deal. Not just that, living a life without parental supervision, was even bigger. While some of our fellow students looked at us jealously for having each other, we convinced them of our unique miserable plight. Being from the same family with 99% same genetic makeup, me and my sister only enhanced each other's sorrow. Home-sickness was magnified and fear of failure doubled. While one cried, the other woefully joined in! I can safely say, that my first year at BITS was the most depressive one.
Moving out for the first time, we packed everything humanely possible. Gigantic luggage's (everything duplicated) were stowed away in the puny room allotted to us. Fortunately, we became each other's roommates again. Just like home, we shared our space in BITS too. Needless to say, adjusting with a sister as roommate didn't teach me much. No one forgives you like your own family does.
BITS taught me a little bit about living alone. The rest was learnt in America.
In comparison, moving to BITS paled into insignificance.
With three suitcases packed, carrying pin-to-plane, I left homeland. This time it was serious. There would be no warden, no mess food, no food parcels or the quarterly visits from my mom and dad. This time, I had no sister. I was truly alone. And utterly miserable. I recall spending the better part of my Singapore Airlines flight crying. And the rest, I don't recall.
UCLA meant adjustments. I moved into a tiny apartment that was shared by more people than I liked it to be. I moved in with girls coming from all parts of India and one from UK. Each of us brought an unique tale to share. While sharing our space, we shared a part of our souls too. It was the beginning of the realization that not all roommates are mates to room with. Of course there were altercations. Sometimes you gave in and sometimes you held out. Nothing made you a winner.
It was the first time I actually learnt new things - about myself and about roommates.
My first cooking endeavor was lauded by my roommates as was my first culinary disaster criticized. I learnt making "Dosas" from scratch from a girl from Andhra, I learnt kneading the dough for "Paranthas" from a girl from Punjab, I learnt about "Crumpets" from my British roommate and above all I learnt to accept sharing with strangers.
Every roommate was a different story. As each one moved in, we got to know each other and as each of us moved out, we realized, not all separations were sad.
When professional life started, priorities changed. My accommodation was spacious and filled with me and just one roommate. I had the resource to have a better living. More space for oneself doesn't always translate into better roommate relationships. I was a new comer to living in Bay Area and fairly dependent in the initial months. As I learnt, I made mistakes and had some successes. My first roommate was an introvert lady. She was always proper. I admired her from a distance - because she maintained one constantly with me. We shared only common spaces and interacted through post-its. Conversation was overrated in the apartment. It lasted as long as it did and then we both moved on.
The next girl was much more talkative and sharing. We gelled well. It was fun watching movies, going to dinners, coffees with her. We were both busy and every time we met we shared something interesting. I enjoyed her company. Her personal life caught up with her and the roommate-ship ended. The next move was filled with highs and lows.
The first few months were an high.We bonded. She had very interesting tales to share. We made and shared food, tea, movies and gossips. We went on a shopping spree together. Gradually changes crept in. Her personal and professional disturbances rocked our sanguine boat. Things went from bad to worse. The transformation was drastic. Days became tougher. When I had first moved in I had thought to myself, that this was an upgrade. It really was. The apartment itself, the community, location, amenities, the roommate were all better than any I had before. I had to correct myself. From "moved up" I slowly "moved down".
For every thing that falls apart,people are not always at fault. Circumstances can drive individuals crazy. But at those moments of deepest troubles, one's worth is tested. Every relationship, however trivial, goes through it. Some fail and some bind forever. Ours were the former kind.
We moved out in separate directions, all for the better.
I soon acquired a roommate of the permanent nature. For better or for worse, my roommate and I are sealed into a pact of seven lives together. I tend to think, that the journey of moving, with its different shades have left me wise. All my previously learnt lessons have made me an attractive roommate material. I managed to convince my boyfriend to become my husband and move into my life. Till I hear anything to the contrary I am sticking to my super awesomeness!