There was the day I moved my blog. If I thought that was torment, eyes popping out with the strain of staring at the laptop screen for hours at a go, the mind dissolving into the consistency of mushy peas at the prospect of solving more WordPress dilemmas, there was the day we moved house. That was the gobstopper, so to say. But before I carry on, I have a request. In all this slippery business of moving the blog around, I realise belatedly that I have lost my followers. If you are here, and it is not too much of a trouble, may I ask you to follow me all over again?
Now, to get to the exacting prospect of the move (I don’t know why we do it to ourselves, but we do), the day itself was advanced by more than a week. The numbers of people afflicted by the novel virus were shooting up. The leasing offices of the building we were in had already shut down. It was only a matter of time before our new building’s offices followed suit. The less said about the expense of it all, the better.
If living in the terms of coronavirus took time to get used to, for all of us, as we made little tweaks and adjustments to the rhythm of life, moving did not allow us enough time to figure out how to go about it mindfully. We had masks and gloves, but halfway through the move they came off involuntarily. Moving day had in any case arrived all too early. Before the movers popped in, already we had a large number of boxes sat on the floor of the kitchen. Those I had packed beforehand in a lengthy process that informed me that we have too many spices and condiments.
The movers were a trio, their language foreign to the ears and features slightly Eastern Asian. The eldest, a compact man with vast reserves of energy (let’s call him M1) revealed that they were from a place my besties had proposed as a girls’ birthday trip destination towards the latter part of this year. An ancient city central to the operation of the old Silk Route. Samarkand. “The land of Babur,” offered M1, rhyming the word with Namur. He was not off the mark for Babur, the Mongol conqueror, from Fergana in Uzbekistan was enamoured of neighbouring Samarkand. He described it as a “wonderfully beautified town” in his memoirs, Baburnama, and had succeeded in occupying it twice in his lifetime.
Was this a sign that the girls and I should go ahead with our trip after this entire situation dies down? Should we believe in signs?
Anyway, M1 conducted his own mini-interview of us subsequently, and, in detail.
First, he informed us with great pride that his was not the hope to make the big busy city his home. His is to earn money and fly back to his nest. He noted: “My homeland is beautiful. I have a family and a big house there.” And as an afterthought, he added: “Where we come from, we do not believe in renting.”
Next he quizzed us about the apartment we were moving to. Was it better? Was it bigger? Was the rent more or less than the current one? This continued till Adi had to head to the nearest burger joint to get us all lunch. The inquisition rolled to an end.
A quick lunch break and the process of packing continued. This confirmed to us, if we had not known it already that our earthly possessions are the proverbial albatross around the neck. Most of them acquired through a mix of desire, want, greed… not need. This, after I have downsized to a considerable degree. I foresaw then a future of whittling them further.
At some point in the early evening, the truck-load of the various components that make up our home, finally reached the new building. Here ended the movers’ toil. Here also started our own portion of back-breaking work. The next four days involved furious cleaning. Wipe everything down, find a place for every little thing, cook, decorate. Drop a few things in exhaustion. The first wall clock we bought in Leicester for our first home together. The spoon rest from London. A magnet or two. A husband tired enough to drop the topic. Then, four days of drowning out the news and exchanging it for the sweet sounds of home. Revelling in the cackling of wild geese, the rhythmic thump of clothes in the washing machine, the whistle of the kettle, the sound of the oven dinging – the cake’s done — the pot of tea after. And at the end of it, a couple of happy roosters.