Home Alone

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A L-shaped balcony just about wide enough to hold 2 adults that opened to a vacant plot on one and an abandoned house on the other side. The main door of the 2 bedroom house on the first floor that opened to a stairway that led down to a veranda secured by an iron gate and which wound up to an open terrace with a furnished a single room that remained locked most of the year. There was a neighbor on the first floor and one more family that lived downstairs. Except the balcony, most aspects of this house was safe. Yet one night, a well grown up adult, all of 25 years, crept from the top of the bed in the middle of the night with pillows and bed sheet and found a cozy place under the bed. Thank God, the maid had done a good job of cleaning under the cot as well. She slept there for the rest of the night anticipating the thief in the balcony to break in anytime. The same followed for 10 consecutive nights until the sane adult of the house returned home. As if this was not enough, blank calls for real kept coming, sometimes for 20 times a day until my neighbor uncle answered once and threatened the caller. That was five years back and the pains of living alone.

If you were wondering if there really was a thief, then you know the answer. The demons were inside her head, not outside. I was busy conjuring images of non-existent people, dreaming of noises no one could hear in the night. I was not bored of living alone when V traveled extensively soon after we got married. I was scared of staying alone during the nights. I would catch up for all the lost sleep of the week in the daytime during the weekends, fresh to resume night duty for the following week. My sleeping under the cot saga was a standing joke at work. Things changed for the better when we moved to our apartment. The feeling that there were 100 other families in the same apartment complex and 3 other neighbors on the same floor gave a sense of security. I was still not brave enough to sleep with lights on. So I would leave the kitchen light on through the night even if it interfered with my sleep routine.

Five years later, I have not got any better. I am still scared of staying home alone during the nights. V's official engagements keeps him away for short durations but they also happen at a short notice. The 2000 sq. ft house does not help in any way in keeping my fear in check. More doors to be locked, balcony and terrace to be secured, quick dial on the cell phone ready, a torch handy and the adjoining room's light on sees me through the night. I consider it a good night if I managed to sleep for 3-4 hours. For me this is the tough part of staying alone. All the rest can be handled like shopping, paying bills etc etc - you know all that it takes to run the show. Maybe I will put up a brave front with LG growing up :)