One such moment, I was lying on my bed, my eyes set upon the ceiling where I saw the complex weavings of a huge spider web supporting a reasonably large spider family. I'm not arachnophobic but I know too well the story of Spiderman and his coming into being. For lack of desire to serve humanity or even a Mary Jane I decided that I could not take chances with freakish radioactive accident and that was when I decided that time had come to finally clean my room. For anyone living alone in a hostel that's a monumental decision, like pressing the red button or popping up the question with consequences as dire. But determination to do worthless things is one quality I have abundant supplies of which when fuelled by the unbeatable enthusiasm to pull off the strangest of acts becomes an unstoppable force. Meaning to say, I motivated myself to do it.
The first and foremost problem was I had no broom. The bigger problem was asking around for a broom from my wingmates. Soon amused cries like 'NCJ (that's the name I go by) is cleaning his room!' and 'See pick(underscore)nik (normally it's your name that go into your yahoo ID, for me it is the other way round-drawbacks of being too innovative) has a broom in his hand!' could be heard across the hall. I tried explaining in vain that it was not a Gudi Padwa ritual and my decision and the auspiciousness of the day was a mere coincidence. At this point of time I must add that our hostel has provided us with the facility of housekeepers who clean up the rooms every week, and do a good job I must say. But I have been ignoring their services, at first with the thought that my room didn't look that untidy and later thinking that those people would curse me if I let them enter my room. Just a few weeks back one of the housekeepers had asked me to get my fan cleaned regularly to avoid trouble; I had aksed him to clean it as I noticed a considerable loss in speed due to the added weight. I wasn't taking any chances after that.
So I took out everything form the comfortable dumping sites I had tucked things into. Right from the huge monitor carton stacked on the top of the cupboard, the unused travel bag with all my old clothes, the huge pile of newspapers and magazines and old notebooks stashed beneath my bed and the numerous paper bags and plastic bags stuffed with stuff form the neanderthal age. Had I not changed my room two years ago, I would have found out some dinosaur eggs too but I left that age in my earlier room. For about two hours, I took out everything and expressed amazement at each of my finds. Snippets--
- A dinner coupon dating back two years.
- A single shoe one of which was stolen in train by I presume a one legged beggar.
- Some 3-4 nailclippers, 25-30 pens none of which worked of course.
- 2 walkmans of no use sadly in this iPod age.
- A huge stack of my freshie time audio cassettes with Blur, INXS, Oasis, Coldplay, Pearl Jam, Deep Purple etc. adorning the covers which reminded me of the days gone by and simpler choices.
- My skateboard covered by newspapers and notebooks.
- 2 tennis balls, 1 TT ball, a leather ball, 2 pairs of football socks, 2 shin guards.
- A miniature bicylce pump, of all things in the world.
- My original certificates which I feared lost.
- A keyboard, an 80 GB HDD, 2 power cords (how the heck did these things come in?)
- Receipts form probably all the monetary transactions I have ever undertaken, including ATM slips indicating all the highs and lows of my bank account.
- Adaptor for a car stereo system, something I wanted to chuck into the Powai lake.
Apart from these there were used tubes of probably all toothpastes I have ever used, cover packings of all the soap that I ever came across and whole lot of cobweb and dirt. I was feeling sick towards the end, being allergic to dirt. But then I am still to come across a perosn who isn't, someone who smears dirt all over his face and says out loud 'I'm loving it'. The dustbin, which is a reasonably large one was overflowing courtesy my hard work.
Not satisfied by all this, I decided to go one notch higher. I took out an old brush and decided to clean my sneakers -- a pair of shoes Reebok would disown if it chanced to see it prior to the wash. Not only that, I took all my football jerseys, fresh from the humbling defeat in the finals, for an elaborate wash. All this at about 10pm in the night. The bathroom that had the misfortune of being witness to this frantic action turned brown from a clear white shade. I myself was amazed to find the amount of dirt a pair of football socks can absorb or the colour change that even a simple water wash can effect on a jersey. It was a great learning experience albeit a very demanding one.
After all this hard work I finally came out clean. And I hope the room cleaners won't have any snide remarks to pass once I open my doors to their service this Sunday. Now, I am eagerly looking for a new mission to undertake.