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Living alone? Here are some survival mantras
Rashmi Ail |
October 20, 2005
Everybody loves the warmth of home and hearth. Sometimes, however, out of choice or compulsion, one has to leave the comfort zone. Better career prospects, study plans, etc, propel you to pack your bags and move to a new city.
The general tendency is to equate living alone with lots of freedom, late nights and a-devil-may-care attitude. Those who do a good job of living alone, though, are not the rudderless kind. They not only know what they want in life but are already on their way to getting it.
Taking the plunge
Shefali Jain, who hails from Jaipur, landed in the city of dreams, Mumbai, to study management and later secure a dream job. She has lived on her own for six years.
"I had to convince my parents to let me leave Jaipur and fend for myself. We were a group of five sharing a two bedroom-hall-kitchen apartment. Food was a major concern. For a month and a half, I survived on bread and butter till we discovered a decent place to have dinner on the way back from college," she says.
For model-singer-actress Suchitra Krishnamoorthy-Kapur walking out of home was an act of rebellion. She reveals," I had completely conflicting views from my parents regarding the way I lead my life and the career choices I made. I come from an academically inclined family, and my parents couldn't accept my entering showbiz. My parents kept threatening me -- either do as we say or get out of the house."
So Suchitra left home in the face of opposition, and took up a paying guest accommodation for two years. "I survived pretty well," she says.
Coping with difficulties
Suchitra shares some of her travails.
"I am petrified of cockroaches and I would sleep with a knife under my pillow. At home if a cockroach sneaks around, you can yell your lungs out and somebody is always there to come to your rescue. But when you are on your own, you jolly well fend for yourself," she says.
"When you are with your parents you take luxuries like a television set, phone, VCR for granted. Till you sleep on the bare floor you do not realise the value of a soft bed, a cushioned existence," she adds.
Passion for acting brought actress Sonali Kulkarni to Bombay. She candidly says, "Hunting for a decent accommodation took me all over Mumbai -- Vikhroli to Dadar, Vile Parle and Bandra. Though my relatives helped me out, I had to interact directly with the estate agents.
"The attitude of neighbours to a single girl living alone is not very encouraging or protective. They are curious. I could always see a few eyebrows raised. At times I would feel lonely, especially when I would see a friend's guy helping her out. But I hate playing the innocent, helpless, vulnerable girl.
"There are other hitches too. If you call for a plumber and he takes three days to fix things you get very irritated," she says.
Strong, smart, independent
According to Pankaj Rokde, a marketing executive in a reputed company, living alone forces you to do everything on your own -- washing utensils, sweeping, swabbing, replenishing the groceries, cooking.
"You learn how to make your salary last the entire month. For instance, you decide whether you should buy a Peter England shirt or an Allen Solly shirt, even if your pocket permits you to buy what you want," he says.
You don't go running to your family for every little thing. "Yes, at times when you are in a dilemma about what career choices you need to make, you do call your parents and talk things out, but the ultimate decision remains yours," says Pankaj.
Tips for living alone
~ VJ Yudi who's been there done that, shares his tips for househunting.
"You realise that everybody is not very nice, you learn to deal with landlord hassles and agent hassles. Be very clear when it comes to money matters. They have hidden messages and you are supposed to crack the code. When you are signing the deal, you need to have a clear picture about factors like the electricity, water supply, etc," he cautions.
~ It is very important to have good friends you can bounce things off. "I have friends who stay with their families and I have acquired family that way. If I fall sick, they send me homemade kichdi," says Yudi.
~ Actor Rajeev Khandelwal (the former Sujal in Kahiin To Hoga), who has lived on his own for the last 10 years, articulates the importance of doing things on your own. "There is nothing around the house I can not do -- be it cleaning, dusting, washing, ironing. I love cooking. Learn to do things yourself," he says.
~ Saving for a rainy day is very important. "If you have a regular source of income, it makes sense to save some for a rainy day, to tide you through rough weather. Money plays a very important role in life at the end of the day," says Rajeev.
~ Get your priorities right. "Never abuse your freedom. One can indulge in small pleasures as long as one has his priorities right. In my field of work, there are certain schedules I need to follow religiously. If I need to go to the gym tomorrow morning, I cannot drink myself silly tonight. One needs to know their limits," he says.
~ Actress Diya Mirza stresses the importance of safely. "Live in a safe locality with very good security systems and nice neighbours," she says.
~ VJ Yudi adds, "Don't leave your family for the heck of it. Your parents' home is a good place to be. Live alone for the right reasons, if it helps you grow as a person, for your career, for better prospects, not because you want to get away from family."
~ Planning is essential. There is the milkman, the newspaperman you will have to attend to, bills to be paid etc.
~ Never cut ties with your family or say bye to your past. Strengthen every relation and offer support in return.
~ Be strong. Don't run away from problems. Face them head on.
Planning to live alone? For all you know, you might surprise yourself and come face to face with a whole new transformed you. You'll discover facets to your personality you never knew existed. It's a great exercise in character building. Don't forget, though, it is also a lot of hard work.
Do you currently live alone?
Was is tough locating a house? How do you manage money every month? Are the neighbours nosy?
What advice do you have for those who are planning to live on their own?
The trials, the tribulations, the bouquets and the brickbats, we want to hear it all. Don't forget to mention your name, age and what you do for a living.