Sunday, May 30, 2010


I had been raised from childhood in a house where the doors of the house only close at night when all members go to sleep. After my marriage, when I moved in with my in-laws, the same practice was followed. This is a general practice in India. Hence everyone who passes by the house greets you; else the doorbell keeps you occupied.
The newspaper boy or the milkman is the first person who wakes us up ringing the door bell and greets every Indian household in the morning. They are the substitute alarm clocks in many households. He is followed by the maid who generally comes twice every day and the washerwoman who comes to collect clothes. Next visitor is the auto guy who picks up school kids and drops them back in the afternoon safely.

Around midday, the second stream of visitors starts visiting every house. They generally are the vegetable seller, the fruit seller not necessarily in that order. Varieties of salesmen, the donation guys, knife-sharpeners, etc fill up the entire day. Few minutes of chatting with each of the above also gives us all information of the town and any exciting events happening in the neighbourhood and a peep into their lives. This excludes all our friends, local relatives, neighbours who also drop by usually without appointment and are welcomed heartily to even join the family meals.

Only after I moved to Miri, I realized the value of all these people who had filled up my forty year old life. My doorbell never rings and I have to keep my door closed as is the custom here. My mobile is my new alarm clock and also my dear friend as it is my daily reminder to organize my daily chores. I play all roles in one here as I am the vegetable buyer, fruit buyer, and milkman plus newspaper boy. I buy milk, vegetables, fruits, newspaper from the super market when I need it. I am the amah and the washerwoman of the house as I do all my household chores. I am the auto lady here as I drop my husband and my daughter to office and school and pick them back every day. So I am deprived of all latest updates in my neighbourhood.
I participate in fund-raising bazaars to raise donations for various causes as no donation guys ring my bell. I do not have any relatives here and do not know my neighbours well as their doors are always closed. I only get to meet them once a while in the parking lot if coincidentally we are parking cars around the same time. The friends who visit me only drop by appointment.
I remember every friend I made in Miri as I had to join various clubs or activities to make friends here such as the book club, library, cooking club, activities such as aqua –aerobics etc. Everybody commutes by air conditioned cars so there isn’t any passerby whom I can smile at even if I sit in the balcony for hours.
This is my second year in Miri and I am still trying to get adjusted to the new silence in my life. But thanks to Miri, I never knew I could single-handedly manage so many roles in one so confidently. Every minute of my life as I am continuously changing garbs to don one role after another.

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