I am an INDIAN ADULT – 23 years old and living away from my parents in Gurgaon. If you know anything about a middle-class family in India, then I am pretty sure you might be knowing how protective parents are of their kids.
Many big decisions of my life were taken by my parents and trust me I cannot thank them enough for making sure I do not falter into becoming an anti-social element. When I became a teenager, I saw my younger cousins being sent to a boarding school. No, it was not a punishment but just a decision that my uncle took saying every kid needs to stay on their own for some time to learn things that life teaches. It sounded like a weird thing to listen to as a reason back then.
Indian parents often scare their kids by telling them they’ll be sent to a boarding school if they act naughty or something. I was terrified of the idea of being sent away from my parents, cousins and friends to a totally different place. But that ideology changed when I grew up and entered college. My college was hardly 27 KM away from my home in Noida and hence going to college from home and coming back there seemed like the obvious idea.
As I grew up, I always wondered what it would be like to stay away from home – alone, on our own with all the freedom. The idea seemed extremely appealing.
Last year, in 2015, I finally decided to move out of my house in Noida to live on my own and to see how things will turn out. No, I was not living alone. I couldn’t afford to live alone in a city like Gurgaon. That place is fucking costly. A plate of shitty momos costs fucking Rs. 80. In Noida, you can get that for Rs. 40. But guess what, I was ready to face the challenge of living alone or so I thought I was.
Moving out – Step 1
This was the plan:
- Share a flat with Deepak (best friend & brother)
- Cook food on our own
- Save money on a monthly basis to buy things later on or just to save
The first month went on pretty easy. We had a fully furnished 1 BHK flat in DLF Phase 3 which was quite spacious. All the basic amenities like an AC, power backup, water heater etc. were already there and Deepak’s mom made sure we didn’t run out of any utensils. We had more utensils than we needed. That made our lives easier as we both were lazy when it came to washing dishes.
My plan of cooking food failed quite miserably. We were both tempted to use up all our unused email IDs, phone numbers, coupons, tricks to order food for both of us in under Rs. 100 from restaurants. It was awesome!
Not for long, though.
After a month, we both ran out of coupons, phone numbers for new accounts and all that stuff. Shit hit the fan and we realized we’re done. I tried getting back to the idea of cooking and eating but we were both lazy.
We saw an extra cost of spending on food in addition to rent, electricity bills and internet bills.
What did I learn?
Lesson 1: My parents were right. Always.
This was when I realized that all those times when my parents were warning me about “aate daal ka bhaav” and I was just ignoring them thinking they are just scaring me were actually true.
I was actually finding it hard to manage my expenses! Money was coming in but at the same time it was going out of my account and I had no idea where. It was fucking scary. It still is and it kills me to think how the heck will I be able to save money.
Lesson 2: Respect for my parents grew exponentially.
This was the time when I had to kill my desires to save money.
Want to have those amazing burgers at Dunkin Donus? No, fuck you. You have to save money. Oh, you want that amazing shirt you saw at the mall yesterday? LOL tough luck you gotta pay rent tomorrow. Is it hot? You want to turn on the AC? Well, bad luck man, electricity bills will kill you. Better let that sweat cool you down boy.
This made me realize what my parents had to go through to be able to buy me things. To send me to college with such high fees. I have no idea how to thank my parents.
Lesson 3: Saving money is important.
It was just 3 months since I was living in Gurgaon and a big tragedy came upon me which made me realize why you need to save as much money as possible. That is, to be able to utilize it in such situations.
Lesson 4: A good roommate is a bliss!
Having Deepak as a roommate is awesome. He is one of the most modest and helpful people I know and when things went south for me, he was always there to help me in anyway I asked him to.
Lesson 5: Discipline is necessary. I have to have a routine.
Living alone meant total freedom. Freedom to stay out for as long as you want, freedom to stay up for as long as you want and freedom to sleep for as long as you want.
But guess what? Not following a proper routine will screw you over. There was a time when I used to sleep at 6 in the morning and wake up at 2 in the afternoon. This not only screwed my sleep cycle, but also my metabolism. I was eating at whatever times I wanted to eat. Sometimes just one meal a day and that too from hotels & restaurants. This is bad and I still need to fix this.
Lesson 6: Eating outside doesn’t seem that appealing.
It obviously doesn’t when you have to eat outside all the time. Even the restaurants knew for whom the order is for when we ordered. Once in a while the delivery would be late and we would call up the restaurant and all they would need to know is the block we were living in and they knew it was US i.e. their faithful and lazy customers.
It’s almost embarrassing.
Lesson 7: Prepare for your future.
I am planning to live ALONE soon. All alone without a roommate. I am not doing this because I have any problems with Deepak. In fact, I was kinda afraid that our friendship would falter because of some differences. But I am proud to say he is an amazing roommate. Helped me when I ran out of money and did the dishes and chores when I fell ill or someone else just ignored those chores. He is awesome.
I want to live alone because I want to test myself further. If I can live on my own or not. That is how I want to prepare for my future to be a better person.
I really have no idea. But I welcome whatever is coming and I would gladly learn new lessons on the way.