Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The messy room chronicles

Whosever room this is should be ashamed!
His underwear is hanging on the lamp.
His raincoat is there in the overstuffed chair,
And the chair is becoming quite mucky and damp.
His workbook is wedged in the window,
His sweater's been thrown on the floor.
His scarf and one ski are beneath the TV,
And his pants have been carelessly hung on the door.
His books are all jammed in the closet,
His vest has been left in the hall.
A lizard named Ed is asleep in his bed,
And his smelly old sock has been stuck to the wall.
Whosever room this is should be ashamed!
Donald or Robert or Willie or--
Huh? You say it's mine? Oh, dear,
I knew it looked familiar!
                                                 -Messy Room by Shel Silverstein

Oh, doesn't it sound very familiar to me too!

I had gone for a walk. On coming back, I found that the lights in my room were on and the door was open! I panicked and ran to see who it was. I hoped to be able to prevent them on time. What was I worried about? Did I have a lot of precious valuables in there? No. Did I have solid proof of some clandestine love affair in there? No. Then what was it - after all no thief can enter a university campus in broad daylight. 

It was simple. My room is better off not bring shown to people. Did I love the place? Oh yes! Was I embarrassed by it? Oh yes again. 

For some reason, some of us tend to over-emphasize the idea of tidiness and for some weird reason, somewhere we tend to get bungled up between tidiness and hygiene. After trying so hard to get organized, I have started wondering what really was wrong in the first place with being a bit otherwise.  

In my opinion, an an opinion formed after years of thought on this, I have come to believe that every one of us have only a limited amount of energy each day to expend. And we set our priorities on what to expend them. Actually we don't - our innate nature decides that. 

After several hours of mindless existence in college, the last thing I want to do after coming back is wash clothes or set the room. To me, these are simply more mindless activities to be added to my day. I see nothing immensely productive about them, excepting perhaps that the room has more space to walk or sit in and this, you see, is not exactly an idea of a motivating gratification for me. Even if the whole floor is occupied with an assortment of clothes, bags, pens, hangers, plates and books, all I need to do is push enough stuff apart so as to make free a 1x1m space, sit there with my laptop and start reading. 

I get so absorbed in the activities I do that I really do not notice the environmental chaos. That is the way my brain works. Maybe that is not the way yours does. Maybe you cannot even go past a page without your eye getting fixated on that one flask that is not supposed to be in that table in that angle or get acutely distressed to the point of having a migraine on seeing clutter in the cupboard. 

Maybe you enjoy cleaning - you feel zen in the art of folding clothes or feel immensely accomplished after sweeping the room for the fifth time in a week. That is your gratification and I am okay with it - I promise not to call you a freak or OCD. Yet, you have to promise me too - that the next time you step into a room synonymous with junkyard, you will not think the person has some psychotic problem but simply accept that their energies are consumed by something else.

Despite it all, I still try - at least to have enough space to be able to let people walk in or find a place to seat guests. Yet, I am coming to understand that it is never going to be my biggest natural gift. Someday, I might finally learn to just scrape through.

Till then, I simply need to remember to lock the room when I step out. 


Arumugam said...

Ha ha..wish I had a webcam,I am in that 1x1m right now , and in the background you'd see scenic mountain ridges,only thing,they are man-made:D Ok,its not THAT bad:-)

I'd stuck a Bio hazard sign on my door during my teen yrs:-)

Einstein had worked in a dreary clerical job,while developing his relativity theories,so there!

Sinduja said...

@Arumugam: Ha ha... mountain ridges? :D Heights of exaggeration I say! But glad to see you in the same court. Glad to see Einstein too here. Only, my mom would say "its okay for a GUY to be that way but look at you!" Sigh!

Anonymous said...

May be the 'innate nature' is craving for a tidy room..who knows!! back to your trademark old ways huh!!..sindu ji..why does it always have to be about 'justifying' thoughts??


I'm driving around in my car
I'm driving too fast, I'm driving too far
I'd like to change my point of view
I feel so lonely, I'm waiting for you
But nothing ever happens and I wonder

I wonder how, I wonder why
Yesterday you told me 'bout the blue, blue sky
And all that I can see is just a yellow lemon tree
I'm turning my head up and down
I'm turning, turning, turning, turning, turning around
And all that I can see is just another lemon tree

- Lemon Tree by Fool's Garden

CHIBI said...

As i see it, messy room helps improving our lives...for example, wen lose my phone under a pile of clothes, then when it rings,i search for it frantically, only to pick up the call without judging, if to answer it or not.. mostly a call, i would not have answered if i had the phone in my proper place.

clutter also helps us sharpen our memory.. makes us backtrack things we did the previous days and gives us clue to where we put the stuffs, a game of puzzle in itself..

not to mention, the greatest sense of achievement in cleaning the room after a long never get it with a ever clean room..!

I also have a theory that people who maintain a neat and clean room as good as a museum are prone to serial killing and psychotic problems, cos they can't let stuff be the way it has to be.. eventually they try to keep it proper in any way possible.. ( I'm kidding, but who knows, i may be right)

before i finish my extra long comment, i am curious to know, why was your room open with lights on,who got in,or you had just left it that way and forgot ?? :P :P

Sinduja said...

@Vidhul: Hah, interesting. Hmmm...maybe my 'innate' nature wants a clean room? Hmm..sometimes even I feel that you know. Justifying thoughts gives closure and subsequent clarity at times...but it also misleads and restricts at times. Lost in translation.

@Chibi: Bang onn - the great sense of achievement on cleaning it after a long time! Yes! I love it - but what about the anxiety at other times; is it worth it? I wonder.

You theory on serial killers - lol. Ha ha.. couldn't help laughing on that one but one thing I do know is serial killers need to be as neat and clean as possible so as to live little marks or trails.

By the way, someone noticed that part - ah! Well, it was the attendant who went in along with my neighbor to check if the windows were working well. Huh? Has that woman never heard of manners?

CHIBI said...

well, even though we all might have messy rooms, i dont think it would be so bad that even rats are afraid to enter it, and we do clean it occasionally, so bit of anxiety is all good.

they went in to check if windows were working? that's one of the lame reasons to enter someone's room without permission.. maybe your neighbor tagged along to see if you had any "solid proof of clandestine love affair" :P LOL..!

Indumathy Sukanya said...

the guy who wrote that poem deserves a hug! :D

My room always resembles a tsunami-stricken slum, n not a day passes without the wardens or some clean-freak passer by passing some comment or making a face about it!

Heh, whatever...somehow im not allergic to dust or dirt or any of that, so im okay with them judging me! :D

Christina Yang has a messy other room mates are equally messy. so im not alone! :P

Anonymous said...

LOL. You bunch of justifiers (Chibi) included. I guess that Vidhul got it right - self-justifying (or is it to someone else?. Trying to justify one's actions is a symptom of guilt. :)


Anonymous said...

See? Now you're setting a bad example, for other justifiers. :P


Sinduja said...

@Indumathy: Seriously. It is high time we give up trying to fix the issue and make a toast for ourselves!!

@V: Aren't we always trying to analyze our actions? Without analysis, there will be no growth. I have had my share of analysis where the output was "Change now, Sinduja!" but this is one of those that says "It is okay, chill". So, yeah, why not? :D

Priya Gopinath said...

MY room/house is not a tourist place to be in some in some order to impress the visitor.If I can get thru the my days goes on.Friends and family who cant do the way I do in my place comment on it or force a simple special law!!!

May be i'm justifying myself jus Bcos i'm not able to be like them!!! Cofusedddd Sindu!!

Sinduja said...

@Priya: You and mess? Surprising. :)

Why does the concept of being okay with a messy room sound to everyone as justification? because somewhere we know that it is primarily a bad thing to be doing? No! It is not!