Living in India automatically rules out much time alone at home: domestic helpers, a parade of vendors all day long, and a culture which encourages casual visitors who drop in without notice and serious guests who come to S-T-A-Y. Home Alone just doesn’t happen.

In our house, that goes double.

It has been, seriously and truthfully, at least fifteen years since I have been alone in my own house. Mummy, now nearly 97, almost never goes out – and when she does, it’s with me. Likewise, Moy Moy, 23, except for her daily trips to college, goes out only if I take her.

I adore my family. I love my friends. I cannot do without our amazing staff.

But OH! Just for once to be alone in my own home! What a gift that would be.

Empty Chair in an Empty Room

So I work around my reality. I stay up very late because everyone else in the house goes to bed early. After 11, the house is mine. I play music. I pour a glass of wine. I do my writing and I think my thoughts.

And every now and then, very, very rarely, the house empties out.

Sort of.

Last Sunday, the whole family was invited out for breakfast. As we couldn’t all fit into the car anyway, I decided to stay at home with Moy Moy. Bimla, our helper, was also at home.

Middle class Indian family in street, laughing, some making as if to leave

But everyone else (everyone else!) went off.

Indian family lined up on street, laughing, some making as if to leave

I stayed home. Alone.

HAHAHA. Whatever that means.

Bimla, of course, was also there, though she is as quiet as a mouse. Moy Moy, of course, was also there, though she was sweet enough to sleep in a little.

Long enough for me to have breakfast alone.

Table and chairs; one place set at the table

Breakfast alone. A table set for only one person! When was the last time that happened? Who cares what the meal was? An apple. A cup of coffee. A slice of bread.

I see a book on the table. A book! I see a book. Imagine reading a book while eating breakfast.

Needless to say, it didn’t last long. Moy Moy woke up. The gang came home. But I drank that one cup of coffee all by myself. I read six pages of my book.

I read six pages of my book.

Showing 7 comments
  • Downs Side Up

    I have popped over to say hello from the UK, from your lovely comment on my blog. My heart leapt when I saw your wonderful site and the work you do. I too stay up later that is good for me just to get that alone time, and to delight in writing for others and to change the world just a little bit.
    I am so pleased to meet you and your family and will be a blog reader from now on.

  • nayamat bawa

    dear jo,
    my husband suspects me of being a stalker….. i have been hooked to your blog space dis whole weekend. i can just so easily relate to all that you write and all pics make it even more magical!!!

  • Sahu

    You’re inimitable, Jo. Dear Lord. After creating the kaleidoscopic you, the good, dear Lord might just have taken a sabbatical, not just a Sabbath.

  • charu

    Even I love this ‘me time…’ but we in India, are conditioned to hide our feelings of personal needs.
    I love to read all that you write since it resonates with me so much!

pingbacks / trackbacks

Leave a Comment