I shall never forget our visit to this house - it was a colleague of my husband's. She and her businessman husband lived in a large, comfortable house in one of the best addresses in town. I was prepared for some display of wealth and comfort and good taste but what I actually saw was something straight out of inside outside magazine or the television shows on good living.
Everything in the house stayed exactly in the place where it was meant to be, not a newspaper out of place. The sink was totally empty and dry. Did they not even drink water and leave glasses lying around on the table or the sink? And the bathroom? how can it be so fresh and dry? Did anyone ever use the bathrooms in the house or were you expected to wash and wipe it after every use? What about the dust from the roads? Was it also scared away from such perfection that it dared not enter this house?
I thought to myself- "well perhaps it is possible to keep a house like this if you didnt have children". Children have a beautiful way of bringing chaos into ones life and making you accept the inevitability of it. Just as i was thinking these thoughts, in walked two smartly dressed kids, 7 and 9, and wished us. They walked and talked and handled all the crystal and expensive crockery with so much poise and delicacy. And when they picked up something it went back exactly to the same place. They had obviously been trained since birth.

This was just too much - that they actually lived in this hell of super perfection. I wondered what it must be like for them to live with so much order and discipline. Would they grow up into order obsessed people who would crack up at the slight sign of disorder? Could they ever eat out without noticing all the dust and dirt or actually falling sick due to lack of resistance? Was it not the privelege of children to be disorderly, disobedient and messy? was it not an exposure necessary for a balanced personality development? Were the disorderly sides of these children repressed and would it manifest in violent ways somewhere totally unexpected?
Were the parents giving them a kind of life that Siddhartha, the prince enjoyed until his first exposure to all the ugly aspects of life. Would an encounter with reality be a great shock to them when and if it happens?
Anyways, I was very happy to get out of the house without dropping anything on the table or staining the napkin or spilling water around the wash basin although I must admit that I had a secret vicious desire to drop my plate on the ground and check for the reaction from the members of the house!Of course better sense prevailed butI have never been happier to return to the chaos of my life.
17 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    Haven't you heard "In Order lives Chaos and in Chaos lives order".Well! It is better to have disorder outside of us and live orderly in the head than otherwise. Cheers to the orderly souls.

  2. Ram Says:

    A "functional level of disorder" is what converts a house into a home. Slavish adherence to tidiness makes for sullen living for adults & a denial of the divine right to innocence to children.

    Fundoo post!!

  3. Bhavesh Says:

    my first time here... and nice post..!!

  4. hari Says:

    Hi Usha,

    The world of orderliness, perfection and discipline is also very much a world of reality, only that a majority of us feel to be more of a life in a prison.

    My dad was a similar kind of personality and I belong to the not so orderly majority I mentioned above, so much so that sometimes I felt, whether I really was born in this family.

  5. Mahadevan Says:

    I fully share your sentiments. I feel perfectionists are misfits in this world. Their tolerance level is low and expectations high. Children brought up in immaculately clearn atmosphere would find it difficult to adjust to the chaos in college hostels,particularly IITs. My being inherently imperfect could also be the reason for keeping my distance from perfectionists.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Being irregular, irresponsible, reckless is very important.. (i dont say that should be ur nature, but a "negative" ingredient is a must).. I just cant survive under the hoods of perfectionism or formalities... :)

    My irregular eat-anything-so-long-as-it-is-edible eating habits once came to my rescue when i had to survive on hardly anything, caught alone during a city bandh with no shops or hotels open...

  7. Shashi Iyer Says:

    haha. nice one

  8. Dubukku Says:

    hmmm ippiyellaam sutham engalukku ahave aahathuppa.. :)

    Me and My wife agree that too much cleanliness is something alergic for us :))

  9. Blogeswari Says:

    My 18 year old niece from Delhi tells me that in one of her Punju friends' place, the kids (16-18 year olds )are not allowed to enter the hall that has expensive arty items, crystal wear,leather sofa etc. the kids enter their respective rooms through a different entrance... wonder what the parents do.. enter from the roof.. like burglars?

  10. Usha Says:

    Shalini: yes, indeed.

    Ram: Yes, you said it - a functional level of disorder - that's the word.

    Justme: welcome and thanks.

    Hari: I am surprised that you managed to preserve your disorderliness in spite of being brought up with so much stress on order. Bravo!

    Mahadevan: It is nice to see a neat and clean home but i think once in a way, it is good to go off theroutine and experience a bit of disorder as a reality check.

    Kishore: so disorder is an essential survival mechanism too!

    shashi: Thank you - I bet you are happy and feel justified with all the chaos in the room that amma must be complaining about!

    Dubukkku: rendu perum othu pona sari. Othar obsesssive irundada probleme..

    Blogeshwari: Love that name. person named to blog!
    I know, what is the big idea having sucha nice room, if members of the house can't use it!

  11. Visithra Says:

    oh ure so like me - home to me has to be lived in not a house - thats picture perfect - maybe they dont read newspapers ;p hehehe

  12. Raj Says:

    First time here. You have a great blog and a lovely, natural style.

  13. Paavai Says:

    kalaichu podalenna veetukku enna artham - I dont belive in converting a house into an art gallery - it happens when people confuse cleanliness in homes with excessive orderliness, you shud have dropped the glass and messed up the carpet and I can imagine them spending thousands or rupees on a psychiatrist's couch - lol

  14. Usha Says:

    Visithra: Oh, I feel suffocated in houses that demand that kind of order.

    Raj: Thank you.

    Paavai: I know. Home is meant to be lived in right? not kept as a show piece. I know, rendu plate ai keezhe potu, konjam bathroom le thanni kotti ellam panni irukalam. anaal, as you say, they may have ended up in the couch!!!

  15. Pradeep Nair Says:

    It's the middle order that is the right order. And, not so many get that level so well.

  16. Hello
    my first time here. good blog.
    i so agree with you. I get sort of claustrophobic in such places. I need to be in a place where i can drop stuff.
    i would suffocate in orderly places.

  17. WhatsInAName Says:

    I think they need a therapy to come out of it. Maybe they should visit my house!