While growing up, I have witnessed a steady traffic of strangers aka temporary residents in our house. These were the uncles and aunties who came and stayed with us for a couple of days, weeks, maybe months. Frankly, I never did like the unknown faces that lived in the house, ate with us, and laughed with us. Some of them were office colleagues who were trying to find temporary accommodation, some were distant relatives trying to find a new home or job in the city, and some were even more distant relatives who according to me had no business of staying with us. This is one thing about dad, that he never did turn down anyone, never told a no to anyone. Anyone and everyone was welcome to live with us.
More than two decades later, I don’t think I am doing anything different. First, I hosted 2 people who were interning here and happened to be my cousin’s friends. Then I am currently hosting a new student who is starting school, till she finds a place to call home. 3 years ago, someone hosted me, helped me get used to the ways of the new country, and made my adjustment a lesser bother. I try to do the same by hosting someone at my place every year. And what do I get out of it?
Company. Friends. Observing someone at close quarters, seeing how similar and how dissimilar our lives are. I get to talk about so many things, learn so many things from them. It is not quite as having a roommate, it is better. With a roommate, there is a compulsion of staying together, even though you want to tear your hair or beat your head against the wall every time you saw them. You don’t have to be diligent about taking turns cooking. There are no such rules per se. You can still lead your normal life and have temporary company at the end of the day.
So far, I have enjoyed temporarily hosting people at my place. Yes, there were times when I longed for my own space, longed to come home and not see anyone. But the fun of living with someone has outweighed my solitary life cravings. Maybe we all are lonely, and desperately seeking company in whatever form. Who knows?