A popular story that Pinky tells people is about how I “maintained” our house while she was away doing her MBA. She talks about how I used to tell her that I had maintained the house “as it was”, and my “as it was” meant that I even left the dust where it was.
When Pinky returned for her term break, she was mostly horrified by what she saw, with the wardrobes full of dust, and parts of the house that can’t easily be seen hardly be clean. The house was anything but “Pinky clean” she said, and then spent a day or two bringing it back to the state where she had left it.
Since childhood, Pinky has had an obsession with tidying things up. She says she frequently threw her sister out of their shared room because the latter wouldn’t maintain the room to Pinky’s satisfaction. Pinky also got into trouble with her parents for throwing away stuff that wasn’t being used in one of her tidying attempts.
It wasn’t long before she brought this tidying obsession to our house. I remember this time when I’d returned from an outstation trip, and Pinky was so horrified to see the state of my house (this was before she had moved in) that she spent an entire Saturday cleaning it, only to be saddled with a bad cold at the end of it since the house had been so dirty.
If you’d seen my house any time during 2010, when I was living alone, and then again sometime in 2011, you would have noticed a massive difference. Of course we’d got lots of better furniture after we got married (that deserves a post of its own), but the importance difference was how tidy the house was now.
Everything had its own place now. The kitchen was logically organised. Wardrobes would be cleaned every couple of months after “inventory checks”, where clothes that weren’t being used would get discarded. You wouldn’t find anything lying around the house.
It wasn’t long before Pinky’s penchant for tidying got to me as well, and (I thought) I got obsessed with tidying as well. I started going mental every time I saw things not in their place, or lying around, and would tidy up stuff before I got to any work of my own. I stopped throwing things around in random places. I started making an effort to at least maintain the house the way Pinky had left it, though that turned out to be grossly inadequate when she was gone for a long period of time.
Sometime last year I’d gifted her a copy of Marie Kondo’s Spark Joy. The book was supposed to be revolutionary in terms of its prescriptions on tidying up houses. Pinky glanced through it once, and dismissed it all as “obvious stuff”. She obviously knows her tidying!
PS: The title is a pun on Marie Kondo’s technique, which is known as “konmari” and the Kannada word for a baby he-buffalo, which is normally used as an abuse towards children.