x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Desi girl: Waltzing around the house with Windex? That's not my style

I like to think that the mess in my house is evidence of a life filled with activity.

Let’s be honest here: it’s no secret that I’m not a neat freak. Someone once gifted me a fridge magnet with the saying: “I just cleaned the house yesterday. You missed it!”

Regardless of when you decide to drop by for a surprise visit, you’re going to witness – for lack of a better way to put it – an “organised mess”. Despite the best of intentions, my surroundings have a tendency to morph into this state. It just happens. It starts with a small “I think I’ll put these bags away in an hour” and culminates in a gargantuan landslide of possessions.

I like to think that the mess is evidence of a life filled with activity. I cook every day – sometimes even twice a day – which explains the state of my kitchen. I always have a couple of projects going on around the house, so either my sewing machine is out on the bedroom floor with fabric strewn all around or the guest room floor is covered with bits of some new costume prop that I’m constructing. In my head, time spent cleaning is better spent creating.

The honest-to-goodness truth is that I’m a little lazy. After a long day at work, I’d rather put my feet up on the coffee table and watch sitcom reruns than waltz around the house with Windex.

Every once in a while though, I look around and find myself on the brink of a nervous breakdown: mountains of multicoloured fabric, strewn on the bedroom floor where I started making that new outfit last weekend but stopped halfway through, because I got distracted by the magazines with dog-eared pages that I intended to throw out, once I clipped the inspiring pictures. Which of course didn’t get done because I wanted to experiment with some new make-up I had bought, all of which is currently spread out on the bathroom counter. I try to escape to the kitchen to find some sanity, but what I find instead is bag after bag of props from a food-styling job I finished recently. I had told myself that I’ll put them away in a few minutes – three weeks ago.

Definitely aneurysm-inducing. But this alone is not enough to drive me to take charge of the situation at hand. I always need that final push that has proved to be the single best way to motivate myself to clear up the mess: I go to YouTube and type “hoarders”. I randomly click play on any video from the hundreds that pop up. It works like a charm every time.

The sight of people nearly buried alive in their possessions sends me into panic mode. The fear of being consumed by my own belongings (or of not being able to find that lipstick when I need it) gets me cleaning and organising like a mad woman.

I work tirelessly for the next several hours and I can’t tell you what a relief it is at the end of it all. I go from room to room, eyes wide with amazement (so that’s what colour the floor is).

And then I pick up my phone and start dialling. Because now is the perfect time to host a dinner party. Better call some people over before the house returns to its natural state of order, which – in my case – is -extreme disorder.

Ujala Ali Khan lives in Dubai and loves all things desi

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