August 26, 2008
At school, college and now at my home, people come to my room and wonder, “How neatly you have arranged the room!” I used to take pride in these exclamations, until I found out the disadvantages of it. At college, in our boarding, there were three of us in a room. We had our own shelves, beds and racks. As I said, I always kept my rack neat and tidy. There were separate columns for text books, note books, files and other paraphernalia. I kept my dresses on the racks, with separate columns for civil dresses and college/school uniforms/dresses. I prided myself in the “Oh! How neat!” exclamations of my colleagues.
My room mate, Seena was just the opposite. Her books used to be on her bed, below her cot and in her dress rack. Her dress rack was one whole pile of everything, uniforms, civil dresses, socks and towels! Sometimes her files turned open with papers from it flying around our room. Now I feel the fun of running behind the papers, while I used to feel very angry with her at those times. I used to ask her to keep things neat, but she never bothered to do so. I sometimes tidied her shelves myself, but it was of no use. Within two days, the shelf will be looking like a place after a storm. Even with this difference between us, we were good friends, and went along very well, although I used to complain to her of her disorderliness.
But one morning all my pride in my neatness dried up. The story goes like this:
We were asked to submit our semester’s bus fee bill, to get the free bus identity cards for us. Students with the identity card could use the bus service provided by the college. As soon as the notice was read in our class, Seena started panicking. She doesn’t remember where she has kept her bus fee bill. I scolded her for being so careless about the bill, and internally prided myself in keeping all the bills in one of the files. That night I found Seena busy searching her bill. I went to my book shelf, opened the file of bills and started looking for my bill. To my surprise, the bill I was looking for was not in the file! I didn’t know what to do or where to search, for I never kept my things out of place. But still, I searched my bags, my purse and everything I could. It was nowhere to be found. By this time, Seena has dug out her bill form her dress rack and came up with that to me. I told her about my missing bill, and she helped in searching it, but without success. I had to pay Rupees 25 for a duplicate of the bill the next day, to get my bus permit.
After this incident, I started observing Seena more. When someone came to her for her books, she would reply, “It will be on my book shelf, you can take it.”
The person won’t find her book there, and will say so to her. Seena will think for a while, and then answer, “Ok, can you please look in my dress rack, under the blue file near the white CD?”
The person will find it there.
But in my case, if someone asked me my text book, and if it was not on the bookshelf column of text books, then that meant trouble to me. I had no other places to look for, even if I must have misplaced it somewhere. And I hated searching for anything, because searching meant throwing all the articles out of their place!
So what is better: to be neat and tidy and ordered or to be orderly disordered?