Why is the room of a teenager so sacred? Why do teenagers bar their parents, especially mothers, from entering their rooms? And last, why are the rooms so untidy? My son’s preference for his lonely room over the living room has often baffled me.
I was banished from his room around three years ago—the only time I enter is when the room is cleaned, all of 10 minutes six days a week (he refuses to allow our domestic help to enter his room on Sundays). I generally turn a blind eye to the clutter—books, the heap of clothes (all varieties—dirty, torn, washed and ironed), gadgets, loose papers ranging from question papers and school circulars to marked assignments, socks, shoes, CDs, DVDs, wet towels, hangers etc—on the floor, below the bed, on the bed and on the study table. I avoid the helper’s eye as we pick our way through the minefield; her reaction ranges from shock to astonishment that a person can own so many nice things and yet treat them with such scant respect. The cabinet which I had bought for him in the fond hope that he would arrange his favorite books and possessions in it in an orderly fashion is almost empty—its contents are strewn all over the place.
Of course, I tried reasoning with him, a place for everything and everything in its place, I pontificated trying to drive home the advantages of being organized. My son retaliated by saying that he knew where everything was. I challenged him to a test by listing out five of his more obscure possessions which he needed to find immediately. When he came up with four of them, I decided to beat a strategic retreat hoping for more appropriate occasions when I could convince him to clean up.
The opportunity arose sooner than expected. On New Year 2013, my house owner called and dropped a bombshell asking us to vacate. As I got busy scanning online ads and interacting with deceitful house agents that sent me on a wild goose chase to houses which were neither suitable nor within my budget, I could see my son growing more and more worried. I attributed it to the impending move and the chaos it would create and decided to ignore it temporarily. Finally, a house was found, the advance paid and I faced the task of packing up everything in the house. Hiring packers and movers was not an option and I managed the daunting task alone. I dumped four large cartons in my son’s room and told him, rather gleefully, that I would not be able to pack up for him as I was banned from his room!