Disclaimer: This story isn’t for the faint-hearted. All characters and places are intentionally not coincidental. It is a longgggggg story, so grab a cuppa and make yourself comfortable before you read on.
September 2017, Delhi
The blue sky was suddenly hijacked by dark grey monsters, engulfing whatever and whomsoever came in their stride. At first, I thought the city was welcoming us with a sudden downpour as the train neared the railway station, but, I was wrong. ‘Welcome to Delhi’, said Rahul, a friend of my husband and seemed melancholic while saying that it has been one of the worst days of air pollution in Delhi!
Having stayed in a place that boasts of the purest oxygen possible nearby to the Himalayas for close to 18 months, we found the quality of Delhi air – pathetic and dangerous. The worst was yet to come. Our home in Dwarka, supposedly one of the biggest suburban cities in Asia, looked fanciful in a gated community but choked us from inside – out, thanks to the indoor air pollution as well. I am allergic to the paints, many of which have high levels of lead and may also release formaldehyde that are top culprits of indoor pollution. Thus, we refrained from getting the home painted. Also, we could not afford to take time out from the workplace for getting the house painted.
The house looked dull owing to an old coat of paint, with views just of concrete houses but we added some colour by creating our own patch of greenery in the balconies. We bought loads of indoor plants like Dracaena, Spider Plant, Money Plant, Philodendron et al, which help in purifying the air, indoors. Because Clean Air implies Beautiful Homes!
There was dust everywhere and anywhere and a person like me who supposedly suffers from an OCD, literally was choking to death.
Of course, I resorted to dusting the home on daily basis, washed the curtains every three months, never allowed soil waste to pile up, puddles of stagnant water was a no-no, brushed away the suspended particles that used to seek abode on walls, doors, windows and any flat surface you name! Still….aargh….still… there was always a thin layer of dust on everything.
Battering and tiredness during the weekdays due to work pressure paved the way for vigorous dusting and cleaning on weekends and this became a routine.
One fine morning on a day off from work, with a hot cup of Narasus filter coffee and home-baked Marble cake, I was watching documentaries on YouTube. That is when I chanced upon an advertisement.
I jumped out of comfort, made a telephonic call to my husband and informed that we can indeed brighten up our lives. Before he could dance with joy, I reassured him that this was about brightening up ‘Our Home’ and not the ‘workplace’. With a straight face, I affirmed that nothing much can be done in the workplace to relieve of bosses who are as pesky as pests! :p
I also informed him that I shall grab all the information on the Asian Paints website and we could discuss it upon his return from the office.
Feeling good about a neat solution to these demons of dust and indoor pollution and that which did not release any formaldehyde, I went back to sipping my coffee and recollected how agonized was I by THEM…..who ruined my health, my sleep, and my peace.I wish I had a solution to vanquish THEM as there is a solution to kill THESE demons of dust and indoor air pollution……
All about THEM
July 2007, Punjab
I vividly remember the day I stepped into our first official accommodation, post-marriage, more than a decade back. I was thrilled to bits as it was spacious with a lawn and a huge kitchen garden with Plantains and the very important ‘Curry Leaves’.
As a newbie in this part of India, I expected to see neither Plantains nor Curry leaves, least of all in Punjab. The monsoons were too far along the South Coast and there seemed to be no respite from the scorching heat, up North. Yet, surprisingly it didn’t bother me! The home looked perfect with freshly painted walls, windows, and doors. The excitement of setting a new home as a just married bride is an unparalleled experience, isn’t it?!
Thank God, we had almost set up the house when the monsoons started that year. It rained quite heavily for three straight days and there was a power failure for hours together many times.And that is when I saw THEM for the first time as I was searching frantically for a candle in one of the bedroom cupboards. In my hurry, I completely missed telling my hubby about seeing THEM and this news was forgotten.
As we were just two of us, we hardly bothered to use the second bedroom and converted it literally into a storeroom.The cupboard was almost never used.
But, being a cleanliness freak I made sure to dust each and every corner of the usable rooms.This process reached worrying heights when the man of the house went missing for days together, thanks to his job! Sigh… After all, had to keep myself engaged with some chore. Let me remind you that those were slow to no-internet times and I wasn’t a soap opera lover. People around me loved their Tulsi-Mihir and I loved my baking soda and cleaning cloth.
However, I used to indulge in catching up with one odd movie on HBO. I loved watching the movie ‘Ghost’, cried buckets, had sleepless nights, slept during the day as was the corporate custom( Yeah, I chucked my corporate job to marry). This movie got me hooked on Thrillers.Then, I watched another thriller ‘The Others’ and I had nightmares after that…
My biggest mistake was opening the cupboard in the other bedroom, one day. And this time I saw a huge group of THEM in olive green…I could not bear the sight, closed the door at the back of me and started frantically looking out for THEM in the other rooms. But, I could not see them except when I opened the cupboard. The movie ‘The Others’ started playing at the back of my mind.
August 2008, Lucknow
We soon packed the trunks and moved to Lucknow.Our accommodation was in an old bungalow, on the last possible lane of the campus, the street lights of which never worked and even if they, they blinked intermittently.Getting out at night was a nightmare as jackals and Blue bulls were a common sight. I think it was around September when one fine morning I entered the kitchen through the drawing room to make coffee and I saw THEM again! And this time not in any of the cupboards but right there in the room, all white, resting happily on the floor. I frantically went to wake up my husband, pulled him out of the bed and asked him to have a look in the drawing room. He was aghast that I was assuming things and nothing like THEM existed. I cannot blame him either because they were in white and hardly visible except to me.
But I was sure that something was wrong.Why was only I able to see them? Of course, they did not harm me, but, how can I allow THEM to stay in the house. I soon bought a carpet so that I can hide THEM under it if guests come.What if one of the guests could see THEM? Oh! how I wished they had occupied the cupboards instead! Because I knew for a fact that carpeting the floor isn’t going to contain them.
Soon, I started falling sick often. Never did I have bouts of allergy but that year.
I started huffing and puffing all through the day.The nights were no better either, as they seemed longer with my dry whooping cough. Friends were convinced it was due to the pollen grains as there was lush greenery in the campus. But, I was sure it was because of THEM.
I tried all things possible to evict them from my home with no success.Health deteriorated terribly and I was put on inhalers! As a Microbiologist, I was adept at identifying them…..so made sure to protect my son from THEM.
Thanks to some divine providence, the tiling of the floor started and this convinced me that finally, I will see them go…but no, I was wrong. I could still see THEM hanging on my walls…Sigh!
Slowly and stealthily they started spreading their clan. I could feel them staring at me and after some time, I could actually smell them. As usual, hubby rubbished my claims and thrashed it in the bin saying how can I smell something which does not exist. I laughed it away saying I was a sniffer dog in my previous birth! But inside I felt miserable.
I was put on Cetrizine since I was losing my sleep owing to my nightmares and deteriorating health.The medication continued for many months together until the next Summer when I started feeling far better. I started seeing less of them in the summer, though I felt they left a mark – a sort of stain to remind me that I was occupying their home and not the other way round!
By the time I recovered we got posted to the deserts, twice, and these stretches of golden sand are famous for THEM and the trouble they cause to humans.It was a short stay before we were shunted to the snow-capped mountains.
The soothing Himalayas could not balm my nightmares nor my allergy prone body. And here, perched on the mountaintop of the Pir Panjal range, I was able to see THEM everywhere I turned. Finally and finally, hubby dearest could also see THEM and accepted that they did exist and could be the cause of my illness.
I thanked my stars for proving me sane!
The locals confirmed that they too often see THEM but nothing much could be done barring divine interference of the Sun God, offerings of plants and flowers inside the homes and keeping the bulbs ‘ON’ in the cupboards with their doors open.They questioned me if I ever opened my windows and doors to let the Himalayan Air come in as their land is known as Dev Bhoomi. I nodded saying, “I always keep the doors and windows open in mornings for sunlight and fresh air to seep in, unclutter my home periodically to keep the negative energy away, swab every other day as the homes had a wooden flooring and dust once in a week as there was hardly any dust to be found!“
Then, as I was browsing the Internet, I came across a solution to vanquish them but before we could do something about it, we were again shunted to the Capital city.
I was happy to leave THEM behind….after all we were shifting to a non-government accommodation, which must have been built to keep the seepage in check, in which they thrive. Yes, I did the study about THEM – the MOLDS, as a Microbiologist.
It is not just dust particles and suspended air particles that can cause indoor pollution, even MOLDS can be harmful and a cause of air pollution. Most of the houses in which I lived over the years have been old bungalows where MOLDS thrived owing to seepage and wet conditions prevailing…They must have also eaten up the walls, for sure! And, it must have been the MOLDS which were the reason for my huffing and puffing apart from the pollens.
Now, sitting in Delhi as I try to overcome the dismal levels of air pollution by various means like having indoor plants, not allowing dust to settle and other preventive measures, the monsoons have brought back the demons of the past. Yes, I can see THEM again. I thought they don’t exist in these concrete jungles but I was wrong. They spread their wings rapidly in the dwellings of the skyscrapers.
This time, I have decided to vanquish both of THEM- the demons of the past as well as the present, the MOLDS as well as DUST PARTICLES. While looking out for details on the website of Asian Paints, I happened to utilize their chat service. That is when I got to know about their product ‘ Smartcare damp block 2k’ and also about their new product ‘Royale Atmos’.
Now, we have decided what to do – a coat of ‘Smartcare damp block 2k’ to vanquish THEM- the molds, and a coat of Royals Atmos to keep them in check, kill the demons of indoor pollution and spread a pleasant fragrance.
And I repeat myself – ‘Having shifted eight houses in the last 36 months across three different terrains and states, I share a special bond with the statement – Getting my house painted’ 😀
I am taking part in the Indiblogger&Asian Paints’ Blogging contest for Royale Atmos #CleanAirBeautifulHomes.
Source of Images in this Blogpost: Pixabay
Video link: Asian Paints