Put Your Head On My Shoulder…

Created with love by the.lazy.artist (A proud member of Ko-Kai Pop — Go follow her on instagram!)

I’m patiently waiting for it to be 8:00pm. It’s been a long day despite waking up around 12 in the afternoon. Winters in NYC are harsh — You are shrouded in darkness all day long regardless of when you wake up. I check the clock twice. I so want to start watching the next episode of the Netflix series I’ve been following but I can’t.

The rules of the house are clear — we watch it only when we are together or we don’t at all.

We can be strict that way.

It has become a sacred ritual now. When we first moved into the house, we had this huge TV about 40 inches adorning the kitchen cum living room — the only perk which comes with living in the cardboard box of an apartment we rent. But, alas we never used it. Not even once.

We ignored it when we moved in as we were always out in the fall of 2019. Life as we know was so different back then. Even with the pandemic, during our numerous video calls for our group projects, team mates often would comment on the huge tv in our background. “Yeah, it is free with the house” we would mutter. As far as we knew, that thing was as useless as the heaters in our rooms- mere blocks taking up space and having no real use at all.

But little did we know that things would take a new turn when we, as a joke, switched on the tv to find that an active Netflix account already logged in!
We thought long and hard about what we should do. But as broke college students struggling to remain sane in the midst of the raging pandemic — there was only one thing we could really do. We decided to make the best of what was given to us — we used it.

Forgive us, O’ Netflix lords! And yes, we will definitely pay it forward!!!

And so every night, we would come together in the living room after everyone is free around 8 or 9pm. We had a cheap swirling chair with a broken height stand set so low that only children could use it, but I’m sure you know by now that we always make do with what we have. And our next-door neighbor had donated a couch one night — which was coincidentaly on Diwali for us — , since she didn’t have space for her furniture. And thus, the three of us would sit around the tv — one person on the chair, the other on the couch and me perched between them. I had long legs which I could twist and fold much like a professional ballerina so I was always the one who perched.

And that’s when the_lazy_artist would ask me to “ put your head on my shoulder” Chinese drama fans : if you know you know!

There are a lot of things that has changed in the past one year. Things that I can’t believe are a part of me but they have been so for the good. From gifting instant tteokbokki as Christmas Secret Santa presents to cooking late night Samyang Ramyeon with cheese and cut-up italian sausages — our lives have changed for the better. We have had our fights and our differences — there are dirty dishes in the sink, unfolded clothes over the washing machine and strands of hair on the floor. Yet, we sing while we cook and share our food and with each morsel a place in our hearts. We teach each other our mother tongues and laugh at all the weird pronounciations. There is Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Konkani and Malyalam floating in the air!

Personally, I’ve found the vigor to enjoy K-drama and K-pop and all the little things in life inspite of being so far away from home and in the middle of a raging pandemic. And I owe it all to my roommates. They might be the smartest women I’ve met but they are crazy k-obsessed as well. And when it comes to hygience and cleanliness — we are not without our faults. More often that not, the person who it irritates the most is sadly the one who ends up cleaning it every time. But such is life.

Since this is my seventh year away from home — I’ve been living with my fair share of people with dubious habits. But this time around, it’s different. We are living through the same pain and that has brought as together in more ways than one. I wouldn’t have laughed so hard despite wanting to cry my eyes out if it weren’t for them. Being cooped up in a tiny apartment has never been so much fun.And I’m sure they feel the same.

In a house composed of a gold medalist and math wonder genius, I was the lonely duckling, striving to mark my place. But I was never alone. We started off as six but with Covid, we dwindled down to four and then we were three. Since we didn’t have close family nearby unlike the two who left, we stayed together fighting job hunt, course work, boredom, anger, fear — bascially everything the universe threw at us.

This year has been hard for all of us but if there is one thing that I’ve truly grateful for is my roommates. The cardboard box of an apartment that I so despised is now my favorite abode. Ko-Kai pop aka what we like to call ourselves will always be the best thing that ever happened to 2020.

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Software Product Manager @ Tesla | Living my dreams, one at a time ❤️ | Product, Tech, Content

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Nikita Mallya

Nikita Mallya

Software Product Manager @ Tesla | Living my dreams, one at a time ❤️ | Product, Tech, Content

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