Diwali is just round the corner. And cleanliness is godliness has now been taken literally and obsessively by many as a project for this period. For others, it’s an ongoing, never ending project which comes through practise.
Over cities, cultures and communities people define character of others basis their clean homes, habits and hum. Yes, a silent hum that claims how big a clean freak one is or a little listenable hum that claims how efficiently cleanliness is achieved with directives to housekeeping. In both cases, demonstration precedes claims!
Though, I often wonder, is the definition of cleanliness just absence of dirt or dirty things around? May be, it is also organising non-living decorative and utility objects. A layer of aesthetics followed by change in layout and these objects (if your pocket permits) periodically! And not to forget discarding of unused or dysfunctional items at home.
There are many schools which have been born, thanks to cleanliness. One in particular that needs a mention is the school of minimalism. I have recently taken admission to it…Here, we believe in keeping bare minimum functional items in a house. This means no decoration, please. Some people also believe in giveaway of items which have not been used for last six months. This definitely is a hoarder’s nightmare. People who are a mini general store for household products even when on wheels…In fact, until sometime back, I was one! Obviously, oscillating between the extremes.
Well, as much people take pride in announcing or showcasing their OCD for cleanliness, my concern grows. Over a period of time, I have seen all sort of relationships bear the brunt of achieving cleanliness through selective incidents, phases or till end of life of some involved. Some relationships have unfortunately succumbed and ended just because cleanliness was a pet of one and not the other.
Now the question arises that why is cleanliness such a priced topic, protected feature and prized assets for, in and of our lives? The answer is that it has been mistaken as a symbol of who we are, in a way it is our second identity. To preserve, project, prefer this second identity more than our first, we are ready at some level of consciousness to forego anything in the world.
Relationships being the most fragile and human minds being one of the most mysterious get bruised and negatively impacted in many cases where cleanliness is the highest priority, demonstrative and done in unequal partnership. This unequalled relationship is between two or more people.
Matters adding to cleanliness inequality can range from gap in preferences between those involved. The predilection in financial investment (low/medium/high), frequency (regular/ occasionally), type (surface/deep cleaning), energy levels (high/ low), visual cognition (linear/ nonlinear), work pace (fast/ slow), time management (good/ not so great), etc tagged specifically to cleanliness are the most common parameters that one can identify with.
So, not only on special occasions but in your daily lives, maybe it is worth sparing a moment to bargain and ensure that relationships are prioritised even at the cost of cleanliness! Well, hygiene is a non-negotiable so until that is maintained; cleanliness can be made flexible.
Treasure your relationships and enjoy your homes…we all have renovated them in 2020 with continuous GIGO (garbage in, garbage out). Before you attempt to restrict GIGO to physical & digital spaces only, I would recommend it in your mental space, first. Yes, I am practising what I am preaching. We have survived one of the toughest phases, it’s time to celebrate as we like it. Season greetings to you, dear reader!