It was a simple form and the third piece of information I was supposed to provide after my name and date of birth – a permanent address. An address to a permanent residence. That doesn’t sound too difficult, does it? Then why did the pen halt for a couple of seconds before the next stroke of ink on the dotted line?
The dilemma was not that simple. Which address should I provide? Should it be the address that I lived at now? But then, how was I supposed to furnish a proof of residence as the fine print with an asterix made compulsory? Why? I didn’t pay the bills for this house, the Bee did. So none of the power, telephone or piped gas bills had my name on them. So what about the PAN card I dutifully flash at the airport departure gates? Or for that matter my passport? No, since the passport reflected my father’s permanent address and the PAN card, an address from another city that I lived in the past.
I turned to a property deed that we were paying EMIs against and had made up our mind to upgrade in the next two months. Wouldn’t the “proof of residence” then technically become invalid in two months? I unwittingly abandoned the deed option as well.
It was funny because in the last dozen odd years of our conjugal life, the Bee and I have changed four cities and a country. We have gone through the ritual of getting our mug shots and finger prints taken in a desert city in a foreign land to “acquire” resident status. Have changed five houses as we have been on the move, with li’l R in tow, on to better jobs, more spacious apartments, better gentry, renowned educational institutions, worthier designations and higher aspirations. A perfect picture of an upwardly mobile family deeply entrenched in trying to climb the corporate pyramid.
Till now the need for furnishing proof of “a permanent address” restricted itself to opening new bank accounts, filling up school admission forms and applying for telephone/broadband connections in each of the new cities. In all cases, our conjugal life had provided the easy way out, and was made easier by corporate rental agreements, ‘to whom it may concern’ letters from the new place of work or a photocopy of a new property deed. There were of course some addresses that have remained unchanged, we have let them be, our email addresses. The virtual “permanent” addresses notify friends that ‘we have moved and here are our new contact details’.
It is not that I do not yearn to grow roots in one place, or want to wake up every morning with the sweet-smelling mogra in my balcony that I had planted years ago; walk down the same road leading to my favourite lily pool everyday; grow old with the mahogany doors and windows; and grow gray with the widening cracks on the broad parapets. I do yearn for such a permanent address, I do. But does it fit into the current scenario? There are more places to see, more cities to live in, more designations to fill up with multi-city, multi-market experiences, ivy league institutions for the li’l tyke to arrive at and more heights to scale before we can put our feet up and settle down to a “permanent address”.
So what option did I leave myself with to prove that I did have a permanent address? Well that’s a different story altogether!
Read it on my TOI blog page Freeze Frame