The Culture of being Clean

   The fresh smell of recently washed clothes, the crease-less surface of a bed, the crumbless- spotless countertop. People say that you can't find happiness in objects. I refuse to believe that. I think that when kept in a state of near perfection, objects can give a warm, fuzzy feeling called cleangasm in your heart. Do you know that stress relieving feeling you get when you see a Buzzfeed video of someone squeezing weird pink gum-like substance? That's how I feel when I see someone using a squeegee to wipe away dirty water. Yes, it sounds crazy, but it's true. And I know that some OCD-Monica type person out there can relate.

    It took two years and three roommates to get to where I am today and to surface the Monica within me.  I was nicknamed Monica during my freshman year at college due to my unstoppable urge to clean my surroundings.  One of the most educative experiences I have had in college took place in my own apartment, not in the classroom. Letting my sister wear my clothes was NOT adjusting. That was a minor inconvenience. Real adjusting was this- living with random people.

  Day 1 with sharing a room with strangers meant gone were the days when I could align my pillows at a 90-degree angle to form a perfect diamond. Gone were the days when I could dream of walking into the bathroom without slippers. Coming home to a kitchen without evidence of recent cooking and dirty dishes was as likely as an Ice age in the middle of summer. 

   As I navigated the distance from the door of my apartment to the door of my room, I would resist the urge to take a peek. But I knew I would go on a crazy cleaning monster frenzy if I looked, so I would cover my eyes and run for refuge in my part of the room. 
The realization of my impending doom came after a series of disturbing events and almost a year of pointless cleaning. I still remember the day when I reached the threshold of my tolerance level. The broken eggshells laid spilling fresh slimy yolk onto the counter. A pair of jeans were thrown on a chair which is when I notice that the four of us weren't the only ones at home. Someone had company ;) A turtle was basking in front of the microwave. At that moment I changed from a Monica to a Sherlock, and my room became a crime scene. The placement of each object told me exactly what was done in my absence. 

   And I wasn't the only one who felt this way--  the dorm situation was also pretty bleak. This was one of my friend's opinion during freshman year and I quote her on this- 

“I want to look down in a sink and know that the strands of hair in it are mine” – a second-year college student, desperate to move out of the college dorms.

The transition from my four-storeyed marble floored 'spick and span' clean house in India to the tiny hotel room I call home now, was harsh. But it was a pill I had to swallow in my journey toward journalism. I knew life was gonna be hard the minute I left India, but I hadn't imagined that having roommates meant the death of your freedom to be clean. Good-bye to smooth marble floors and hello to brown carpet that camouflaged human hair. But hey! at least the layer of human hair that is perennially stuck to the surface of carpet is an easy hack for trapping small crumbs and dirt. 

 By Year 2 of living with roommates, I began to learn that being clean is a culture -it cannot be taught, but only learned. It took me some time to accept the fact that some stains just don’t go away, just the way that some people don’t change. Being clean is not a habit, it is not an obsession- it is a culture, it's a lifestyle. It is a part of a person’s personality.

However, a person's priorities can complicate this. How clean you choose to be at a particular point in time depends on how important other tasks are. It depends on how busy you are and how much you care. While no one can control our priorities, how much we care depends on our upbringing, on our Culture of being Clean.


  1. This is a super Absurd post. If you want to be clean why don’t you rent yourself a studio apartment? Am sure your marble house dad can afford one for you? Journalism is not criticizin people. I am sure your room mates are rambling up the cuss words for you after reading this(if). Good luck in your endeavor

    1. Hi! thanks for your response, check out my previous blog about how expensive America is for an immigrant to know why I can't afford a studio apartment. Also, this isn't journalism- this is me ranting and finding an outlet for my thoughts. Thanks for your feedback

    2. After reading this I can only imagine how dank your posts get. Ranting isn’t blogging. Well hope your room mates leave you super soon. Also if you find it expensive, you better adjust. When life gives lemons make lemonade, don’t try to sip it off a tequila shot. I guess that’s how it is America.

    3. I agree, adjusting is a really important learning experience, and having roommates has taught me that. This post is not meant to pull down anyone but rather emphasize things from a different perspective. There is a fine line between when to adjust and when to put your foot down.


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