I was in class 11 by the time such an opportunity came about. My dad had been away quite a few times on work-related trips, and my mom too on earlier occasions but they were always scheduled in such a way that one of them was at home. Being the youngest amongst my siblings had this duality of being pampered and overprotected at the same time. My brother was working somewhere in North Gujarat at that point of time and my sister had just joined Architecture school so for the first time I had the TV to myself without having to engage in bitter arguments.
Then my parents had to go away (for reasons I forget) for a couple of days leaving me home alone. You'd think that would have been an easy task but from the thousand and one instructions left behind it looked like they were leaving in the midst of a jungle, not the same set of apartments where we had lived for close to 12 years now. One instruction however was sweet music to my ears. Since I was alone and presumably 'defenseless', I was allowed to have my school friends stay over. So I began to put the phone to good use and began calling up friends by the dozen within minutes of my parents leaving. Their parents however proved harder to convince than I had assumed as far staying over was concerned, probably suspicious of what mayhem putting so many teenagers under one roof would lead to. But for two of my friends, everyone was okayed to spend the day at my place but evening would require them to touch home base. All the same, I still had unlimited TV, cricket and video-gaming privileges and two of my closest friends for company. You can't ask for everything in life!
For the next couple of days, the world was our oyster. We probably ran the TV non-stop for that period of time watching the raunchiest music videos on air without the covertness normally required, hooked up the game console & played until our arms ached, fell back to watching some live sports while flitting in and out of the house for a game of cricket and random scouring of the town streets for eye-candy riding our scooterettes in a manner that assumed that the absence of my parents had rendered us death-proof. Friends dropped by, one after the other cycling through the house as and when they felt the need to escape the stifling nature of their parent afflicted homes. We collectively drooled over the stunning Ashley Judd in "Double Jeopardy" as it played on HBO in the morning and then again on the re-run in the evening. B-4/8 was less of a flat and more of a pleasure palace for that period of time. Sid, Santosh and me were the resident princes while all others were our royal guests. School incidents, juicy rumours of link-ups and graphic descriptions of the attributes of female beauty were the hot topics of the day in this open door discussion forum.
The orderliness and the neatness of the house was the first and expected casualty to this influx of visitors. More disastrously, the hordes of hungry teenage boys had cleaned out the refrigerator disposing of my mom's cooked food which was supposed to see us through 3 days within the first day itself. In Maggi noodles lay our salvation and so it was that we came to live off Maggi and eggs for the remaining days. Food was definitely our secondary concern, a small price to pay for the extraordinary freedom. We did try to fry some bhindi (okra as it also called) for dinner but without an iota of culinary skill in all of our collective bones, we ended up with a gooey mess which we made an unfortunate decision to 'spice' up with red chilli powder. This gustatory disaster was accompanied by a power cut, and I could find only one candle & wished that I had listened more carefully to my mom when she was jabbering away. So it was that on the final night before my parents returned, under the light of a single candle we were crying tears born out of eating what was undoubtedly the greatest torture I have ever subjected my tastebuds to. But we were also full of glee, trying to pin the genius of this experiment on one unfortunate donkey's tail instead of on three.
Every once in a while, I have felt the need to pull away from the regular run-of-the-mill life to feel refreshed. However on the rare occasion having a totally familiar environment all to yourself under unique circumstances has its own very strong merits.