22 Jul 2015
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Carte Blanche journalist Devi Sankaree Govender, 42, lives in Lonehill with her husband Perumal Moodley, 42, and their daughter Kaiyuree, 13, and son Sayuran, 11.

I’ve always been terribly neat, but lately, we’ve been living in chaos! A few years ago, Perumal and I took the children away to the Durban July for the school holidays, and returned home to find that our geyser had burst and the house was completely destroyed. We’ve been living out of boxes ever since! We had to pack up our belongings and move into another place for a while, before we could move back home again, even though we’re still rebuilding entire sections of the house – it’s been a real headache. Strangely though, just before all of this happened, I did an interior-design course, just on a whim to try something new. I really wasn’t looking to redecorate my entire home, but now I have an excuse. I actually can’t wait.

My home office is my den, but it had suddenly become a dumping ground for everyone else’s things. At one point, it was so cluttered that I couldn’t see the floor. I did a big clean-out, and it’s lovely now. I can just walk in and start working without being distracted by the mess. I’m slowly tackling the boxes we have piled in the garage, ruthlessly sifting and sorting through them. I prefer to do it by myself, because then I know where things are – but that doesn’t mean I don’t get Sayuran to do the grunt work with heavier boxes!

I hang on to things because I like to see and touch them, rather than just remember. I adore hauling out Kaiyuree’s old teddies, and recalling what she was like as a very little girl. Children grow up so quickly, and I don’t want a single memory to slip away. Perumal and I are poles apart this way – he isn’t at all sentimental about possessions. I think it’s because I’m collecting everything anyway, and he simply doesn’t have to!

My bag is always packed for last-minute work trips. I call it my ‘hospital bag’! I’ve got all my essentials in it, so I don’t forget anything in the rush of a sudden assignment. My family’s grown used to me travelling, and the house runs like a well-oiled machine, even in my absence. There are schedules for everyone, so we all know what we have to do, and when. Our kids are really great, though. They’ve had to become very responsible, because if they forget something at home, my schedule means I’m not able to just pop home and fetch it for them.

Family life gets more exciting as the kids get older. Kaiyuree is a brilliant golfer, and Sayuran is avidly involved in theatre at school. We all lead very busy lives, and there’s always something to look forward to. They miss me when I travel, but I think Perumal and I have a better relationship because we aren’t always together… you know what they say about absence making the heart grow fonder. With age, I suppose I’m becoming bolder in my choices – I know what works for me, and what doesn’t. I think women need to give themselves permission to focus inwardly a little more. I’ve started doing yoga and cycling regularly, and getting to bed earlier. Being just a tad selfish has turned me into a different, happier person.

Watch Devi on Carte Blanche, Sundays at 7pm on M-Net, DStv channel 101.

Devi Govender

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