The best part of moving to another city alone is the independence and the freedom you get. There are thousands of new things just waiting to be explored. New places to visit, people to run into, yummy food to devour at any time of the day are just a few of the perks. But what happens when you have to share your home with a complete stranger?
The worst part about living with a roommate is not having the choice to pick one. People assume they’ll have a chilled out roommate and will hit it off with them on the very first day itself. Sharing chilled beers and pizzas sounds ideal with a roommate buddy, but little do they know this scene only belongs in the movies. All you can do is pray that the heavens are on your side, and hope to have a decent roommate.
Having a roommate with whom you can connect, is a thing to be valued. You uncover so much about a person depending on the way they live, and you never know you might just find a great friend in them too. Hostels and paying guest homes are the places Shipra Hattangadi, Vidushi Sharma and Muskaan Agarwal found new beginnings.
On the other hand, bad roommates are a nightmare. They vary in shapes, sizes, colours, ages and gender. Used plates, take away food boxes, and a pile of dirty clothes: You can’t even begin to imagine what living with them feels like. Sachin Joshi, Vaidehi Pathak, and Simran will help you understand what they go through each day.
Vidushi and Vaidehi both study at Christ University, Bengaluru, but face two opposing situations. While Vidushi seems to have found a sister in her roommate, Vaidehi can’t, or rather won’t say the same. Vidushi and her roommate got along like a house on fire. Their usual weekend routine consists of F.R.I.E.N.D.S marathons and pigging out on food till 3 a.m. It’s a never-ending sleepover, she says.
Vaidehi’s roommate drives her up the wall. One would generally expect a bad roommate to have a pile of dirty clothes and plates on their side table, but she takes it a step further. Used tissues and ear buds, candy wrappers, a comb with hair still on it, rotten food with flies hovering on it is a common sight. “I’ve spoken to her politely but firmly about this issue a couple of times. She just turns a deaf ear to all I say,” says Vaidehi. At 12 am she speaks loudly on the phone, goes for a shower, all of which disrupts Vaidehi’s sleep cycle.
Shipra moved to Colombia three months ago and has changed two homes since then. The current family she’s staying with is immensely supportive and has a positive outlook on things. Even though it’s just been a week since she’s moved in with them, she’s never felt more at home. The kids in the family make her feel included and treat her like their own elder sister. Shipra added that mundane tasks such as cooking become interesting when you’ve got good company.
While Shipra lives with little kids, Simran rooms with a 34-year-old woman who wants to sleep at 9pm sharp each night, in the city that never sleeps. Simran is a person who prefers to study late at night, and this becomes a problem for her as lights are turned off the minute the lady gets in bed. She constantly nags Simran about the way she keeps her things even if they’re her personal belongings kept on her side of the room. Simran is always on guard so as to not curse or swear in front of her, as it might tick her off.
Sachin’s roommate is perpetually up in his business. Whether it’s a phone call or a video he’s watching, his roommate needs to know about it. There’s no privacy at all. “Deciding who will fill the water each day turns into a war as big as the Mahabharata,” he said. The distance between Gujarat and Mumbai helped him realize how dissimilar the two places are.
Shifting to Hyderabad was a decision made by Muskaan in half a day. She was sad at the thought of leaving her family and friends behind. So imagine her surprise when she found out the person she’s rooming with is actually a friend! Muskaan and her roommate lived in the same locality, went to the same school and shared some friends too. She’s a year older than Muskaan but that doesn’t hold them back from experimenting with new things together.
Opinions, thought processes and lifestyle all decide if one will be comfortable living with one another. It takes compromise and continuous hard work to function smoothly with a stranger you have to live with. Sharing a home with another person helps one grow into a mature and responsible adult. So now you know what to, and what not to expect from living with one.
*Some names changed on request
Jessica Kaur Nagpal is a handpicked product of the Bayside Pathfinder where we empower the young and the young at heart with the power of storytelling. To become a part of our extended family of unique contributors, call up Prem Madnani at +91 9892913788 or email him on firstname.lastname@example.org.