City of Dreams. The Big Apple of India.
‘Anything can happen here’ they said.
You know what all the movies show. Two girls, living the independent life in the big city. A quaint apartment, overlooking the skyline. A living room, with artfully tousled cushions. A building complex, with space to walk around; maybe meet a cute boy who also stayed in the same complex.
This all seemed a dream till we landed in the city.
Till we began looking for this ‘dream apartment’.
To start with, there was the biggest confusion on which side of the suburb to live in. As ambitious as always, our house hunt begun from Bandra, scoffed at the rent rates and ended in Andheri, swallowing our fate with a gulp.
One of the biggest challenges in this city, apart from finding a house with a western loo that is attached to the bedroom (attached, not meaning the 3 feet that connects the bedroom and the small open space that some call a hall), is finding a house for a single, Indian woman.
It’s important to establish here, that all single people are bad, the spawn of evil, and will by default have sex with any other single being of the ‘opposite gender’ in the vicinity. We are bad but not so bad to be homosexual and all okay.
That being said, your first friend in the big city is always… the house broker (referred to as BFF, henceforth)
He will help you to look beyond the websites that show pretty flats, and almost always over or under-estimate your budget.
“Bhaiya, hamara budget 25K per month and we want to live in Andheri”
“Madam, very nice flat, ya this is hall cum kitchen cum bedroom.. only 15K per month”
“But Bhaiya, we are 2 of us. Need a bigger place”
“No problem madam.. next door flat is also free!”
“Bhaiya, hamara budget 25k per month and we want to live in Andheri”
“Madam, beautiful flat no? This is actually Versova.. 2 bedrooms, very nice.. only 33,000 rupees per month. Come on Madam, 25k-33k, no big difference no”
When you finally move on from this, your BFF will take it in his stance to explain how your sad, single status is the biggest hindrance to finding an apartment you like. He’s your reality check to the sad truth that is your life.
“Madam… madam you are both single. Society doesn’t want to give flats to single girls also.. Then single boys also will come home no”
He will explain how your lifestyle choices are a problem in today’s world.
“Madam, flat owner wants only vegetarian tenant.. No madam, egg is not veg madam.. You can both eat your chicken outside and then come home no?”
BUT WHAT IF I WANT TO EAT SCRAMBLED EGGS?
Finally, your BFF will expect you to be a rebel. Skip office, leave work early, and discover the city of your dreams a.k.a the Andheri Subway, via the back of his bike.
Nothing spells relief more than finally landing an apartment, liking it, and the owner approving of you.
Until you meet the society committee uncles. They’re 65+ year old men who have decided they have the right to question you, judge you, and give you that apartment based on pertinent questions leading back to the status of your virginity.
“Oh, you work in advertising.. the last person worked there.. She used to keep coming home late.. It’s a disturbance to the other flat people. Wait, where do you work? And who else is it besides you and your roommate? No it’s just that we are very unsure about giving houses to single people.. And by brother lives in Andheri East, you mean..? Oh, he lives in a Men’s PG? Why are you not staying with him?”
Helloo, Captain Obvious.
So, to all you wonderful people who move to this big city of dreams.. You will never get a break in the big, bad world of house-hunting.
And until it’s time for Round 3, I’ll lean back and sip on my cup of hot chocolate.
At least this place has a 5 feet gap between the rooms.