Well, unless a miraculous divine intervention makes an appearance, as of 31 December 2009, I will be officially homeless. Come midnight, my landlady, not known to be the most kind-hearted of souls (more on that ahead), will be relishing the act of throwing my unpacked luggage out of the house, total Hindi filim ishtyle.
Lets flashback to see the maze of circumstances that will lead me to this happy turn-of-the-year experience.
11 May 2009.
I move into this lady’s house as a PG. Well, the land lady is a crazy 65-year old unmarried woman in desperate need of a silencer in the throat (There are actual cracks in the walls I attribute to the melody that is her voice). She even drags us to the Police Station to get our photos registered lest we ever decide to slit her throat and flee, throwing away our futures and aforementioned-paychecks-with-a-weight-problem for the many temptations of the life of a fugitive. But we looked at the bright sides. And there were plenty. A landlady moving to the US for 6 months within a week’s time, a fully furnished 2BHK for 2 girls for the price of a room each. A five minute cab ride from work in the city of heinous commutes. Plus, no deposit. All the advantages of a rented in a PG. Voila, we had hit it big time.
Six peaceful months later
Enter landlady, fresh from a 10-hour flight, with a jetlag she refuses to acknowledge or sleep away. Crazy 65-year old spinster rears her ugly head.
Sample this for some of the usual dinner table conversations in the house.
Crazy Landlady: “Where is my coaster? Its missing, did the maid steal it? Did you steal it?”
CLL: “You said you will have one fruit for dinner every day. You ate 2 apples last night. Explain yourself.”
CLL: “Why should I help you find your keys? Do you pay me extra for it?”
CLL: “Here is your milk. Have it. Or don’t. I don’t care.”
CLL: “Go to work. I can’t open my almirah unless you leave.
Over my dead body shall you get to see the treasures that lie hidden in my cupboard – the cupboard that would win any Ugly Furniture Contest hands down and leave me rich like the Queen. And then you shall cry. And I shall laugh. Muhahaha.”
Okay, that last part is made up. But nothing else. We were quite seriously accused of stealing the biggest eyesore in the history of mankind – the ancient, grimy missing coaster which I was always careful never to touch with my bare hands, lest it carry the germs of some long-eradicated disease.
December 1, 2009
Exactly 12 days of enduring this living hell. (You think you have a bad life if you don’t feel like getting out of bed every morning to go to work? Try living the opposite way!) Having made substantial progress on the house hunting cum roommate hunting front in a matter of 3-4 days (which I can now, only attribute to sheer, dumb, beginners luck), I confidently went ahead and served good ol’ CLL the notice. She seemed to think that if I cannot manage to live with her, I will never be able to manage with anyone. I thought it would be cruel to burst her bubble at this age and nodded wisely at the heart warming farewell.
As I type this today, 20 days, 4 brokers, 5 failed roommate matches, innumerable unsuitably situated and /or astronomically beyond budget and / or obnoxiously hideous flat visits later, I am still officially homeless and roommate-less.
I started typing this on 18 December, 2009. The survival instincts are kicking in, the red alert buttons are pressed, my friends are making much noise for me on mass emails (may be you got one too) and, not to mention, calming down my erratic nerves by inviting me to camp with them for a while. Yet, as I see the clock on my computer screen reading 12.02 am, 19 December 2009, I fear one myself day closer to the street.
May be they still have some place left in Dharavi. As a colleague mercifully pointed out, I could be the Millionaire Slumdog. May be they’d give me an Academy Award for living my amazingly mayhem-phillic, accident-prone, sitcom of a life. And speaking of silver linings, for once I am glad Mumbai streets are not cold even on December nights.
Blame it on the Recession