Home Alone

They say ‘Staying Alone’ makes a Man into well… a ‘Man’. In my 24 years of existence, I unfortunately wasn’t bestowed upon that pleasure and the longest I ever stayed away from home was a sum total of ’14 days’. Shame on me, they would say. With me shifting to Mumbai, also came that luxury or well that opportunity of finally finally staying away from Home and thus proving wrong those shame-sayers. Yes, we can or I can actually, I can pay the electricity bills, haggle with the landlord, find a maid, get my clothes ironed, make my bed and still look pleased with myself.

I was ready…unfortunately though no form of accommodation in Mumbai was. So for the first one month, instead of living alone – it was the complete opposite, I stayed with my cousins – a family of 14 with me getting more pampered than I would get at home. Clearly, this wasn’t going to plan. For those unfamiliar with finding a house in Mumbai, there’s an old adage,”Mumbai mein bhagwan milta hein…par ghar nahi milta hein.” ( You can find the Lord in Mumbai…but you can’t find a House) One Landlord after another rejected my proposal of staying in their premises…the reasons were manifold – Aap bahut bak bak kartey hein (You talk too much), Badey company mein badey badmaash hotey hein (Big Companies have big rogues) . I rejected a few as well, one cause there was a shootout there the previous week, the other cause the landlord wasn’t well really the owner of the house and the third cause the potential landlord ended with the words,” And one more thing, no alcohol in the house, no friends and no music…also I had the ask the last person here to get out.”

Finally though, I chose a place close to work with the happy landlord Mr.Bhagde.

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The only caveat with Mr.Bhagde was entertaining him whenever he decided to drop by (Once every 2 days), like most Mumbaikars Mr.Bhagde had a view on everything – from Ramalinga Raju to the Recession.

Let’s listen in…

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”Purane zamana mein…ek film roll develop karney key liye…dus log ka kam lagta tha..ab technology key saat..apney aap ho jata hein..kya karengey vo dus log?” (In the good old days, it would take 10 people to develop a film roll…technology has made it redundant…what will those ten folks do?)

Thoda adjust to karna padta hein, the next steps were to do up my 1 room-kitchen (Sshh..In Sobo it’s referred to as a ‘Studio Apartment’) . The previous tenant’s idea of an apartment was one with blue walls, 1 fan, 1 table and a chair…not to mention an Indian style loo with no wash basin. I felt like Obama rebuilding America after the recession, the next 2 weeks were spent re-painting, wiring, plumbing, buying furniture, fixing an AC, a wash basin and shelves. Amongst other things I learnt:

a) Everyone from the electrician to your Dhobi’s son will try to rook you.
b) You will always need more plug points than the house comes with.
c) They are only 2 days when the maid will come on time, day 1 when you first meet her and day 30 when she gets paid.
d) That little thing used to collect dust is referred to as the ‘Dust Pan’.
e) It’s amazing what the contents of little packets, hot water, and a microwave can do.
f) It’s amazing how bad your stomach can get.

Most importantly, it makes maximum sense to do up your place when you’re Mom is in town. My quest for a maid though wasn’t as easy as a friend’s… all he had to do was ask the neighbour to find him one. She enquired, “So how much are you willing to pay?”, he replied, ”Well about 500 bucks.” She replied, “Sounds good, when do I start?” Mine unfortunately involved a number of referrals until she appeared in front of me. She does take 8 days off a month cause of stomach ache though.

Funnier is the newspaper dude who refuses to leave the paper outside my door if it’s locked…”What if someone steals it?”, his refrain. So I argue with him,” Well, if you don’t leave it outside, I don’t get it anyway…so how does it make a difference?”. The next day, the door is locked again, there is no paper so I pop across and ask, he’s ready with his answer, “Well I did leave it there, someone must have taken it.”

But the person who without a doubt makes my day is the Dhobi’s son. After weeks of getting fed up with my maid’s excuses I decided to make Dhobi Jr. double up as a maid. “800 for 4 days, 700 for 3 days, 1000 for 5 days…” every morning would begin with some hectic bargaining and the promise that we will arrive at a final price on the morrow. It’s been 3 weeks now and we’re still working on it.

The great thing about Khan Bhai though is the salutation he uses to refer to me. Staying alone might be tough, but hey it’s all worth it if you are referred to as ‘Sait ji’ early in the morning. I did ask him to give ‘Sait ji’ a massage and he replied, “Uskey liye aur charge ho go”. We settled at 20 rupees.

Yes…living alone can be a roller coaster ride. Does it make you more of a man? Well, I’m not so convinced… I’m convinced however that you should also get someone who refers to you as ‘Sait Ji’, but try and swing a deal where the massages come free.

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Comments
14 Responses to “Home Alone”
  1. Dev says:

    Heh Heh 🙂 Why does this sound familiar ! Btw, the benefits of a 24 year old man staying alone are varied and diverse….we’ll discuss it over a beer instead of writing about it here though ! Enjoy Bombay !

  2. Sisto says:

    Your landlord is quite a character. But well done on the living alone part. You’ve come a long way from toast and cold coffee served on your bed 🙂

    P.S. Thanks for leaving Agasti and the excel tables out of the blog.

  3. Sudhir says:

    Mr.Amritesh – yes I certainly agree with the benefits. Most of them are not publishable in the public domain though 🙂

    Sounds like yr missing your ‘Home Alone’ days…ha

  4. Sudhir says:

    Mr.Kumar – Thank you very much.

    My next blog is on my early days in Mumbai. How I moved from the suburbs to the city and so on… damn that also includes the excel tables 🙂

    P.S Next time you come to my house in Chennai, will make ensure my cook poisons the cold coffee. Dog.

  5. Dude finally you come to age ! I totally agree with you on the maid . I had an endless argument for nearly 4 months with me cutting salary and she arguing that i am never at home. Finally finding me pay her consistently without cutbacks there is harmony.

    Get ur watchman to do the man friday work of EB bills all that. Get a washing machine and save costs there too.

    Another great challenge is to know when to go to bed at night and make it back in time in the morning !

    Ur post made me go back 3 years

  6. Shreenu says:

    dude ur gettin a massage sounds mighty fishy!

  7. Sudhir says:

    @ Syed

    Syed bhai – Thank you for your comments. You’re suggestions perhaps deserve another blog post.

    I think the last challenge – the one regarding the waking up in the morning though is the toughest. Will keep that in mind. 🙂

    Sudhir

  8. Sudhir says:

    @ Shreenu

    Yes it certainly does…Should I ask Khan bhai to come over to Marine Drive as well? 🙂

  9. Abhinav says:

    for the third and last time – loved your post, mate, especially having gone thro the same thing myself last year (though i had the added joy of flatmates who occasionally pinched my milk)

    i especially loved:
    Aap bahut bak bak kartey hein (You talk too much) and Badey company mein badey badmaash hotey hein (Big Companies have big rogues)
    i scared my colleagues cos i burst out laughing at the one…

    anyway, you seem to be doing well for yourself, getting “massages” for 20 rupees (nudge nudge wink wink)

  10. sudhirsyal says:

    Hahaha… Vice Captain the great.

    Thank you for the comment.”Mumbai is full of characters” *wonders if he stole that line from Danny Boyle.

    Yes..things are not going well with Mr.Khan though. Turns out he hardly cleans my clothes and asks for a raise every 3 days. And it’s lay-off season 🙂

  11. Siddhu says:

    You paedo – getting massages of little Pathan kids, now, are you? 😉

  12. Siddhu says:

    of = off 😛

  13. zak says:

    All home alones are realy good becuse theres funny traps

  14. Dhvani says:

    Hey this is so funny… really liked it… im might be needing all of this gyan very soon…

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