Thursday, February 18, 2010

For Rent

When I got resurrected a freelancer, I gave up weekends, medical insurance, Provident Fund, free stationary, unlimited internet access and finally my apartment (which I could no longer afford). So when a friend offered me a room in her home till I found a cheaper place, I shamelessly planted my butt in her territory for four months till boom! Life did a cartwheel, finished off with a back flip and landed me in real estate (long overdue). The time had finally come for me to rent my own place.

I have this feeling that it isn’t just me who almost always picks up the most expensive item for sale at a store and then kicks herself for having tastes her debit card can’t match. So you will empathize with me when I say I wished to stay in an area in the city where recently a fully furnished 2,700 sq ft house was leased out for a monthly rental value of Rs 2.85 lakhs. I had my eyes on Bandra.

Yes, indeed there is something about Mary. But there’s also something about Sandra in Bandra. Because unlike Sandra in Dadar or Santacruz, in Bandra Sandra can wear hotpants, a strappy top, have blue highlights in her short cropped hair and tattoos running all the way to Timbuktu… and no one would give a damn. And I wanted no one to give a damn. I also wanted to walk in little bylanes where wrinkled old bungalows were still fighting for life… where you’re just as likely to be greeted by a ‘graffiti-ed’ Amitabh Bacchan as by the sight of flesh and blood SRK entering his house… where the brooding sea is just as close as a pub playing Pearl Jam which is just as far as a Columbian coffee joint.

So I started my search. I had three weeks to find a house.

Week 1
Budget- 8k a month. We were three girls looking for a place. Armed with 24k, we quickly realized our ammunition would only get us a 1BHK in the area. That would mean two chicks in the bedroom, one in the living room and the kitchen for sex. We still looked.

Week 2
Budget- 10k a month. One girl drops out. Hmm! With 2 of us and 20k in tow, we could now only afford a studio apartment, albeit a furnished one. That would mean eating, sleeping, walking in the same room and crapping in a bathroom the size of 2 Godrej cupboards. We looked.

Week 3
Budget 15k a month. 2nd girl drops out. I could now get a studio for myself. Which wasn’t too bad. Except that I didn’t have 50k to put down as deposit or another 15k to pay as brokerage. And come four months, I would be living the true bohemian life in Bandra as a vagabond on the streets by which time my savings would have run out.

My final option. I could stay as a paying guest for much less. Maybe even 8k! But wait. I’d have to answer to a gnarly old lady every morning. I’d have to be home before Cinderella, I’d have to limit the social company in my room to myself and I’d have to clean up my liver and my lung (who does that at 25?!).

Time had run out. As had the patience of my brokers who had replaced mom and close friends on speed dial. Could I, should I, must I compromise and stay as a paying guest just to be Sandra in Bandra? I moved to Andheri.

...30 days later, here I am wondering if Sandra could have and should have managed with one glass slipper and fingers to keep her company in Bandra. Seems a better proposition than having her entire life feel like the inside of a pumpkin- damp, bland and waiting to be transformed.