Tuesday, May 12, 2009

House-hunting blues

‘Koni ghar denar ka ghar….?' so go the lines of a famous Marathi play, ‘Natasamrat’. In the play the protagonist is left homeless…. Mera bhi haal kuch aisa hi hone wala hai.

Mumbai is always known for its huge population, space crunch and so on. But I didn’t have a clue of all this till I arrived to this city of dreams in May 2008. I can never forget the day when me and my two college friends- Samali and Joanna came to Mumbai accompanied by our mothers. We were supposed to stay with an acquaintance in Mulund and had bag loads of luggage with us. When we finished shifting the luggage to the 3rd floor on our own… this woman says, “You people can’t stay with me!” We were shocked, exhausted, angry, sad and confused all at the same time. Such was our ‘welcome to Mumbai’.

Subsequently, we found a flat in Mahim, given to us for 2 months. The house was no less than a hostel. We were observed 24*7 by the society members and commented upon. We even weren’t allowed to have visitors and none of our friends ever saw our place, believe it or not! The next change came when we shifted to Jogeshwari. Thanks to my friend Sanket, we found this place. A decent 1 BHK flat with furniture that included a bed, TV, mattresses, mixer and some utensils. The landlady whom we call ‘kaku’ was also good. She had never given her place on rent but as we needed a place urgently, she agreed.

Now that my friend Samali is getting married, I am looking for another place to stay. The other day, I sat on the ‘free’ internet (courtesy: my office) and searched for ‘PG accommodations in Mumbai’. I got hundreds of results and called some of them, but these brokers feel that they are the most important people in the town (to be honest they are important to ‘needy’ people like me, who wants to admit it though!) and show attitude.

The first destination: was a place in Marine Lines. After 20 minutes of waiting the guy took us to the 3rd floor of an old 1857, dilapidated building. The stairs were never ending. He had promised a kitchen and all five star amenities. The place was a cramped one with 4-5 girls in an 8*10 room. The kitchen, common for the 30-35 inmates was in a balcony with an antique refrigerator. I laughed at my fate and ran away from there.

The second destination: Through an acquaintance I came to know about this place in Worli. I went there with my friend to check it out. We were welcomed by the woman and her daughter in a compact two room flat. She mentioned that there are 3 girls staying with her and she is looking out for a fourth girl. I observed her place- a living room which was neat and clean and a kitchen, a balcony cum study room. The house may be around 400 sq ft, I asked the lady, “Where is the PG?” in anticipation and the reply shocked me. She said, “This room is the PG. my daughter, I and the 3 girls stay in this room (and she wanted me to join in!).” she recommended another place nearby. The condition was better as the place had 3 rooms, but the women kept 6 girls!

The third destination was a hostel in Prabhadevi. To my surprise, the hostel was neat and clean, spacious and the matron was very polite and ever-smiling, kind lady. Unfortunately, the only vacancy was taken away the same morning. But the matron recommended a couple of contacts, out of which a place was in Antop Hill. That place too was a compact place crowded by 6 girls! (Fourth destination)

Being a person who has been staying in a bungalow since bachpan… can’t take this space crunch anymore. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I find a decent place to stay very soon. Wish me luck guys.

PS: If you know a good PG or a hostel around Lower Parel or on western suburbs till Andheri, central suburbs till Ghatkopar, please tell me :)

Picture courtesy: Shutterstock and DNA.

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