February 14, 2001

my first taste of freedom

valentine’s day was never ‘special’ for me.

but last year, it was different.
it was almost two months after i had shifted to bangalore, and i had been looking for the house of my dreams…a small living room, a small kitchen, a small bedroom, a huge terrace and LOTS of plants, all for myself.

i found that house on february 14, 2000, at sixth block, koramangala, in bangalore.

it was an incident i would have blogged if i had a livejournal account then…
although i could understand and speak a little kannada, i was still getting used to the pure ‘bangaluru’ being spoken, and i was shocked when i heard the conversation between my broker and my landlord-to-be.

it was a lie.

in an attempt to raise her commission and reduce the rent i’d have to pay, she told him i’d be getting a room mate soon, and added that this (non-existential character) was currently in delhi for a vacation!

each time i interrupted, she cut me off with a i’ll-handle-it gesture, and i felt helpless in this never-before experienced situation …
a) when i left bombay, i had decided i would stay alone, and here was the house of my dreams
b) the landlord was asking for rs 4500 and a deposit of rs 30,000 (“but koramangala is the nariman point of bangalore…”, the landlord argued)
c) i did not understand why my broker was furnishing one lie after another (paapa, ava oble idaare…irlibidi, amele friend bartare)
d) i would not pay a rent of rs 4500, and even if the houseowner agreed for a low price, i did not want to share the room with any one.

as we left the house (and when my broker was busy talking to the landlord’s wife), i asked the landlord for his phone number, and if there was someone in the house who understood english. that night i called my cousin venkatesh, and asked him to accompany me to the house again early next morning.

i had never been so excited. i met naveen, the landlord’s son at 7:30 am the next day, and told him that i had come all the way to bangalore to learn to live on my own, and that the broker had lied about the delhi colleague. i also told him that i loved the house but i would not pay such a high rent for it. with my heart in my mouth, i told them that if they were still interested, they could call me at office.

as we left, my cousin was sympathetic. he was sure i would never get the house and offered to look for better places himself. but i was happy. i knew i had done the right thing.

thirty minutes after i reached my office, the phone rang đŸ™‚

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