Posts Tagged ‘rent’

12
Jul

No overnights please

   Posted by: aman    in Other

When I was to start for Delhi from Bangalore, a year back, I asked my friend Aditya to help me find a place to live. He offered me his flat in Indirapuram. I shifted, set up the flat and started my life in Delhi. Slowly I realised that though Indirapuram is next to Noida, and my office is on the other end of Noida, it takes me up to an hour to reach office. I have to cross two urban villages, and a number of red lights. The traffic is chaotic. Through the year when I went to meet friends in Delhi from office, through the Taj Expressway and the DND toll bridge, I reached Ashram in half an hour.

When I met people in Delhi and told them I lived in Indirapuram, they said, ‘Indirapuram, where?’ When I came home from Delhi, at 11 PM, 11.30 PM, I still got stuck at the Gazipur border on National Highway 24 for up to half an hour. Indirapuram is a concrete colony. A corporate ghetto. Current fails here so often that one cannot even watch videos on a website like YouTube in peace, forget downloading anything. One morning, I argued with the owner of the dairy booth in my complex. The milk had not arrived until 8 AM. He said, ‘If you want milk early live in Delhi.’ That is when it hit me that I did not really live in Delhi. Indirapuram was not Delhi, at least not perceived to be part of Delhi.

I have started my hunt for a small place in Delhi, some where 10 minutes from Ashram. Technically, according to people who live in Golf Links and Hauz Khas, even that is not Delhi. Too far, they say. A friend suggested web sites. Yet, when I search for individual postings on 99acres.com or magicbricks.com, I find no listings. All listings pint to brokers. So brokers is the way I go.

‘Sir, can you make a visit to a site on your own? Our New friends Colony area manager is busy today,’ asks a voice from one of the real estate agents.

‘Yes, sure,’ I say.

‘Can you talk to the house owner now? He wants to speak to you. I’ll conference you.’

My, I thought. Is this a real estate agency or a Multi National Company? Area Managers and Conference Calls. ‘Yeah sure.’

An old voice comes up on the other side, ‘I do not understand your company name. Who is the head of the company? What does it do?’

‘Cadence Design Systems. We are an EDA company,’ I reply. Thinking I must say we help make the chips which runs the telephone from which you are speaking.

‘Where is it located?’

‘San Jose,’ I say, stressing the J as an H.

‘Where?’

‘California. USA.’

‘Who is the head?’

‘A certain Lip Bu Tan.’

‘Who?’

‘A Singaporean immigrant to the United States.’

‘Oh American company.’

I wonder to myself if it is me who is going to stay there or Mr. Lip Bu Tan. The agent gives me the address. I go visit.

A posh house in a posh locality. Statues of Ganesha and Sai Baba in the garden. A man ushers me to garden seats. The man sits down. His father, the old man comes out and takes another seat.

‘What does your company do?’

I tell the man. ‘EDA stands for Electronic Design Automation. We make software that helps companies design chips which are used in everything: mobile phones and super computers.’

They do not understand.

‘Your name is Aman. What is your religion?’

‘Does it matter?’

‘Your father. What does he do?’

‘He is with God.’

‘Your mother?’

‘She too is with God.’

‘Brothers and sisters?’

‘They never came down from God.’

‘Oh! How old are you?’

’36.’

The man showed me the shabby room, with pink tiles in the bathroom.

‘What is the rent?’

‘Actually, with the Commonwealth Games coming up, we were looking for a foreigner. Someone younger.’

And hotter, I thought to myself.

‘Would you stay alone?’

‘Yes.’

‘No friends please, no overnights.’

I smiled and said, ‘Do not worry. I do not have a hectic social life.’

I left, knowing prejudice exists in many forms.

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