I Hate Landlords #$%^%^&*(*(&@#

Yeah, in a face-off b/w the tenats and the landlords, the outcome is rigged

Delhi.

Rich and suave, chaotic and bellicose, frenzied and abusive,fast and short-fused – that is the city; the city of opportunities and the real kaleidoscope of India’s new found “affluence in selective pockets” identity over its millennia old recognition of the capital of the “country which does the great rope trick” or the “land of myths and miracles”……

The city is hosting an International sporting event – the Commonwealth Games 2010– in 3 months’ time. The last minute “lets do this somehow” construction boom and the much needed arterial adrenaline shot of Metro Rail connectivity is turning the city into a veritable hotspot of new found opportunities.

And here am I, attempting to wet my beaks in this socio-cultural melting-pot in one of its meteorically rising satellite city of NOIDA. What was nothing more than a sleepy suburb designed to probably offer a peaceful retirement life for the Army, Navy and Air-force of India has now metamorphosed itself into a bustling metropolis with all modern facilities, sometimes a notch better than the average Delhi neighborhoods.

Alright, so now you know the protagonist (of course that is me) and the stage settings (the NOIDA city), now let us draw the plot around it and introduce the characters/villains etc.

So, the plot essentially contours around the protagonist’s quest of finding a good rented accommodation in NOIDA in the summer of 2010. Being a member of the “newly achieved affluence” group of software professionals, I set a generous budget of 20 grands for the monthly rent- absolutely certain of getting a decent abode.

“You know what, I am going to find a house in just a weekend’s time- you see that” I tell my wife, Mausmi, over the phone. She is still in Kolkata and is due to join me in NOIDA in August.

“All the best” she said and then added, “be sure to ask for the terms and conditions of the owners”.

Prophet speaks in many tongues. Sometime that form can be your wife too!

So very soon in an extremely warm summer afternoon of June, I am in a big drawing room in one of NOIDA’s plush sectors meeting the landlord whose house seemed a fit for my requirements (not discussing them as they are out of scope for this blog).

At first Mr. Potbellied Meatball (name and identity with-held, a nearest visual impression has been used for christening) does a full round of visual inspection, measuring me from tip to toe with his penetrative eyes. I could hear him as he did that-

“Ahh the chap has long hairs….”

“and look a goatee too….

“and wearing dark shades…..”

“and is flipping his car keys…..must be a rich SOB doing some stupid MBA spilling his dad’s black money”

I was getting a bit uncomfortable with this visual examination (I am not a woman so not accustomed to it really).

Then he spoke.

“But this premises is only for married couples, not for you.”

I: “I am married”

Mr. Meatball: (full of surprise): “You are?”

I: “Yes. My wife is in Kolkata and she would join me in a few weeks’ time”

Mr. Meatball: (now looking at my sporty shorts) “You don’t look married. You look like a student”

I: (no idea what to say) “?????”

Mr. Meatball: “How long have you been married?”

I: “5.5 years”

Mr. Meatball: “?????”

Needless to say, I did not get the house. I looked like a fibbing student who wanted to use his premises for all sorts of illegal activities.

Yeah ass***e, I forgot to invite you in my marriage so now I know you are getting back at me.

Not married? You will not get the house. But then I am.....then??????

Round 2!

This time the villain comes in a lady form with two daughters, one of which was a pretty stunning damsel.

This was a nice 1700 sqft 2 bed room, 2 bathroom, 3 balcony, 1 huge hall and a fabulous modular kitchen unit. I fell in love with the house at the first glimpse, who said there is no love at first site!

This time I was dressed in a jeans and a tee with sneakers and did not wear my shades- an attempt to look more mature probably.

Mrs. World is a bad place: (again identity withheld, this time naming convention is based on what she would repeat after every sentence): “Ok so you are a married couple with no children and two cars and jobs for both and friends visit you often and family visits you seldom, is that right?”

I: “Yes”

Mrs. World is a bad place: “Ok, so what is your caste?”

I: (a bit puzzled) : “I am a bharmin and my wife is a kayastha”

Mrs. World is a bad place: (probably pleased) : “Ok. So what is your name son?”

I: (with my usual James Bond gusto): “Manasij, Manasij Ganguli”

Mrs. World is a bad place: (jumping up almost): “Are you a Bengali?”

I: (not sure how to respond to the excitement generated) :”Yes”

Mrs. World is a bad place: “Oh no no….we don’t rent out to Bengalis”

I: “??????”

Mrs. World is a bad place: “They always cook fish and smelly stuff and we are allergic to fish, you see….”

I: “But we don’t always cook fish. Besides my wife is a Bihari.”

Mrs. World is a bad place: “Oh no no, Biharis make the place very dirty. We have let out to so many people that we have all of these experiences…..”

And then she said the killer words: “You know son, THIS WORLD IS A BAD PLACE. I have two daughters in my house…….”

Yeah lady, sure it is – in a place where all Bengalis force feed fish to their landlords and Biharis poop in their drawing rooms and have dreams of landing in a threesome with your daughters.

that what the landlady was safeguearding herself and her two daughters from....point is, we don't cook fish at home at all!

My last interview session was by far the best of the lot.

This was again a great house and the landlord was an ex-military man.

The house was great and I was very keen to get it on lease. So, this time I dressed up in formals and went to meet the landlord.

I was received well by the landlord whom I would call Mr. Butterfly because he had butterfly mustache.

However, the start was not auspicious. It was 10 am and the time for the power cut.

I pretty much walked into a furnace of a drawing room.

I sat in one side of a huge table and over me was a fan that was not moving.

However, seated on the other side of the table, the ex Colonel was under a fan that looked to be running on some serious steroids.

Colonel Butterfly: (pointing to my fan) There is no power and I am saving my inverter battery. You are a young fellow, I am sure you are fine, for at your age I could hike 50 miles a day….blah blah”

Then the conversation followed a general pattern.

First was “tell me about yourself”, followed by “tell me about your family”, followed by “who all will visit you and when and for how long” and then Colonel Butterfly took over the talking reign.

I was taken through “my harrowing experiences with my previous tenants”, followed by “Army is the best” and then I intervened.

I: “So, do you have any general do’s and don’ts?”

Colonel Butterfly: “Young man we fought so that you have all the best things in your life. We want you to live as you want to.”

I: “Thank you sir.”

Then we happened to reach the last leg.

Just as you reach a point in a job interview where you would be given a price for your head, pretty much the same way is the case where the landlord puts a price on the property.

Here it was fixed at 17 grands per months.

I was fine with that. Looked like I was getting the house!

Colonel Butterfly: “Ok, there are a few rules that you must know.”

I: “Yeah, please tell me”

Colonel Butterfly: “First, I charge Rs. 250 per month for maintenance.”

I: “Maintenance? What for?”

Colonel Butterfly: “For cleaning your apartment.”

I: “But I will hire a domestic help and would get the house cleaned anyway.”

Colonel Butterfly: “No, I have seen tenants don’t clean the lamp shades, fans, window panes. My chap will do it.”

I: (biting by lips) “Ok, I think we can manage this. Anything else?”

Colonel Butterfly: “Yeah, periodically my electrician/plumber/carpenter would check all fixtures and report any breakage/abuses. If that happens, you will be responsible for fixing them.”

I: (biting my lips harder): “Ok. Anything else?”

Colonel Butterfly: “Ok yeah, when you leave finally- you will get the house painted.”

I: “I don’t understand. Why will I paint a house I am leaving?”

Colonel Butterfly: “Thats the rule here. And yes, if you leave before 11 months your 3 months’ security deposit will not be refunded.”

I: (speechless): “????”

Colonel Butterfly: “And I only take cash for rents, no cheques.”

I: (amused by now) : “Don’t you think your terms are too steep?”

Colonel Butterfly: “No son, I am asking for fair things only. After all I am not money minded.”

Right Colonel, you are surely not money minded. Never-mind you charge for every breath taken inside your palace and want it all in hard cash. You are surely not money minded, for you did not ask me to paint a flower pot even though I came to your house to see you and left far before 11 months which obligates me to paint the house.

It has been 3 weeks and the house still eludes me.

Sometimes because I don’t look old enough (too bad in a world that wants to look young), sometimes because I am a fish fighting Bengali and my wife is an all dirt-loaded Bihari (not sure if I can help it, afterall I could not choose my parents right?) and sometimes because I don’t let my landlord do a broad day light robbery on me, even though the robber is an ex army man!

I am sitting in the cafe and I see the NOIDA telephone directory.

I think I am gonna try calling Santa…..

Oh no Manasij, there are no homes available for you

Manasij Ganguli

manasij.ganguli@gmail.com

+917838237844

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22 Responses to “I Hate Landlords #$%^%^&*(*(&@#”

  1. Mitesh Says:

    Very very interesting…Normally I avoid reading much…but,the name “Manasij” forced me to read the blog and conversations were interesting…The names given to the landlords were artistic…In tweeter World, ur style will keep the blog world alive 🙂 keep posting…

  2. Kunal Says:

    That was quite funny in a tragicomic way.
    It’s sad how much racism/casteism/classism we have in India. Really sad.
    Good luck with your search!

  3. Marcus Says:

    Awesome post. And so true 😦

    Hope things work out for you soon.

  4. Ravi Says:

    Very impressive account of your travails…me too is not a big fan of reading much (not more than a stanza or two)….but truly your posting made me to sit up and take account…

    Thanks for a real good read and laugh and on top of that sharing your experience…Tum hogey kaamyaab ek din but make sure you do before August. 🙂

    • manasij Says:

      Thanks Ravi….given the state of affairs, probably only thing a same person can do is to just laugh!

  5. Gaurav Says:

    Amazing writing once again.. fully packed with impeccable sense of humour and amazing characterization. Your blogs improve our vocabulary too.. ;).. keep the mind and keyboard working.. !!

  6. Ruchita Says:

    whoa.. i seriously wish one of these landlord’s selves or one of the beautiful damsels of ur plot happen to read this.. that wud be fun.. btw, could relate a lot.. trust me.. at some time i was a pro at renting and changing houses every few weeks 🙂

    • manasij Says:

      I think I will do well with some help from a pro here……
      for general information that house is sector 31 c2/53……stay clear- stay safe!

  7. Jayant Says:

    Well written. I so totally empathize although my landlords have been surprisingly carefree.
    However, I wonder – would I behave differently than the cast in your post, if i was a landlord???

  8. Vipul Gupta Says:

    It seems that you are going out for a “Kothi” kind of living. Why don’t you try for a flat. Here you will be dealing with property dealers 😉 The amount that you quote, I think you should get a 3BHK flat in Sec62. BTW, landlords are too possessive for their house 🙂
    All the best!

    • manasij Says:

      yeah Vipul that right, I am looking for bungalows…..
      not averse to flats at all but need to stay closer to delhi so sec 62 is out of reach and the inner noida sectors dont have flats as such

  9. Priyank Says:

    chanced upon this thru cyclist.in and had fun time reading thru. you have a regular visitor …. keep writing. cheers!

  10. Kartikeya Khanna Says:

    Try for a flat. Living with the owners is not easy. They always crib about something or the other. Look for an NRI owner who lives abroad……and for sure you can have a peaceful independent life….All you have to do is – Transfer money.

  11. Kartikeya Khanna Says:

    Actually one should search for the owner, not the flat….geeeze

    • manasij Says:

      yeah i guess i am still smarting even though i have been staying on rent for last 8 years or so…

  12. Amritaksha Duttagupta Says:

    Nicely written indeed!

    Well for unmarried people, (read students, mostly boys, who come to study at a college like NIFT, Kolkata) it is the same even in Kolkata (Salt Lake and Beliaghata, for sure!).

    Before the landlords start discussing about important things like rent, issual of contract paper or a bill for the monthly house rent you pay(I do not know of a single landlord who is willing to issue a stamp paper document to the lessee clearly describing the terms and conditions abiding the lease) et cetera; they would behave as if they are a GOD sent messiah (and the tenant is a beggar), the tenant is a terrorist or a miscreant (yet they will NEVER inform the police about the lease and the tenant) et cetera. If you say, you want to pay the house rent in the mode of cheque payment, just see his face going red in a second!

    The first three things that come out from his tongue are ‘You cannot bring a girl as a guest (mother included)’, ‘You cannot do dirty things (drinking) inside my house’ and ‘ You cannot come to your rented house at odd hours’ (so what if the landlords son comes home at two o’ clock everyday drunk)’. As if, you have to have sex, every time a girl comes to visit you, or you have to showcase the world, that you are drunk, every time you gulp down a peg or two.

    And if the landlord is a lady (surely she is not a ‘lady’, just a mere frustrated woman with no hobbies); GOD help you. You better not shift in her home, you are inviting trouble.

    Best Regards,
    Amritaksha

  13. Flat in South Delhi Says:

    You are right in many ways , landlords are choosy about tenant since the value of properties is very high in Delhi and they do not want to get a tenant who later creates trouble while vacating. There is always the fear of litigation . Also most landlords prefer tenants with small family or just a working couple.

    But there are some nice guys also . One needs to discuss everything with one’s broker before getting a surprise during the negotiation

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