Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Life For Rent

These days I'm fervently hoping to move out of my rather squalid living situation as a reluctant paying guest (paying in many diverse and cruel ways) to a rented flat where I will live alone and be happy. The move is tantalizingly close and so I figured I'd take you through a retrospective of the various horrors who have masqueraded as my landlords and landladies and have lent themselves to vilification and some slapstick on my blog. Retribution was long due.

There was the family of losers that I lived with in my first year in Delhi. The father was terminally unemployed and habitually shrill. The mother was gloomy as a matter of principle. The children were a couple of snobs (although I never really figured out what propelled them to indulge themselves so). One of my roomies was a habitual thief who figured that I wouldn't notice if she scamped on my toiletries. All of them, all the time. She also didn't believe in bathing too much, so I don't know what she did with the stolen toiletries. The family's idea of fine cuisine was large chunks of ginger in anything and everything. Their monthly pastime was fighting with any one of the girls living there and threatening to throw her out in the middle of the night. They were so pathetic, they made me grateful for myself everyday. I suppose one always manages to find a silver lining, no matter what. I had to look really hard for it.

Then came the young family who rented a floor in their house to my sister and me. They were nice enough, very helpful and equally weird. They had a two year old son who looked like an angel and swore like a truck driver. His linguistic blasphemies would begin every time someone failed to give him what he wanted. I woke up on many a morning to hear him call his father a whatnot, his mother a wouldyoubelieveit and his sister a don'tevengetmestarted. So yes, deeply individualistic people.

After that, I moved into a hostel in JNU. My first roomie (who lasted a year) can be described thus: acne, body odour, shady affairs. She was obsessed with the acne on her face and spent hours examining it with a sort of horrid fascination. She spent a small fortune on all kinds of ridiculous and always disappointing treatments. She also conducted a series of affairs with men she met online (one of whom was married) and always seemed to think it necessary to share the gory details with me. She left in the second year because she hadn't really reckoned with the Need To Study Sometimes. My next roomie was really nice and we had a wonderful year together, so I shall leave her out of this uncomplimentary post.

Then I moved to Bombay, where everything bad was exaggerated in true Bollywood fashion. The first tyrant looked like a really obese warden of a Kafkaesque mental asylum. She cooked curries out of only onions, mixed in water whenever extras were needed and charged money for every little transgression like leaving the bathroom lights on. I got out of there in a month, only to land up with Cronos herself.

She's seventy-five, avaricious like you wouldn't believe, and three times stronger than I am. She thinks that half a bed and a cupboard are all you need to live, and that one should cough up five grand a month without a murmur for these extravagances. She made me spray insecticide and kerosene all over my bed, so she has most certainly taken valuable years off my life span. And she has made me resent enforced vegetarianism with a vengeance. I can't wait to get out and I hope the bed bugs teach her a lesson about the need for professional pest control. I also hope she stops talking incessantly about the flaws in the other roomies when I'm studiously trying to ignore her. I hope the time comes soon when I can look back and laugh really (and even unnecessarily) hard at her.

The rant is over, for now. Pray I don't have occasion to repeat it.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Just Because I Can

R: de de da de doo de de dum de de dum
Me: tell me about it :)
R: are you looking good, and feeling fine?
Me: i'm looking alright and feeling benign
R: is it feeling benign, and not feeling fine (in the song?)
Me: it is fine in the song, i believe
R: hmm... tres bien
Me: except most days i have malignant feelings towards atleast one person
R: i seem to be getting there -- yesterday i growled at colleague, and day before i shooed away a surd boy who came to the office
Me: did you growl at him on racial grounds? or coz he was there?
R: eh.. growled at colleague cos for the 5th day in a row i was opening the door for him - turned out he was just being lazy and not pulling his access card out of his bag. today pal used his access card to get into the office
Me: my god, that is probably the saddest non issue i've heard of in a long time
R: haha... i know whats happening to me?
Me: you need a couple of real problems
R: no but see the point is when you are given an access card, use the damn thing. there is no need for your colleagues to trot across to the door every day because ur too lazy to pull it out of your bag. its a different matter if you've lost it or were never given one, or on occassion left it at home. but intentionally not pulling it out everyday because you think kind ol r will let you in warrants a growl
Me: next time just smile and wave at him and ignore it
R: now there won't be a next time -- today he used his access card. yesterday i was like "what happened to your access card? did you loose it?" and he was like "no, its with me, in my bag."
Me: arre. you should wave and smile. terrific comedic potential
R: anyway surd guy -- the kind turning 13 and with sprouting facial hair -- was coming from some computer hardware company and wanted to meet admin incharge. who was truly not in the office. he refulsed to leave and i was like "jaa... abhi koi nahi hai"
Me: okay. and?
R: and then i turned my back on him and trotted off... i guess he left after that cos its the last i saw of him... muhahahaha... i'm so evil
Me: you're just anger let loose on the streets, aren't you?
R: i have less and less patience with small things like these....
Me: ah. bombay is getting to you.
This conversation just made me extremely nostalgic for the days of yore. You know, yore. When access cards were not even the last things on our minds.