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Single and homeless

Delhi is an individual’s nightmare and everyone has their own version of it, writes Damini Purkayastha.

art and culture Updated: Aug 29, 2008 17:00 IST

Okay, I got sick of the cribbing! Looking into the depths of your existence to coherently talk about everything that is wrong in your daily life can really leave you exhausted. <b1>

It was time to step out of my shoes, open the floor to others and ask them their city-induced woes. After all, Delhi is an individual’s nightmare and everyone has their own version of it. I got suggestions like “lack of good-looking men”, “men who pee anywhere and everywhere” and my favourite — “people who disco dance to rock music”.

The one response with the most hits, and the most impassioned affirmations, was from all the well-earning single people I know. A friend, late 20s, corporate person, called in to tell me that he was finding it absolutely impossible to find a house. It seems no one could understand why a bachelor wanted a two bedroom house. Of course, he must be up to no good!

One of my seniors in office, a very hip and cool 30-something bachelorette, took over two months to finally find an apartment. Most landlords could not fathom why a single girl wanted a flat and not a one-room set. And what’s worse, those with a slightly more broadminded view, mucked it all up with clauses like “no guests”, “no men”, and here’s the worst, “no late nights”.

The said colleague once had a friend stay over for a while and her landlords came bounding to the door: “Next time someone stays in your house for more than 10 days, you have to inform us formally.” How is it any of their business? It’s her place as long as she pays the rent. Every bedroom in that flat is hers and she can have as many guests as she likes. Someone I know, knows someone who had a house lease that said: “Only immediate relatives can stay with her.”

In the tunnel vision of our morality, singledom continues to be a taboo, associated with debauchery and instability. The auntyjis of Delhi, who padlock their daughter’s chastity belts every night (while their mundas drive around with loud booming music, leching at anything that walks), cannot understand why someone single would want to be comfortable. The thought process seems to read: “Doesn’t want barsati, must be a slut.”

Not every single man is a sex-starved, alcohol-addicted character who’s friends with a group of 20 men just like him. And really, most single women I know could not care a fig about wild parties and booze and orgies that the aunties and uncles seem to think they are dying to indulge in. In fact, they are better housekeepers than young couples with annoying children who make pink and blue giraffes on walls.