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Single in the city

Single men and orderliness are two terms the world can never reconcile with, writes Rajat S Bhattacharjee.

india Updated: Nov 17, 2006 03:11 IST

Single men and orderliness are two terms the world can never reconcile with. And a 31-year-old single like me who beg to differ are often seen with suspicion.

From house owners to colleagues the common refrain is: “Oh, I thought you were married!” Some are even inspired by my emerging pate. “But you ‘look’ married.” These days marriage, like everything else, needs planning is my usual anti-dote for such barbs.

Despite its proverbial openness, Mumbai also views single men from a certain perspective. Go house hunting and the first thing that breed of demigods called the brokers will tell you is “so and so housing society does not allow single men”. The attitude runs across the city and its suburbia and forces one to recall that infamous canine analogy.

A ‘personal interview’ with house owners can really be exciting. “What do you do for food?” they would ask. “I cook for myself.” No dabbas (food boxes)!

They would be flabbergasted. I assure them I am as comfortable with potato-peelers as with pen drives.

Friends are not far behind in suspecting my disciplinarian nature, given my single status.

After all, Indian men—whether single or not—are known to dump dirty clothes and collect huge amounts of trash in their rooms to be cleaned by their mothers, sisters or wives. Ditto for food. Men in our society can only appreciate delicious dishes made by their wives in front of TV.

By the great rulebook of Indian bachelors, a no-trash and no-cobweb single male house must be a heretic’s den.

I take pride in such blasphemies. My ‘sin’ runs even deep. I am one of those arty types who appreciate good music, books, sculptures and paintings. I would have my books in the shelf instead of throwing them all over the house and would prefer many woodcarvings on my walls — a complete anti-hero to the boisterous alpha males whose moms and wives spend hours dotingly discussing their nasty habits.

I would often have an animated discussion on different schools of thought rather than find out who woos most girls in the office. I would prefer to donate some money to an orphanage than see rings of smoke go up in thin air or crores of rupees being spent in useless noise pollution during Diwali.

Obviously, my message to all those who look down upon disciplined singles like me would be: “Such a life has its own charm provided you know how to live it!”

If you are single and slugging it out in Mumbai, please send in your contributions tomumbailetters@hindustantimes.com