An old acquaintance of mine had come down from Calcutta recently —I was meeting him after six years or thereabouts. He dropped by at work, we exchanged standard pleasantries (“I’m seeing you after such a long time”, etc), and then I treated him to sickly sweet tea in office.
As he gulped down the dregs from the plastic cup, he suddenly asked me: “So, where are you putting up?”I was almost certain he had no idea about the geography of Delhi but, nevertheless, I have him my address. And I knew what was coming next.
I nodded, a little irritated — and hell, I couldn’t believe it, a trifle guilty, as though I was letting down people I know — by the look of sympathy in his eyes.
“Hmmmm.” He sighed deeply. “It’s a lonely city, wonder how you survive… Hmmmm… you know, you must…”
“I know, I know,” I rushed in. “Till such time, I’ll take care, don’t worry.”
He left soon after, while I wondered why some people have such a tough time trying to reconcile to the fact that living alone isn’t actually such a freakish thing to do.
As if on cue, the very next day, an exasperated single friend called me to say how difficult it was to convince people that one could live alone. “Tell me about it,” I rubbed my hands in glee.
My friend’s friend has given his (my friend’s) name as a ‘guarantor’ for a home loan, and some bank executive had called in the morning to “check” on him.
Yup, my friend told bank executive, “I do indeed exist.” But bank executive wants to “see” him — either at his workplace or his ‘official’ residence.
And then bank executive griped that he had, on two occasions, gone over to the (home) address given on the loan form — and found nobody. “How can that be — that I kept ringing the bell and there was no one to open the door?”
“Because I live all alone,” my friend said. “And I happen to work, and I keep, you know, odd hours.”
“But somebody has be at home, na?”
At that point, my friend claims he used ma-behn gaalis, but I’m not so sure. That would have been irresponsible: why would he want to piss off some dim-witted bank executive and screw up a friend’s chance to avail of a loan?
Anyhow, getting back, bank executive still couldn’t get the point. So now he’s been asked to come and check out my friend at the workplace.