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Give some room

Junorna Giri has decided to go it alone. She does not like roomies. After two bad (one horrendous) experiences of sharing spaces, she has thrown in her towel and opted for the more expensive choice of living alone.

tabloid Updated: Apr 15, 2006 15:28 IST

Junorna Giri has decided to go it alone. She does not like roomies. After two bad (one horrendous) experiences of sharing spaces, she has thrown in her towel and opted for the more expensive choice of living alone.

Tired of a roomie who kept stealing her money, cosmetics and other stuff, Junorna had decided to shift to a paying guest facility in Dadar. But here she faced a trio from hell -- one was perennially untidy; the second made clucking noises while eating that drove the third one mad (as result there was constant bickering); and the third interpreted sharing too literally by constantly borrowing everything.

"I would find small sums of money missing, I would come back from a holiday to find my clothes used, and once, returning home from work, I found my dinner fed to a dog!" For a while, she tried to be the peacekeeper between her two carping roomies, and tried to inculcate a sense of cleanliness, but found that the effect soon wore out. "You try your best to adjust but after a time, I just gave up. I could stand the bickering and dirty habits, but stealing was the last straw."

A harmonious relationship with your roommates is an issue in a city where only bits of space are afforded to profes sionals seeking a home within a narrow budget. These are usually a flat or an apartment rented out to more than two individuals, or when a family demarcates one room to be rented out to guests.

"After a hard day of work, you want to come home to a bit of peace and quiet. I would get neither. Paying guests are supposed to take care of their corner of the room and our landlady was from a nightmare who would yell at all of us if she found one dirty spot in the room," says Suparna Joshi, whose earlier lodgings were at a paying guest facility in Wadala. One of her roommates would often get the others into trouble. "She would of ten leave her dirty clothes, utensils, and just general personal stuff on her bed. But one day, she left her unwashed boyfriend on the bed, which had the landlady yelling for the moral police! Mine could be an extreme case," says Suparna generously, "but this whole experience was just too much to take and I cleared out the first chance I got."

For most, it is always the small things that create problems. For D Sagar, while a roommate who usually returned late drunk, was a minor irritant, the roommate whose feet stank perpetually became the deal-breaker. "The rest of us decided not to take the guy in next year when the lease would be renewed," says he. Ayesha Singh, who shares a three-bedroom flat with two other girls, agrees that usually it is something as small as forgetting to take out the trashcan or not getting the milk in. "Sometimes things really heat up and when two of your roomies fight and expect you to take sides, you are in a fix. Both then get upset with you. But the flipside is that the next day both are your friends because you had been fair," says Ayesha.

What about sudden guests, as in Suparna's case? "That's not an option," says Ayesha, "if we invite friends or boyfriends over, the others are given enough notice."

At the other end of the spectrum is Pramod Thangappan, sharing a two-bedroom flat in King's Circle with six others. They have been together for six years with not one fight. How do they manage it? "We take turns cooking and cleaning, and if one cannot manage during his turn, the others help out," he says. That is it? The magic mantra that has kept them out of trouble? "The basic rule has been never to interfere with the others' life. We do put in our two-bit thoughts on say a particular subject but never demand that the others follow it," says Pramod.

For those less accommodating, it might be time to get a few tips and bring back peace in the shared space.