I was thinking to write on this since long. Sometimes things get lost in the routine of the weekdays and you’re too busy sleeping all day during weekends. It happens with me all the time – which is why I keep updating my “things to do” list every time and strike out as the tasks get over. Heights of organization??? May be!!! J But the other day, I read this article on “Perils and pleasures of living alone in India” by Sandip Roy on FirstPost and could not stop myself to finish my undone task after reading that.
I moved to this “Maximum City” last month. Resigned in late January, when I was confirmed my job here, the idea of being here itself thrilled me. Largest city in India, both in terms of population as well as area, the most modern and safe place to be in, the place where dreams come true – both professional and personal, the place where you feel 24 hours are less to enjoy life. As if these were not enough, another thought of – living ALONE – thrilled me even more. While that was a decision taken, keeping in mind that mom and sis would be comfortable coming down anytime they want and be home in Mumbai, the idea that I would be having a house where only I would be staying – all by my own – in the way l like – with no restrictions or adjustments of roomies, itself excited me.
Although, I never thought that the journey to all this would be far more exciting and unpredictable than I can imagine. Living alone is not something readily accepted in the Indian society – doesn’t matter if it’s a metro. People expect you to be either married or be living with your friends at least. For me the problem was three-fold. I was not married, neither I was to live with parents nor living with friends – former two being a greater problem. While the same issue was in Hyderabad as well, but there, I thought it is because the city is still very much traditional and migrant population is comparatively lower than what it is in metros. However, the problem was, surprisingly, even more acute in Mumbai with colonies and societies establishing a de facto rule to out-rightly refuse accommodation to single people. It came as a shock to me since I believed Mumbai is one of the most liberal cities in the country with largest population of singleton bachelors who live their life peacefully without giving a damn about what’s happening in the neighborhood. Even the agent, who was showing me the flats, went on scratching his head in his attempt to fit me in to some place in this 600 sq km city.
It just appears that the society wants to strangle any attempt by any individual to live alone in this country. It took a bit of effort to convince people that I am not the kind of singleton bachelor who will create the messiest house in the world with loud music in the midnight, with a warehouse of alcohol and bring a bunch of half-naked chicks to party as if there is no tomorrow. But the great Indian habit of stereotyping defies all the logics. Indian society actually thrives on stereotypes. Indians have opinion about other people even when they don’t know a shit about them. Ask any average Indian and he will have an opinion on Gujaratis to Bengalis and North Indians to Madrasis. It takes 1% data for us to create 100% conclusions.
But finally, I got my own flat and living my life on my own terms, in my own way. Ofcourse, that freedom has come at a cost – but totally worth it. Gifted with an art of cooking, it makes it even more priceless. Surprisingly, contrary to what has been mentioned in Sandip’s article, I haven’t got any surprised looks from people on me living alone – not at least in my friend circle, mainly in office, where a lot of guys and girls are living alone like me.