My career path this year consists of not being at the factory (located fifteen kilometres outside Kanchipuram) every day, but gradually shifting into a sales role, so that I’m either at the office in Chennai or travelling and meeting customers. Therefore, I am looking for a place to live that is not too far away from either the Bangalore highway or Chennai proper. This sort of narrows my choices down to Porur (or possibly Maduravoyal, though I haven’t tried that yet).
Apartment-hunting in Porur has not been fun. Everything advertised seems to be an old house with a floor on rent, not an actual flat. Well, not really. I did find two listings for flats in Shantiniketan West Woods. When I called, they had already been sold out. Oh sigh. All other apartment buildings seem to be still under construction. Oh sigh.
Unfortunately, the buildings that do exist and are available don’t seem to want me. I’m not Brahmin, not vegetarian, and a bachelor.
Now vegetarianism within the premises is easily done (I can always sneak off outside to thulp meat) and as an Arya Samaji I am technically more Brahminical than most Brahmins – so faking Brahminism is not too difficult – though it will involve the poonal, which I am assured is both uncomfortable and unsexy. That only leaves occupying the flat with a family, which presents more complications. My father will be there a week in a month, but I get the feeling that landlords are looking for something more permanent. There is grave danger here that I will have to resort to sitcom/ romcom style madcap hijinks and hire actors to play my wife and kids.
Actually, looking at how widespread landlord antipathy is towards singletons, I’m surprised that this isn’t already an underground business, with HR managers in Bombay and Madras whispering to new joinees about very convincing actors at very reasonable rates. Oh wait, that would require HR to do something useful. Silly me. But maybe the cool mentoring manager that every organisation has.
What makes the pro-family-anti-singleton bias particularly annoying is that it has two levels of irrationality. First is the prejudice against behaviour associated with single people – wild partying, getting members of the opposite sex over for sexytimes (what happens when landlords learn about gay people?), and all night poker parties. And the second is the assumption that all single people are up to these nefarious activities Against Our Culture, while the minute you get married you stop.
I mean, I can’t sympathise with a bias against premarital sex or drinking, but I can understand that people have one and want to enforce it. But in that case, why not specify no drinking or no sex when you rent out the flat, instead of a blanket ban on single tenants. There is some serious ‘All men are mortal. Socrates was mortal. All men are Socrates.’ thinking going on when you ban single people.
I have a dream. Actually I have two dreams.
The first dream is that one day I will be rich enough to buy a flat that has previously refused to rent out to me because of my bachelorhood,and then rent it out to the most horrifying possible tenant. Say, a drinking, smoking, North-East-Indian, hard-rocking tattooed Muslim with a succession of girlfriends, all of whom visit him. That’s right, blaggards, you could have had a sober young Punjabi tenant who got up to nothing worse than really bad puns when you had the chance, but you blew it. Pay the price now!
The other dream is a little more subtle, and will actually screw around with their prejudices instead of reinforcing them. Once again, it’s to buy a flat in an apartment complex otherwise full of uptight people *cough Iyengars cough*, get on the owners association, and pass a resolution to only let out flats to families. And then, for tenants, find a married couple that is Brahmin and vegetarian, but also one where the couple are swingers and throw loud and ostentatious orgies every weekend. This should hopefully cause permanent brain meltdown among the neighbours. It will be awesome.
I am still about seven megarupees away from bring rich enough to do this just for the lulz, but as soon as I am, I will let the internet know about it. Once that happens, if you are looking for a flat and fit either of these profiles, please let me know.
Until then, I am throwing myself on the mercy of Chennai brokers. Wish me luck.