The sun was quite harsh. We were profusely sweating. Resisting the urge to stop and sit down under the shadow of a huge Mango tree on the roadside, we walked forward and reached our desired destination- house no A-812 in Panchkula. I rang the bell which was positioned outside the main gate. A shrilling sound came from inside the house. We waited for 5 mins before an old wooden door opened. A stylish looking middle aged woman appeared and greeted us enthusiastically. We were ushered inside the main hall. After some small talk, we got down to business.
“Are the rooms fully furnished?” my friend asked.
“Yes! We have even an inverter! And some utensils too! You needn’t bring anything from home!” she announced.
“Aunty…rent? How much is it?” I asked cautiously.
“Rs. 10,000! Before I used to charge Rs. 12,000. But seeing that you are girls, I’ll charge lesser. You see, we want girls as tenants only. Boys make so much racket!” she shook her head and smiled, showing her yellowing teeth.
“But I must warn you! No smoking and drinking here! We simply don’t allow all that!” She grinned.
We paid her a token money of Rs.1000. She promised that the 2-room set with an attached bathroom and a small kitchen on the first floor of her bungalow would be ready by day after tomorrow. The same day that marked the last day of our stay at Chandigarh ECC free of cost. We had arrived from Mysore, fresh from training, and had to search for a flat in the city within a week. After a mind-boggling search on BB (Bulletin Board) and making frantic phone calls to different flat owners, we finally settled on to this recently vacated 2-room set. Finally things started to fall in place. Or so we thought. The promised day arrived soon and we moved in with our things. When we entered the main gate, a tremendous loud barking set up from somewhere inside the bungalow. We ran outside the gate and locked it for good measure. Something came running and crashed the gate from the other side. We back-tracked.
“Oi! Kiwi! No, no, no darling………come back, I said COME BACK!”
Our newly appointed landlord came bouncing on her little feet and opened the gate. But we had locked it from outside! We unbolted it and the gate swung open. She was holding the collar of a large white snowy dog.
“Sorry for his behaviour! But he gets naughty on seeing strangers!”
“This is your dog?” All three of us chorused in disbelief.
Three days later, we packed our bags and decided to move to another flat. We literally escaped. Her house had become an uncouth prison. She hadn’t informed us about any dogs of her own in advance when we had booked the flat. Because of her naughty darling, we couldn’t even walk outside on the lawn or park freely. Secondly, the house hadn’t been cleaned. Apart from us, other inhabitants included mosquitoes, spiders and cockroaches and they turned out to be permanent residents. Her own house-hold stuff was locked in the cupboard and the bathroom had to be shared by a maid-servant, she revealed later.
Two weeks later, we felt like living in heaven. The new 2BHK flat, that we got after some references by senior infoscions who had recently vacated it, was not only fully furnished but also contained balconies and was spacious. It had 2 new coolers, brand new inverter and 4-burner gas stove. The new landlord announced that we were like his granddaughters and shouldn’t worry about anything. If any problem arises, call me up, he happily confided in us. But it was costly. We had to pay Rs. 14, 000 as monthly rent and Rs. 28,000 in advance as security for 2 months.
Meanwhile, it was announced that we had to travel to another DC for 1 month project-related work. And that, it could be even further extended. We broke the news to our landlord. He became livid.
“So you are giving me a notice?” he asked point-blank.
“Yes!” I had kept my mobile on speaker so that my other roommates could hear it out too.
“Then, I am not giving you your security money back. You can check out of the flat whenever you wish.”
“WHAT?” we thundered in unison.
“It is there in that rent agreement that you signed as part of the contract for an 11 months stay.”
“Please uncle, we are not going to stay even for one whole month now! You can search for your new tenants this month only! But give our security money back! Else it will be a huge loss for us!”
“You people from Infosys earn so much! You people got a hike too! I read that in a newspaper!” he snapped.
“Yes! But not for us! It’s for our seniors! And we are freshers!”
“You people from Infosys are like this only! Always give headache! You know what happened last time? Society complained and there was a police raid in the flat late night at 3 am! Those old tenants were from Infosys and partying till 3 am! I had to force 10 people hiding inside bathroom to come out! In total, there were 32 people that came out of the flat that night! 32! Now tell me, who does that? We had even prostitutes in that flat that night captured by police!” he bellowed angrily.
We hurriedly lowered down the volume of the speaker of my mobile. And triple checked, craning our necks 360 degrees, whether anybody had heard the word prostitutes uttered from our cubicle.
“Ok uncle, but that isn’t our fault! Please give our whole security amount back!”
“No! First find me tenants. Then I may think about giving your whole security amount back!” he hung up.
The next day we posted an ad on BB ourselves and became temporary owners of the flat. We received mails, pings and booked appointments with different probable tenants. Some came and we had to show them around the flat. A group of particular boys had a very urgent question to ask before we could even greet them with a simple hi.
“Does this owner allows to party late night?”
Another group were appalled at the prospect of no ACs but only coolers in every room. Some thought the rent was very, very costly. And a 2-months security was a strict no. One woman, looking for a flat for her family, went forward and switched on the TV. On seeing our surprised expression, she clarified,
“I just wanted to check whether this TV is working fine. The last house I visited, their TV had no sound system in it. Star Pus was coming but no sound of any dialogues uttered in any of the serials!”
After four days of suffering, we finally hit the jackpot. A group of 4 men agreed to take up the flat for the quoted rent.
“No! I cannot accept that.” The real owner declared when we broke him this news.
“Why?” we were appalled. My friend slapped her desktop in frustration. I wanted to pick up the monitor, hire an auto, go to that owner’s house and throw it at his face.
“I don’t trust men! They lead to loads of trouble! Besides, when did I say that boys will be preferred as new tenants? I will consider only small families or women.”
“But these men are not boys! They are older and an experienced lot! You will like them! Besides they have agreed to pay 2 months security rent too!” We argued but he didn’t budge. Meanwhile our travelling date was coming nearer. It pressed our panic button.
We approached a dealer, who also had a grocery shop. He agreed to help us in finding out the new tenants in the next two hour. In return, we had to pay him Rs. 7,000 as his commission fee. We agreed and like magic, four young girls looking like they were studying in some fashion college, came to see the flat within an hour. We showed them around and they became satisfied after a quick short tour of the highly maintained flat (we had cleaned the flat with Lysol disinfectant before their arrival).
“We like this flat. This is just according to our requirement. We will talk to the owner. But please don’t tell that dealer. Else we’ll have to pay Rs. 7000 to him! If he asks, just tell him that we said no to this flat. And we’ll tell him the same thing. And then we’ll occupy this flat and never approach him further!” one of them provided this information at lightning speed. We told them our own tale in return.
So we both parties agreed that we would not approach the dealer anymore. Rs. 7,000 of each party saved.
The owner agreed to rent the flat to these girls. We all were sitting in his air-conditioned bungalow. The girls signed the new rent agreement form and we got our security money back.
“These were the worst tenants I ever had!” he thundered at us after giving the cash.
“This money is nothing to me! You know, my electricity bill comes around Rs.25,000 every 2 months!” he further clarified.
We came out of his bungalow and an old man with a walking stick bumped into us.
“Hello there! You girls looking for a flat hey?”
We looked at him blankly.
“I have a fully furnished 4BHK in my old quarters that I am giving out on rent! Rs.18, 000 and 1 month security deposit! Hey what say? You girls want it? Are you from Infosys beta?”
We looked at each other. We had the same one thought in our minds.
Let’s buy a property and give out every floor on rent!
I had a sudden vision of our newly posted advertisement on BB for our very own new flat:-
Immediate accommodation available in a 2BHK flat at Panchkula:-
Following are the amenities provided:-
1. Double beds with mattresses
2. Wooden cupboards in each room
3. TV with a Tata Sky connection
4. Samsung Refrigerator
5. Kent RO water purifier
6. Four-burner gas stove
7. 15.1 kg cylinder
9. AC in each bedroom
10. Attached washrooms
11. Geyser in each washroom
Ø No interference from landlords
Ø Infosys bus stop is a 10 mins walk.
Ø A park is outside with a walking track.
Ø Grocery shops are nearby.
Preferences to all- men, women, small families or big families! Security deposit for one month! And rent is negotiable! If interested and would like to know the undisclosed rent, contact the owners!