Call it fate or destiny, but my married life went for a complete spin, when I had to relocate to my mother’s home, due to a change in my DH’s job. While I was expecting a warm welcome, I was shocked to see a cold lock, hanging from the door. The neighbour offered me the key, along with cups of frothing coffee, I felt the need to set my priorities right - looking out for a house for rent immediately. I realised how my marital status had completely altered the equation of loving familial bonds in the course of few years. Since the truckload of our household consignment was to arrive within a few days, we immediately started looking out for a house on rent. There were only a very few brokers who indulged in rental business, and who advertised their profession through newspapers. We got hold of a few rental agents and started a serious house hunting. Those days flats were rare and only a few houses that were deemed decent. Most of them were partioned portions, mostly with plywood, resulting in – with even a tiny whisper – being heard by the occupants from the other side of the house. Most houses had common bathrooms, common wells, common toilets, common hand pumps – things which I abhorred to the core, with no privacy. Finally we landed on a 600 sq ft flat, located in a narrow muddy street, which inspite of its squalid surroundings, provided a decent accommodation, with the owner residing in the same complex, in an independent house. On the day of the house warming ceremony, I placed the picture frames of family deities on the kitchen shelf. I then boiled milk – but, to my horror, the milk curdled. Chucking aside the belief of ill omen, I checked the water from the tap – which I found was hardly edible, reeking a strong odour unfit for human consumption. When all the taps in the house dripped with the same quality of water, I knew we were completely cheated by the broker. When we complained to the broker, who came to us the next day to take his cut of the fees, about the serious water problem, he suggested shifting to another house which had far better facilities. But enough was enough! We arranged for someone to fetch potable water from a place which was a mile away. The entire area didn’t have any piped water connections, a very important point which we should have checked before shifting. With my DH mostly out of station, I had only my friendly neighbor and the owner’s pet an Alsatian dog as good companions. I wasn’t bothered by the rumors that the vacant space we had to cross to reach home was once a burial ground. I brushed aside such gossips with an iron will and continued to live peacefully. But my peace was short lived, when I saw my landlord in his drunken stupor, knocking my window in the dead of night, asking for some money. When heavy rains lashed the city, the entire area was inundated with knee deep water which lasted for more than a month. Electricity was frequently down, but when the nightmare of having to live without electricity continued even after a fortnight, we realised the hard truth - the owner had not paid the electricity bills inspite of having collected the amount religiously from us, and used it on his drinking spree instead. It was a nightmare to live without electricity, and braving the mosquitoes. Unable to bear the agony further, the tenants rallied together, collected a substantial amount of money, to get the owner to reconnect electricity. My patience being worn out, we started looking out for a own flat, since it was the time when a good range of flats were cropping up in the neighbourhood. We found one, paid the money, and shifted bag and baggage to our new place – silently – not revealing even an iota of information about our new place, with the constant fear of previous owner’s recurring midnight knocks haunting me. Though we lived peacefully in our new place for 3 decades, the water woes persisted through out my life. But I missed the affectionate scratching of the big ferocious Alsatian, his paws on my windows, smelling the phulkas I made, and gobbling up as much as he could. The very next year of our shifting house, a very familiar face was staring at me, from the obituary columns of a newspaper. Yes, it was my drunkard owner who troubled me incessantly, but had to leave this mortal world in a hurry, in search of peace at last in his death! What a ‘ spirited ‘ way to leave this world!