1. Have an Interesting Snippet to Share : Click Here
    Dismiss Notice

Travails Of A Taunted Tenant

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Agatha83, Mar 22, 2018.

  1. Agatha83

    Agatha83 IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    1,231
    Likes Received:
    2,197
    Trophy Points:
    300
    Gender:
    Female
    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!
     
    Loading...

  2. GeetaKashyap

    GeetaKashyap IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    3,921
    Likes Received:
    9,215
    Trophy Points:
    460
    Gender:
    Female
    Aww...@Agatha83, what an experience! I would say dreadful! I was comparatively very lucky to move into our own flat with all the facilities. I admire your attitude for a spirited survival.
     
    Agatha83 likes this.
  3. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra Finest Post Winner

    Messages:
    12,648
    Likes Received:
    22,693
    Trophy Points:
    538
    Gender:
    Male
    Dear Agatha,

    What a way to finish your snippet with that double-meaning sentence. I can't believe he dared to knock the window of your portion and asked for money in the middle of the night. It is really scary.

    If you live with flowing water for 24 hours in Chennai, I would doubt that you live in a different city than what I know. Mostly, there will be portable water and water for bathing and washing coming through two separate pipes. I am not sure when the water problem in Chennai will come to an end.

    I remember the days when we used to wake up at 4 a.m. to draw water through hand pump. I am glad you are now settled in your own place peacefully.

    Viswa
     
    knbg and Agatha83 like this.
  4. jayasala42

    jayasala42 IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    5,238
    Likes Received:
    10,341
    Trophy Points:
    438
    Gender:
    Female
    Dear Agatha,
    Wonderful narration of water woes in Chennai.We have also suffered a lot in ondukudiththanam in initial stages. Toilets had no proper bolts inside.We had to keep a bucket of water outside just to indicate someone is in. Some urchins used to take away the bucket making the user very much embarassed.

    Side portions were very common and flat culture was not in vogue. There were three days' holidays. Myself and husband decided to go to Madurai, Ramanathapuram and other places. We didn't inform my mother-in-law in Trichy as we were to return in three days.It so happened that my sister-in-law 's new born baby had some severe stomach ailments ,had to be operated immediately in Madras. Hoping that we will be at home all of them six or 7 people arrived at our house and saw the portion to be locked. The partitioned house had the advantage.The house owner let them in, opened all the side doors /When we returned after 3 days, we were shocked to see our doors open. Operation was successfully performed. The baby was ok. They left after a fortnight.
    There were no phones.There was no way to contact. Now there is too much of communications. Yet during crisis, we may get an engaged tone, or 'switched off'.

    Thank you for rewinding my memories.
    Jayasala42
     
  5. Iravati

    Iravati Platinum IL'ite

    Messages:
    2,430
    Likes Received:
    2,100
    Trophy Points:
    283
    Gender:
    Female

    Same here! In between my abroad travels, I was in India for a short time and had to look out for a short-let flat. I was single, carefree & godless, and don't look a bit susheel traditional (or so I have been told). Imagine my plight to finagle a short-let flat in India. Finally I found a beautiful flat with wrap-around balcony and 24 hours water. The flat faced an active cemetery and was offered at a knockdown rent. The landlord was happy to let it to single ladies. I took the flat. I was told that the burial was interment and not cremation. I was happy, no noxious smoke! During my first few weeks, I used to frequently ascend to the terrace by lift but walked my way down. Before long, the terrace was shut out. I was surprised. I was told that the lift was misused by a "ghost" which summoned the lift up whilst no one was around in the terrace on inspection. I didn't disabuse the fearful neighbourhood of the wicked ghost playing pranks on lifts. If I had disabused them of the visiting ghosts from the cemetery, my reformed landlord would have raised my rent. Good flats, that too with gushing water, come by hard. I was willing to share my roomy accommodation with the ghosts, in case they fancied a supper at my place.
     
    knbg, Agatha83 and satchitananda like this.
  6. satchitananda

    satchitananda IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    17,734
    Likes Received:
    25,673
    Trophy Points:
    590
    Gender:
    Female
    Dear Agatha,

    enjoyed reading your experience. Sad when one has to struggle so much to just find a roof over one's head.

    When we first moved out of BH"s parental house, we moved into a rented house - a nice flat in a good locality. However, the owners, both of whom were school teachers would constantly try to talk down to us because of religious differences. I was least bothered but BH used to get quite upset. Eventually - it was barely 2 months since we moved and fil passed away. BH decided to give up the flat and move back to his mother's home.

    The story with our house owners in my mom's home was totally different. Our relationship spans over 66 years now. In between the house was broken down and flats built and my parents got one flat in that building. If I choose to write about our story, it will run into volumes. Unfortunately now we have to sell off mom's flat but it will go back to the original owner's son which is nice. The relationship will continue as usual. After all we have been one family since so many years. My parents were just lucky.

    Talking of ghosts, they are the most peaceful neighbours one can have. They don't suffer from drunken stupors. They don't have late night parties and disturb one's sleep. So all in all quite desirable souls to have next door. :p
     
    knbg, Agatha83 and GeetaKashyap like this.
  7. Agatha83

    Agatha83 IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    1,231
    Likes Received:
    2,197
    Trophy Points:
    300
    Gender:
    Female
    Dear GK,

    Imagine what a tramautic experience it could have been, having had to live with such a disreputable landlord, so much so that even after 5 decades, I am able to recall even the minute details with amazing clarity. When we are young, we have all the courage and confidence that comes along with our age!
    Agatha83
     
    knbg and GeetaKashyap like this.
  8. Agatha83

    Agatha83 IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    1,231
    Likes Received:
    2,197
    Trophy Points:
    300
    Gender:
    Female
    Dear Viswa,

    One best thing about my landlord’s midnight knocks was that he always called me ‘ sister’, but it was always his drunken drawl that scared the daylights out of me.

    Yes, even after 5 decades the water problems persist, but with years of experience, we have become experts in disaster management system. Even the slightest problem with the water pump, you can see our entire house filled with water containers, from big storage buckets to smallest cup!

    Agatha83
     
    knbg likes this.
  9. Agatha83

    Agatha83 IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    1,231
    Likes Received:
    2,197
    Trophy Points:
    300
    Gender:
    Female
    Dear Jayasala,

    You have wonderfully narrated your experience of having had to live in ’ ondukudithanam’ which was quite prevalent decades back. I still remember the experience of having lived in a house with my parents, which had a common toilet, for six tenants. Every morning there would be long queue in front of the toilet, the tenants waiting patiently for their turn, with bucket of water.
    As you have rightly said, technology has grown fast by leaps and bounds, but human beings are withdrawing themselves in to a shell!

    Agatha83
     
  10. Agatha83

    Agatha83 IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    1,231
    Likes Received:
    2,197
    Trophy Points:
    300
    Gender:
    Female
    Dear Iravathi,

    Welcome to my blog space, this being your first FB to my write up, among so many others , that I have been posting here regularly. I am always stumped by your style of writing, many times leaving me breathless, due to the hard work I have to put in, turning up the dictionary pages. No hard feelings, only a compliment from an old lady!

    It is a wonder how you got the best apartment, with 24 hrs running Water which itself is a miracle, in a Water starved city. In the present scenario, single women are the harried lot, when it comes to finding a decent accommodation. Even if they get one, it comes with lots of conditions. Like no late nights, no partying, no BFs, no guests- the list is endless.

    I don’t understand the logic behind shutting down the use of lift, fearing misuse by ghosts, because I don’t think the spirits need a lift to reach the terrace. Jokes apart, you are right in saying that Ghosts are better than human beings, when it comes to sharing the space, because they do not make a nuisance of themselves. Thank you for a lively, oops- spirited feedback!

    Agatha83
     

Share This Page