Tantanoo goes house-hunting in Chennai – Part 2

Dear friends, readers and that occasional Renuka Shahane admirer,  welcome to the second edition of ‘Tantanoo goes house-hunting in Chennai’.

In the last episode, you read about my adventures with Sulekha.

This episode begins with a riddle: duraipakamoppAKDRtowergrndflorfivehundredmfromOMR

This was one of the clues on the Amazing Race – Shollinganallur Edition and as you might have guessed, it translates to “Thoraipakkam, Opposite AKDR Tower, Ground Floor, Five hundred meters from Old Mahabalipuram Road” (I think). With advertisements like these, I had almost given up on the interwebz. I had also never imagined that bachelorhood was going to be such a big hurdle in such an insignificant test in life. So I decided to give up on bachelorhood too.



During this time, I also contacted someone called Mr. Money. I sent a senti text message to him wondering if he’d consider bachelors for his house. Mr. Money wrote an elaborate response to my emotional message – ‘NO’.

Anyway, how often do you get a chance to meet someone called Money?

We were in constant touch with brokers who showed us 37 apartments all near Indira Nagar Water Tank. One of them was in a locality that’ll feature in Slumdog Millionaire’s sequel. Then we saw another one, that was actually in a decent place but the owners had an overnight change of heart and informed us the next day that they probably won’t let it out to bachelors. Then we saw a few apartments in a neighbourhood that’s the underbelly of the RO Water syndicate that converts corporation water into bullion(a RO water distributor once offered a friend of mine a job supplying water cans that paid more than his software-job salary but that’s for another day). The cherry on the cake was this apartment in the same area that had a different color on each wall. So one wall was pink, the next one yellow and the one right next to it was green. There was a brown wall in there somewhere as well. It had two beds, both from different parts of India.


(Hope was running as thin as Keira Knightly)

I had some help though. A friend from twitter(and Facebook) who wishes to stay anonymous, sent me a message that read as if it has come from ISI:

Agent – 990031231231231

Agent 2 – 99812621231212

Agent 3 – 89213127124213

Agent Alwarpet – 9921312731273

Agent Anand – 993298423423

Agent Gopalapuram – 98234823423424

Agent Jinnah Bhai – 983242342342

Agent Mohan – 993298423423

Agent Munish – 9921312731273

Agent Pugazh – 993298423423

Agent Senthil – 9921312731273

Agent Thomas – 993298423423

Agent Tony – 9921312731273

Agent Vinayagham – 993298423423

Jinnah and Anand are recommended.

The only thing missing in that message was an Agent Vinod.

The craiglist person from the previous episode responded, btw:

I had a few questions:

a) Who will be signing the agreement? One person or all of you? What happens is one person leaves the group?

d) Who will take responsibility for upkeep of the house?

c) Nowadays the security conditions are very stringent. Are you willing to sign the police form with photo etc?

These are some of the questions I had. I have nothing against bachelors but due to illegal activities there are a lot of security considerations.

I actually wanted to meet this guy and answer all his questions while trying to keep a straight face but then a friend’s boss’s boss contacted us and we learned that his house is emptay!




So, come October, I’ll be living in this house that’s both in Chennai and not in Chennai(it’s behind the DLF IT Park, I have my doubts). It’s the Schrodinger’s cat of houses.

and I hate it.

I hate change.

I hate it more than I hate Youtube ads. Most of all, I hate the idea of not living in this apartment anymore. This house has been some semblance of a home in Chennai. Once upon a time when I was struggling in a PG accomodation with water so hard, it turned my ass into pumice stone, I chanced upon the ad for this house. We fought with the PG guy, lost a bit of money and moved into this apartment. It was a fully-serviced apartment with multiple geysers and multiple bais. I could see my office from the balcony along with some pretty women and balding uncles in veshtis gathering for evening adda. We didn’t pay any safety deposit and my roommates were awesome. There was a basketball hoop, two TT tables and a Japanese restaurant. There was a driveway and a banyan tree. There were pigeons – having sex, infiltrating the kitchen, playing antakshari early in the morning and most importantly – shitting on the AC. There were card games that lasted all night and then people went to office and ran the same script multiple times on a production server and almost got fired. There were marathon chai sessions followed by carrom sessions followed by more chai. There were girls living in the apartment across the floor. There was a wi-fi connection that was named after their flat. There were jamming sessions with lyrics on a Macbook and chords on an iPhone.

It will be tough leaving all this behind(and traveling 13 kilometers a day to bitch about OpenOffice). But now I live with people with hairy chests who refuse to wear t-shirts.  People who watch Life OK for hours while nibbling on a Snickers bar and would bicker over 30 bucks. People who’ve abused the fridge so much, it sometimes weeps at night. People who I feel should be castrated so they don’t produce more of their kind(yeah, I hate them THAT much).

So for the greater good of mankind(and for the greater good of my blood pressure), I’ll be moving to a new address, a new home. It’s a blank canvas and I’ll get to color it as I want. If all is well, I’ll probably have @prdyt as a neighbour and we’ll form a coalition and bring Twitter down. There’ll be more stories, more lafda to blog about.

and there’ll always be pigeons.


Tantanoo goes house-hunting in Chennai

The last few weeks have been, to say the least, abysmal. I survived a train accident. I lost my Lava phone and two sim cards. My bank balance and Vatican City’s population are #samething now. I hardly read any book and am ridiculously behind on my reading challenge. My to-do list is longer than all the dossiers we’ve sent to Pakistan combined.

In other words, I’ve been knee-deep in shit.

And then, we got an eviction notice.


I returned from work one night to find a piece of paper that said that we are supposed to leave our house and look for a new accommodation. The only thing that notice was missing was an ‘Or Else’ at the end. We had 15 days to find a new place. We now have a month’s time to find a new place(after bargaining with the bastards) but this house hunt is proving to be an Abhimanyu-leaving-Chakravyuh-level difficult task.

I’ve lived in this house for over an year and a half now and even though we pay enough rent to buy a little oil well in the Middle East, it is what I’ve call Home. Not anymore.

So began the house-hunting process which I shall document here.

Like any self-respecting software engineer, the first thing I tried was The first time I went there, it took me to the US edition. Thanks to it, I now have conclusive proof that Bangalore is actually a foreign country.


(America can’t blame Bangalore for outsourcing anymore)


Even when I went to the Indian edition of Sulekha, it refused to accept that I am in Chennai.




After much convincing, Sulekha finally decided to let me search for advertisements in Chennai. We were basically looking for a flat in any area that’s either near Tidel Park(my office) or near the DLF IT Park(room-mate’s office). That’s almost a third of Chennai, I think. And boy did we get some awesome advertisements.

“Wooden Wardrobes are in both the bedrooms. Parking available in the compound. The wonderful owner stays in Santhome.”

“Furnished individual house with covered car park, separate three phase electricity, copious soft water for rent”

and then there were the occasional ads for Lady bachelors that kept us amused. Anyway, we got a few numbers and rang them. Sample one of the responses:

Me: Hello


Me: Sir, I noticed your ad on for a 2BHK house.


Me: that’s ok sir but..


Me: OK sir, but…



Him: Oh bachelorsaa? Sorry, we don’t entertain bachelors.

*disconnects the call*

or this:

Room-mate: Hello, ma’am, I called regarding the 1BHK house in Ramapuram, I saw the ad on

Her: Okay, you want for a family?

Room-mate: No ma’am, we are bachelors.

Her: Oh, we don’t want to give a house to bachelors, are you from North India?

Room-mate: Yes ma’am, I am from Bhopal, thanks for.. (he’s about to disconnect the call)

Her: You see, if we keep north indian chaps we need to go to the police station and give information

Her: and it is a lot of trouble.. so you see, we don’t like to give our house to bachelors

Room-mate: Okay ma’am (about to disconnect again)

Her: So don’t mind, ok? If you are family, let me know, we’ll consider.



So if you are a broke North-Indian bachelor in Chennai, God help you in your quest to find a decent house. If you are a non-vegetarian, then add another ‘Fuck you’ to your quest, BAD BAD NON-VEGETARIAN, NO HOUSE FOR YOU.

and then there was an ad that came with strict piracy laws:




After a few more fully ‘furniched’ houses, our mail boxes looked like this:




Then we turned to newspapers, with almost similar results. One uncle showed us a 19th century flat that had a split a/c but windows that won’t shut. There was one guy who wanted three years rent in advance. We also paid the Chennai Craigslist a visit – where we found a guy who wanted to have sex on a train and offered a train ticket to any girl who was interested and a couple looking for an intellect threesome partner.

We are also in touch with brokers who take a month’s rent in advance. It is like a 50% sale, you want to look for a house with cheaper rent so you don’t have to pay the broker more. That is also why they call them Brokers, once you deal with them, you’ll be broke.

This one broker took us to a shady 1 bedroom terrace-based apartment in a shady building in Guindy which belonged to a politician. The room had an a/c, shady lighting and a mirrored wall next to a double bed. I bet it features in a few MMSes.

To cut a sad story short, we haven’t found a home yet and are still looking for a decent place to live.

If you have a place in Chennai where two bachelors from North India who are not criminals and can behave themselves on weekdays can live, please drop in a word. (I’d really love a house with a balcony from where I could see this bumbling city and curse all those Sulekha ad wallahs into oblivion).

(To be continued)


Some handy tips if you are house-hunting in Chennai:

  • CCP: It stands for Covered Car Parking and is something that you won’t be using but will be charged for anyway.
  • 1RK: 1 Room Kitchen.
  • If you are looking for a place near the Ramapuram area, be prepared for a lot of false alarms. 90% advertisements for the Ramapuram area are actually for areas apart from Ramapuram like Nesapakkam, Mowglivakkam(that’s what it sounded like on the calls) and many such nested pakkams and vakkams.
  • Check what kind of two-wheeler your broker has. I had to make rounds of Adyar on a Luna.
  • If you are looking at ads from Bharatrentals or Clickrentals, be prepared to buy a time-machine cause people stopped using them last year.