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 Sulekha.com. 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.
(ARE YOU IN BANGLORE? NO? WHY AREN’T YOU IN BANGALORE? WHAAAI?)
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: Sir, I noticed your ad on Sulekha.com for a 2BHK house.
Him: YES. IT IS A 2BHK HOUSE WITH 24 HOUR RUNNING WATER AND IS IN A VERY GOOD LOCALITY..
Me: that’s ok sir but..
Him: AND IT HAS A COVERED CAR PARKING AND..
Me: OK sir, but…
Him: IT IS WELL CONNECTED TO THE REST OF THE CITY YOU KNOW, BUS STAND AND ALL IS THERE.
Me: OK SIR BUT WILL YOU RENT IT OUT TO BACHELORS?????
Him: Oh bachelorsaa? Sorry, we don’t entertain bachelors.
*disconnects the call*
Room-mate: Hello, ma’am, I called regarding the 1BHK house in Ramapuram, I saw the ad on Sulekha.com
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 – http://chennai.craigslist.co.in/ 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.