Friday, January 2, 2009

Bachelor Woes

Booker Prize winner Aravind Adiga hammers the nail on the head when he says
"If you want to rent a flat in Mumbai, take care you don't belong to that very worst minority: the single man"--(Read: Bachelor bigotry)
Trust me, I know the feeling. I am sure, ten million other "single men" like myself running about their lives in Bangalore, Mumbai or any other city understand this too. Wherever you are, you shouldn't be 'single'. God forbid, if you are ,you shouldn't be a 'man'. There is something about the Indian urban society that makes a 'single man' the least respected entity of the social network. Neighbours look at you as if you are from a different planet. A creature that is obnoxious , dangerous and frightening. No sooner than you open the door of your flat , the respectable housewives of the neighbourhood would whisper to each other in lowered voices. They would silently peek above your shoulder into the flat to try to catch evidence of any 'Bachelor Atrocities' within. The husbands would muster the courage sometimes to knock at your door in the evenings with a emptied bottle of Chivas Regal in their hands and ask you "Excuse me I found this bottle lying outside, but I am sorry, drinking is not allowed in this apartment". No amount of explaining that you are a teetotaller will help. If there is a bottle in the garbage, and there is a bachelor in the apartment, somehow it is obvious that the bottle belongs to the latter.
I see pamphlets in various apartments notice boards. "FLAT 302 for RENT. ONLY FAMILIES, BACHELORS STRICTLY NOT ALLOWED" or sometimes "PG ACCOMMODATION AVAILABLE , STRICTLY LADIES ONLY". It is sad how the same treatment does not apply to single women, married men, or even men who stay with their parents. Its only the lone stag who has got to bear the brunt all the time. If you are new to the city, learn from the veterans. Never ever reveal to a prospective landlord that you are a single man. The best you could do is to tell them that you are moving in with your mother (please note it has got to be mother, not father!!). I know friends who bring their mother from as far as Assam or Punjab just for the day of the interview with the landlord. The mother does not have to say or do anything. She just needs to be in the room while you negotiate the terms with your landlord. Once, you have managed to convince the landlord that you are really not single, and that you are the loving son of your loving mother, that your hobbies are Bhajans and your favourite singer is M S Subbalaxmi, then and only then you get the flat. Your mother can stay for the first week or so, lest the landlord make a visit to see if you are a happy ,God fearing ,family.
It is interesting to imagine that the same landlord, or the neighbour's husband, was a bachelor once upon a time himself. And how he must have enjoyed partying, lazing and rock music. It is amazing how he would have irresponsibly kept his own house dirty, with his socks on the fridge and his toothpaste on the bed. It is unfathomable how he loses all his 'irresponsibility' and all his 'bachelor values' when he ties the knot. He changes into a responsible 'Man of the house' who imagines that every single man in the country would be as irresponsible as he was , when he was a bachelor.
Single men, will be great friends with other single men. But only until the other men remain single as well! Once married, the single men have to find other single men. That's the rule of law.The same things that excite and engage a man as long as he is single doesn't seem right to him, the moment he is married. Pizzas and burgers become junk food. colas turn bad for the digestive system, Pink Floyd becomes loud music, beer becomes alcoholic and parties make him miss on his sleep. Thus the single men get socially out casted and they silently eat at Mc Donald's everyday with the other single men.
I can understand the roots of discrimination against race,color,sex, religion, caste or nationality. I can't understand the true motive behind legally allowing the discrimination against 'single men' to exist. As I am writing this, I hear a news clip on the BBC, on how people in Japan are protesting against shipping in the deep seas, as it may disturb the peaceful existence of whales. 'Whales have a right to live' says a placard. All I want to say is 'Lucky Whales!!'

2 comments:

Sita said...

Its sad that bachelors are treated like aliens. Owners forget that they too have married after passing through he phase of "bachelorhood"

I just want to say that if at all I happen to own a house and want to give it for rent, the ad shall read "House available for rent, All are welcome"

I hope Aravind Adiga will read this!!:))

Anonymous said...

good one man ... :)