Video Editor: Abhishek Sharma
I'm a stand-up comedian and a disability rights activist. I had a harrowing experience at a hostel in Mumbai, where I was denied a bed.
I flew from Hyderabad to Mumbai on 23 November. I had booked a bunk bed in the women's dorm at Namastey Mumbai Backpackers.
I made my hostel bookings from Booking.com, and the only issue that I experienced while booking the bed was that there was no option for a lower bed, so I booked an upper bed. I thought there would be somebody who would be willing to exchange the bed for a night or two.
As a person with disability, I always try to do my research beforehand about the place. So, I called the hostel after the booking to know about the washroom accessibility.
They told me that staff members may or may not be available but they will help me with the cleaning. So, I was aware of this and did not have to worry about it.
I reached the hostel around 10 pm on 23 November. When I entered, the manager was right there, and I told him about my booking.
He told me that it would be difficult for me to stay over there. He went on to say that I had booked an upper bunk bed and that there was no lower bed available.
I asked him if he could request someone to exchange beds with me. Then, he said that this wasn't about the lower bed but the fact that I would not be comfortable. I told him I would be comfortable.
Later, the manager said that even though you would be comfortable, others would not. I was completely shocked after hearing this. I lost the presence of my mind. I couldn’t believe I was told that somebody would be uncomfortable because of me.
I Deserve an Apology
I would expect an apology from them instead of them being defensive and trying to prove their point because under no circumstance is it fine for them to ask anybody to leave their accommodation at 10:30 at night, especially a person with a disability. I am not using my disability as a victim card, but it does make it difficult for me to navigate a lot of things.
I deserve an apology for the way I was treated. It was inhuman and uncalled for, and I could have managed one night there with some help.
The Hostel's Response to The Quint
Speaking to The Quint, Abul Choudhary, the manager of Namastey Mumbai Backpackers said, “The website from where the booking was made (Booking.com) mentions that the hostel is not fit for people with disability. The only reason no accommodation was given to Shweta was that there were no lower beds available.”
Upon asking if the hostel is planning to make the space accessible for people with disabilities, Choudhary said, “We’re trying our best to make our hostel inclusive for people with disabilities, but we have our own limitations as the building is very old.”
We, at The Quint, scanned the hostel's website and Booking.com, but no details on accessibility to people with disability is mentioned anywhere.
(All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)