The Landlord Raj: The Clauses in the Lease You Failed to Notice
Your transgressions are based on clauses in the lease that make themselves visible only after you move in.
My landlord wears an expression akin to Chaudhry Baldev Singh and the Incredible Hulk, dons a tiger suit and brandishes a yellow roll of parchment – my lease – held together by a red ribbon that glints savagely in the sunlight.
However, like a true-blue shikari, he puts on his camouflage clothes when he goes hunting. During this time, he dresses like a civilian, nods his head agreeably and emanates a fatherly halo that would easily draw in a potential tenant.
Little would the tenant know, that a year from then, the very sight of him would make her want to land her fist...where the sun don’t shine.
The lord is a sentimentalist. He lounges in his makeshift duvet, flanked by his aides on both sides, whispering sweet nothings into his ears. To his left is the 19th century, dressed as the 21st, and to his right is a broker, dressed as a...broker.
The landlord’s eyes permit no change. A sanskaari alarm is triggered off the second they sense any wrongdoing. His aides consult each other in hushed whispers and wave my lease before his eyes very often.
The transgressions, you see, are based on a few clauses in the lease. These clauses make themselves visible only after the tenant moves in. After about a month of moving in, the Invisibility Cloak lifts and the tenant starts noticing sections in the lease that are customized according to her social positioning.
I am young , single and unmarried. And a woman. So, I come with baggage.
I am met with pursed lips and raised eyebrows, and a few expectations:
How To Shower Without Irking The Alarm
I wear a bell around my neck that rings everytime someone says 'izzat'. Now, imagine the number of times it rings and the subsequent noise it creates. That’s too much clamour for the neighbours. Sometimes, I am advised to take a shower with my clothes on, lest the bell starts ringing again.
The Hugh Hefner In Me
At some point, I will be tempted to make a Playboy mansion out of my apartment. It will be a free-loving fantasia that will hypnotize all members of the housing society and lull them in to be a part of my degeneration.
When I Pull A King Kong
On account of my bubbling, hot blood and the Vandal Gods I pray to, I am expected to destroy every fixture in the apartment. You see, my youth is my own undoing. There is a side of me that thumps my chest and lets out a war-cry every time I, along with my friends, am left to our own devices in the apartment.
My animal instincts are way beyond my control.
Since I am unmarried, I am expected to lunge at the first sight of my prey (in my case- an unsuspecting person of the opposite sex) and drag him by his scruff into the apartment.
That will raise the raised eyebrows further. They will balk, gasp and then make the young boy wear a bell too. Yesterday morning, a stir was caused by a false alarm because the newspaper man was asked to wear a bell.
The Burn In My Pocket
I am graced with regular phone calls from the lord, right before the rent is due. You know, just in case my lawlessness tempts me to hitchhike to no man’s land forever.
Killing Two Birds With One Stone?
Lastly, I wait for the lord , every now and then, to pay me a visit and check on me, with a puja thaali in hand. I don’t even need a bell for the aarti, when he arrives. I have one around my neck.
(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.