Bak Bak Bilal: Story of a Muslim House Hunting in Mumbai
It’s been a month since I moved to Mumbai and just like any other person, I am also looking for houses in this massive city of dreams. The process of finding a house seems very easy initially as everyone you know in the city manages to help you get in touch with a landlord, broker/agent and the likes who have houses available at the snap of their fingers.
I went through a similar process and that worked out well...initially.
I spoke to a few brokers who showed me houses in and around the location of my preference. If I am paying rent then I would want the best in my budget - bang for my buck.
After inspecting some houses, I rejected a few but most rejected me. YES. I have been asked to forget the house by landlords for reasons that were alien to me until I moved to Mumbai or may be my parents just never told me.
The first house that I laid my eyes on rejected me because I was Muslim. There was nothing subtle about it. WE DON’T GIVE OUR HOUSES TO MUSLIMS!
I could negotiate rent, brokerage or any other thing but I really don’t know how to grapple with this. The other two guys moving in with me (who are non-Muslims) were also disappointed with the turn of events. I let it go, thinking that this is a one-time thing. It got worse by the day. Brokers started to lie about me, they would mention names of the other guys and then avoid mentioning me, at least in the initial negotiations.
We had finalised this beautiful house and the owner demanded that there be no cooking of meat in the house and I even agreed. Then out of nowhere, the owner just turned me down. He was convinced that since I am Muslim, I would definitely cook non-vegetarian food, despite my assurances (I can’t even make eggs!).
Anyway, I had accepted my fate as I had all the traits that owners and landlords were ‘NOT’ looking for, but then desperate times call for desperate measures. I still have no house and I keep cranking up my budget so that I can find a good place to stay.
The timeline of the events was something like this-
- I have a budget and I am looking for a good area and a good place to stay.
- I have a budget and I am looking for a good area and a place to stay.
- I have a budget and I am looking for a place to stay.
-Looking for a place to stay.
-Anything will do.
This whole incident was very disappointing but then I realised that there’s not much I can do about it. I spoke to a few people and they said, “Yeah we know this happens, but who has the time to do something about it.”
I asked around if people faced problems while they stayed in Mumbai and there were so many cases and stories. I even managed to speak to a few stand up comics who also had to deal with similar issues during their initial years in Mumbai.
Bachelors, unmarried couples and minorities have faced problems to find roofs over their heads in this city.
My video is a fun take on the whole issue although it needs to be addressed seriously by society. It is humiliating to not be accepted for who you are.
(The Quint is now on WhatsApp. To receive handpicked stories on topics you care about, subscribe to our WhatsApp services. Just go to TheQuint.com/WhatsApp and hit the Subscribe button.)