Prelude to The Roommate Chronicles, Season Two
I wasn’t expecting it to be easy. I didn’t expect to walk into the first flat on my list, be confronted by a plush carpet, impeccable furniture and a room with a skylight that could be all my own, so I could say, “Bingo! Here’s the room I’ve always wanted for my own,” and spin off a sequel to The Room on the Roof. Creative satisfaction, sadly, takes second place. What I need now, at this very moment, is a room with a roof.
I’m not technically homeless, but will be, soon, if the city of Bangalore isn’t kind enough to conjure up a decent little hovel for a moderately choosy young woman with few friends. Airborne was cruelly dragged out of bed (technically, he didn’t even have a chance to get into it after a night of work) bright and early Saturday morning to accompany this stray waif.
A sheet of paper scribbled over with numerous addresses was our only guide- and Airborne’s slight familiarity with the locality came in useful. His dashing good looks didn’t help, of course, because leaving girls speechless and have them gape at him wasn’t quite part of the plan- detrimental, rather, to what we were supposed to be doing. I cut him some slack, though- it wasn’t his fault, after all- and we trudged down the sunshiny lanes, looking at houses that flattered to deceive.. Some places even veered towards being seedy- the cramped rooms filled with girls were rather reminiscent of brothels, which isn’t a very nice comparison, but perfectly true.
I questioned potential roommates. It didn’t help that the girls wore inanely deadpan expressions- one of them looked like she’d just finished watching The Blair Witch Project (what was actually playing on TV was a Katrina Kaif movie, so I wouldn’t really blame her) and would burst into tears any moment. That said, I didn’t make a dazzling exhibition of intelligence either. CID-ish interrogation not being my forte, I’d ask a couple of questions, smile, blink and say goodbye. I beat a hasty retreat wherever I was told I’d have to cook my own food or share a room with two others. Forget three, two is a crowd when you’re talking roommates.
Reprieve came in the form of a kindly aunt’s place, litchi juice, an offer for lunch declined politely (in Airborne’s words, to avoid being barbecued by a friend who we were supposed to lunch with- and who might potentially be my saviour) and decent conversation. The relief, of course, was momentary- because before the next installment of The Roommate Chronicles finds its way here, there is quite a bit of traipsing to be done, and all kinds of men and women to be dealt with.