It was way back in 2004 when I was pursuing bachelor degree and was very new in the capital city of Delhi. Life in a metro for a new comer is always difficult. However, thanks to my two other roommates Divya and Swati, from my hometown Dehradun, who cushioned my life with their warmth through my thick n thins. Not that I liked warm weather, but life was easy with them amid all struggle & problems. And the biggest problem in our life was our landlady.
A middle aged lady with 2 kids and husband working in a different city, had rented the house’s 1st floor to three of us. However, little did we know that she had decided to screw our peace of mind. Since all three of us (Divya, Swati and I) worked in night shifts, we routinely returned home in the wee hours of the morning. The house had a common entrance which became a big setback for us. Initially the house owner agreed to the terms and conditions of our working hours. She happily unbolted the gate for us initially, within the first few days of moving in.
Gradually she grew irritated of our odd routine that spoiled her sleep. Possibly she realized that renting the floor to three girls working in BPO was the biggest mistake of her life. The happy welcome and "koi baat nahi beta" soon turned into frowns. Days turned into weeks and for reasons unexplained she transformed to a circus ring master sans a whip.
I failed to understand how were we three responsible if water supply was stopped by the municipality or if there was power cut for whole day? She kept a close watch on the consumption of water by three of us! Holy cow! Who does that!!! And if the tank ran empty some day she would plug out the motor or conveniently say it is out of order. I started to hate her and staying in the house located in East Delhi.
She often came to us and complained of noises that caused her disturbance. Where did she hear noises from? In our absence at night was there some ghost dancing on the floor? While we slept during the day, we never heard noises. We wondered if she was mentally sick or she hated our presence. God knows! I only know one thing, that her condition was serious. Her tantrums were disturbing and we moved into a new house post few months of stay there. She was Case#1 a serious case of mental disorder without any reason. I assume she had tenantomaniasm (Don’t laugh. I coined the term for those who hate their tenants)
We relocated to a new house in South Delhi. Congested and crowded, South Delhi did not appeal to me. I wondered why it was the most posh area of Delhi. Houses were like pigeonhole, lanes as narrow as rat maze, and markets that encroached roads. The landlord of our pigeonhole was a soft spoken gentleman who was never concerned about our office hours or nature of work. Who on Earth knew that it was his wife who would give us all the trouble? On Sundays Divya noticed the landlady cleaning the house early morning. Smita noticed her sweeping the floor two hours later. I saw her mopping the floor somewhere in the afternoon. All three of us noticed her repeating the activity in the evening. That was our first weekend in the new house. She politely remarked, “Beta ghar saaf kar lia karo” (Please clean the house at times)
Our tight schedules of night shifts and sleep during the day left us with no time for ourselves, let alone cleaning the house. She would often sneak into our room and scold us for the messy room or the cobwebs near ceiling.
She dusted, swept and mopped the floor atleast 6 times a day! The maid whom she had hired was instructed to clean the terrace and staircase only. Rest was the landlady’s kingdom which she looked after day night! I wouldn’t be surprised to see her cleaning the house at night as well. She needed treatment for her serious condition of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
So much was her obsession with cleanliness that she did not allow her husband to enter the house when she mopped the floor. Her house was undoubtedly clean, but she skipped her social gatherings, events or parties just because she was busy cleaning the house! Would you laugh if I’d say she sat crossed legs on the floor to have lunch with newspaper spread in front of her, instead of using the huge dining table of her house?
Swati pulled her leg one day asking her to sell the dining table to us. Obviously, the woman grew furious.
Her obsession for tidiness grew with leaps and bounds and that became apparent when she instructed us to hire a maid for cleaning our room. That was not mentioned in our contract! Yet we reluctantly hired a maid to clean the tiny rooms.
In a month’s time, the maid quit the job. Why? Because the landlady was after her life to clean the ceiling everyday and mop the floor twice! God! I knew that #conditionserioushai!
We were suffocated and moved to a new house, this time with no landlord/lady staying in the same house.
Their condition was seriously serious! God bless them with something like Cadbury Five Star. I would have given the dose to them myself, but alas I don’t want to relive the horror by meeting them again. I am happy without any landlady around!
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