They say it is easier to find a job in Mumbai but it is difficult to find a house. And if you are a person like me, looking for an accommodation without brokerage, you can either pray to God or login to facebook group Flats and Flatmates.
When I was coming to Mumbai for the first time, I was very excited. I always wanted to stay here for at least a few years. Thanks to my job, I was finally here. As my organization didn’t provide me with any initial accommodation, I decided to call my best friend. “Hey Kaushik. What’s up! I got posted to Mumbai and will join next week.” He replied “that’s good news, so where will you be staying?” I sensed a scariness in his voice though I had no option but to give him the bad news. “Initially I will stay at your place for a few days than I will search for a place near my office at Borivali.” With a heavy heart he replied “Sure dude, you are most welcome”
Finally I reached Mumbai on a chilly Sunday. Now, Mumbai when you see in movies is totally different from the reality. In movies, the roads are clear, there is no traffic, and people stay in big apartments. Even the local trains are empty. But when I came here I saw the real Mumbai. I found this harsh reality to be shocking to say the least. I got my first shock when I was in the auto and the auto was suddenly stuck in traffic. 15 minutes and we didn’t move, but the meter was moving. Coming from Ahmedabad, where there is no waiting charge, I told the auto driver, “Your meter is faulty. It is moving even when we are not” He looked back and said with a subtle smile “Aap Gujarat se aaye hai kya?” (Are you from Gujarat?) I replied, “Yes”. He said “Welcome to Mumbai” and welcome to waiting charges in auto. After being stuck in traffic for 2 hours and paying 510 rupees to the auto driver, I finally reached Kaushik’s place and unpacked.
A few days went by and I still had no accommodation. In college I and Kaushik were best friends but after staying at his place for 10 days, I would say we were friends. And I knew if I stayed there for 10 more days we will become just acquaintances. His roommates had already stopped talking to me. The maid had warned me that the security guard was asking her who that unwanted person is staying in flat 301. I discussed my problems with my colleague and he just smiled and said “Welcome to Mumbai”
I had decided that next Saturday I will finalize a house and shift on Sunday. It was already Friday so I decided to shortlist all the options which I can visit. With a prayer, I logged on to facebook and searched for all the options on the group Flats and Flatmates. I am not sure who created the group but I know for sure he must have been a bachelor who had struggled for an accommodation in Mumbai.
Saturday morning before leaving I told my friend Kaushik, “Tomorrow I will be shifting” The happiness on his face was eminent. As I began my search from one place to another, I came across various characters. The rent in Mumbai was so high that what you could get an entire flat in the Ahmedabad in the amount you pay per head in Mumbai. There was this one guy who told me “If you don’t smoke, you can’t stay here as people who smoke generally eat less and you will eat more which means expenses won’t be divided properly” Another person told me that I can stay there till they find a person from their state as they prefer someone from their state as their roommate. I didn’t find any decent place in the entire day. I was too tired so I entered a nearby mall to get some air conditioning.
I was roaming around in the mall with thoughts of what will I say to Kaushik and his roommates. Suddenly I bumped into this spa with a heading “Bangkok in Mumbai” I had heard a lot about Bangkok and things you can do there so I decided to check it out. As I entered, there was a Thai girl who welcomed me with a smile. She was slim, beautiful and tall. Not taller than me, she was just about my height, perfect for me. With a pleasing smile she said “Good evening Sir, how can I help you” I was puzzled and didn’t know what to reply. She realized it was my first time at a spa. “Sir, as it seems you have never availed our services before, I suggest you go for our basic standard procedure for 60 mins dry massage.” “But here in India, we use oil” I replied. Yes sir “This is Thai massage, it is different from the Ayurvedic massage” “How is it different” I asked. “Ayurvedic massage starts with your head and then moves down. Thai massage is the reverse. We start with your feet and then slowly move upwards.” Any more questions sir? “Yes, you are from Thailand?” “Yes Sir.” “So how did you find accommodation in Mumbai?” “My employers found it for me Sir.” “Oh, lucky girl. Let me first find an accommodation and then I will come back to your spa.”
As I was leaving the place, I realized how obsessed I had become with my house hunting. After lot of struggle, I did find a place and shifted the next week but the entire week I used to get up at 7 and leave before my friend and his roommates woke up. By that time I already had my separate key so I used to come home late.
After shifting at my new place, life was peaceful for about 6 months, when suddenly I got a call from my school friend “Hi Deepak, I got a job in Mumbai and will reach there on next Monday” It was a dejavu moment for me. With a scared voice, I replied. “Oh great!! Welcome to Mumbai. So where will you be staying?” “Actually my uncle told me to stay at his place but I told him Deepak is there, my best friend, why should I go anywhere else.” With a heavy heart I replied “Sure dude, you are most welcome” He stayed at my place for a month. We don’t talk to each other anymore. How many best friends have stayed at your place?