Once we decided to move to Chennai, the next big hurdle was to find a house. Yours truly and the boy friend set out one fine day to start looking for a house. The broker who promised to show us a couple of houses turned up late. So we were waiting at this junction when boy friend gets this idea that we should walk around and look for ‘to let’ boards. If we find any good house that way, we could save the broker fee. So off we go.
The first house that we find is more like a shack on third floor, the roof of which would probably make it an oven in hot Chennai summers. We were more or less decided on the let's not take this house line when the house owner decided to question us. He asks, "Is it for bachelors or family?" We give him that how on earth can you be so dumb looks and say it's for a family. Then he gives us a bigger shock, asking us whose family, his or mine. We finally tell him that we are the family. He is not convinced. He continues looking at me, "So why are you not wearing kumkum, thali, toe rings or any such things which married women generally wear?” I try telling him we are Christians and hence do not follow such customs. Then he is like these days Christians also use these things. (May be the guy believes that everyone who lives in Hindusthan should follow a Hindu way of life. So much for the change that is in the air!)
He adds, how he would know if we were students trying to pass off as married couple. I want to ask him how that matters to him as long as he gets the rent on time; but give up. Since we were kind of decided that this house is not for us, we didn't waste any more time in explaining things. In any case the man did not seem the type who could get convinced by anything that we could have said.
By the time we were back, the broker had turned up and we resumed house hunting with him. After a bit of roaming around, he took us to a house we kind of liked and decided to pay the advance. The house owner did not ask any difficult questions. We gave our names for the rental agreement and anyone could make out that we belonged to different religions. No questions were raised on that or on marriage. May be he thought that since he is overcharging us by a few thousands, the least he could do is to go about it politely.
Around the same time, a friend in Hyderabad who had rented house, says her house owner was so concerned about her marital status that he would ask her every now and then if she was really married. Exasperated, one day she made him sit and watch her marriage video completely.
In a house near ours, a team of bachelors were asked to vacate a rented house, because they were too noisy, their TV was on most of the time, and they had visitors (read girls).
Moral of the story: Single women, unmarried couple, bachelors, rented houses are not meant for you. Get married, follow all customs and traditions meant for married women and if we are satisfied, we might allow you to rent our houses.