Like any other girl of today, I was dreamt of having my own little space. Blame it on soap operas or Bollywood films, I always longed for the day when I will have the entire house to myself. I can enter the house at any time without giving any explanation to anyone, design my room as they show in Pinterest, order food online, not make my bed (on most of the days) and pay my own bills.
The dream of living alone, though my family is my lifeline, came true after I landed a job in Guwahati. While I was shortlisting interior items for my new ‘room’ on rent, I realized it is easier to get a job than a house in Guwahati. Finding a place for single working girls in the city is a herculean task.
If you are a single working woman and looking for a secured, affordable and descent house in Guwahati, chances are very high that you will be preferred over your male counterparts or even families most of the times. House hunting in Guwahati can literally give you nightmares.
A girl will be asked hundreds of questions as compared to a boy. Then each zone in Guwahati comes with its own problem. Some areas have water issues, some lanes overflow with water! Some areas are ‘too far away’ from your office located among the swanky malls in GS Road. And some owners are like ‘We don’t rent rooms to girls’, ‘male friends/brothers/cousins not allowed (I wanted to ask if my father can visit!). Let me tell you, I don’t trust house brokers and the PGs/hostels are an absolute no-no. And house prices vary lane to lane!
Last year, when I was hired in a media organization, I started to look out for a small, cosy place to live in. I initially put up in a PG. Almost every day after office; I started to visit ‘Room on Rent’, ‘House vacant’ places. After searching for four months, I came across a place in Lachit Nagar and decided to move in. After months of struggle, I finally have my own place. I said to myself ‘All’s well that’s end well’ and how wrong I was.
I don’t know why but my house owner was reluctant to switch on the water motor most of the days. I had to struggle even to fill a bucket of water, had to follow weird curfew timings. Each day, I had to face a new problem. There was no separate electricity meter box in my room. The owner used to decide on his own and it was never less than 1000 bucks!
One day, I thought enough is enough and started looking for another house. I Googled ‘house on rent’ in Guwahati, rang up landowners and met a few of them. ‘With who you will be sharing your place’, ‘We will give the room to only good girls’, ‘No men should visit you’, ‘No late night’…I was bombarded with questions, warnings and suggestions.
After another round of struggle, I finally got my new house which I am sharing with my friend. I still have the saved Pinterest stamps. I have new stuff in my ‘interiors must-have’ list.
Living alone taught me the meaning of patience. I learnt to manage – from laundry to cylinder. I learnt to move on and be hopeful. I learnt to manage my finances well. It feels good to come to back to your small den after a hard day at work. Living alone in Guwahati has prepared me for life.
The views expressed by the author are personal and may not in any way represent those of TIME8.