My search for a decent house to purchase went up right up to mid-April, when panic set in. Time had run out -I had to vacate the previous one by the month-end, and I was nowhere close to selecting, leave alone starting the cumbersome paper-work. Before I left for Delhi for a short-trip, I zeroed-in on a nice rental accommodation. On return, I went to pay the advance when the owner dropped a devastating bomb on my well-laid plans: the society will not allow bachelors to stay there. As he spoke those horrifying words the ground shifted beneath my feet, my mouth dried and I felt uncomfortably nauseous. Sitting in the owner’s obnoxiously claustrophobic office, I stammered some well-meaning arguments which fell with impotent futility on his iron-hard demeanor. The only words echoing in my mind were my promises to my then-current owner made just that morning, about vacating the next weekend, and they played relentlessly like a tape in an infinite spool.
Stepping out into the oppressive Mumbai humidity, I turned to my property consultant. I was too frustrated to even get angry at him who should have checked all these details beforehand. On his part, he apologized profusely and frantically dialed his contacts and lined up a few more.
The next few hours felt like a movie hurtled into a frenzied pace, without making any sense or logic – driving from one house to another, tiresomely waiting in the courtyard for keys to arrive, viewing some that befit haunted movies sets than living-in, negotiating with prospective owners (as suddenly I discovered I had to adjust my budget upward). And all this without having eaten either breakfast or lunch or having even a drop of water. Like a parched and shriveled leaf thrown into a gargantuan whirlpool, by the end of that terrifying noon I felt beaten and bruised.
In all this, the sun hammered with its unforgiving fury and the humidity sucked out the last of my waning energies.