We spoke too soon. On Saturday morning S and I got a rude shock. We went to sign the lease for our new apartment. I was supposed to rush for an interview with a fashion designer right after and he had called up to confirm the time and place. So I excused myself for a few seconds during which I absent-mindedly noticed the landlady showing S a room on her floor that was unoccupied. Even while I was busy noting down what Mr Designer was saying I kept thinking, Why the fuck is she showing a new room to S?
I finished my call just as she too was done. She led the way back to the drawing room. Where her son (this tall gangly guy with hair tied into a knot on the head), says S, was busy applying a face pack and peeking from the loo (it was right opposite to where S was seated). He also put on some music way too loud till his sister yelled and he relented to lower the volume.
Anyways, in between all these distractions I realised the landlady was saying that some guy working with a 5-star hotel had shifted his stuff into the apartment. So could we adjust and stay in a room on her floor, use the loo on the terrace and share her kitchen if at all we cooked? (The latter she was insistent about since she was under the impression that we never cooked).
I was dumbfounded as was S. One look at her face and I saw it had become very grim. I covered my face for a second. The landlady kept staring and saying, "You are like my daughter Simran. We will keep you like her." When we told her that we had irregular working hours, she said, "Of course you will not be using the kitchen at 2 in the morning will you?" Next we suggested that the guy was single and he could easily do with the room she was now offering us. "No actually the hotel is paying for the place through cheque." What was that supposed to mean?
Then she and her husband took us to the terrace to show us the loo. (I felt shrieking at her, "Well would you have let Simran go to a loo on the terrace of a house to shit or pee?") Was this happening? I was ready to cry right then. Here we had given notice to our present landlord and was ready mentally to live in the new house.
Not only had this woman duped us, she had dealt us an underhand blow. For money. She had never even bothered to call us and let us know about it. Damn it, she had given usher word that the apartment was ours for the taking.
So we left our prospective new place with no lease in hand, with no place to live in after the 15th of this month unless our present landlord was thoughtful enough.
Sunday morning: E left for Bombay. We dropped her, came back and went through the classifieds desperate for some ray of light. We went through some 5-6 shitty houses in a place which I had always thought to be shady. Depressed like hell, we landed in another area of the city and walked into some vague property dealer's office. After we trudged back and forth between the broker's office and some three other houses, I can say proudly that it's official. (Touche) We have a new house. And yes, this time we paid some money in advance right on the spot. We are gonna sign the lease today. So I will be a really (I mean really really) broke individual starting today.