When landlords get all up in your bidness

It’s bad enough when your parents hound you for being single and ask why you were out so late last night, but the Christian Science Monitor points to the double standard that single women renters face in India at the hands of their prospective (and over-protective) landlords:

It took Chiya Singh three months and seven real estate agents working in tandem to find an apartment to rent in New Delhi.

The problem wasn’t her credit history or salary. It was her status as a single Indian woman. The questions blocking Ms. Singh from a room of her own were a bit personal, she says. Prospective landlords wanted to know why, at age 29, she wasn’t married and why, as a single person, she didn’t want to live with her parents.

“It was an exhausting process,” Singh says, of trying to find her own place after she divorced. “I became a broken record. They asked ‘Why do you want to live alone?’ I said, ‘Um, because I think I’m old enough.’ “

That response usually netted Singh a cold expression and a vague “We’ll let you know” from the landlord. [Link]

<

p>Because, I mean…why would a single woman want to live by herself?

In India, “If you want freedom, it can only be for one thing – sex,” Singh says. “You want to tell them [landlords], ‘That’s the last thing on my mind. I think I’m old enough to take care of myself.’ But for the landlord, it becomes an issue of respectability.” [Link]

<

p>Right. Here is the even more messed up part. It is okay to rent to single white girls because…well, they are already slutty (or at least that is what the landlord quoted below seems to imply when she says “they are used to living on their own”).

“It’s an Indian mentality,” says Sonia Kakkar, a landlord in South Delhi. “We just feel more protective. You just feel that you are responsible.”

Ms. Kakkar currently rents the second floor of her building to two French women and prefers foreigners because she does not feel as protective of them.

They are used to living on their own,” she says. “If they have a problem with the flat, they come to us. Otherwise, there is no interaction…” [Link]

<

p>Well, to all the parents reading SM let me tell you just exactly what it is that your live-alone daughters in America are doing:

Jennifer Chowdhury just invented the hottest new game in town. Screw the Wii. Ladies, get one of these. Then invite me over (so I can blog about it for the good of the readers I mean)

428 thoughts on “When landlords get all up in your bidness

  1. Eirkanave vera roomula kaatiteine! Evvala tharava venumnaalum kaatarein. Oru kashtamum illai.

  2. athuvaa? avalavuthaana? naa verai ethavathu ethir paarthene. thirippi thiruppi kaattura seramam ethukku? antha oru thadavaiye pothum.

  3. i agree. that was my last post any way. it’s a bit tiring to think of these things in tamil, actually. my rather chaste exposure to tamil has prevented me from learning all the good stuff. damn.

  4. Let’s not even get started on tthe Teenage-Son- Who’s Just Hit Puberty – the ones who make crude passes at single women-friends-of-their-mummmies – read: available ‘female’

    It’s happened to me: amusing yet sickening. I’ve brought this to the attention of the mummy in two cases. Result? Mummy gives me the disgusted scowl and the cold shoulder. Because her son is the Vestal Virgin and we Indians don’t talk about s*x! You see, Mummy’s Sons reproduce and provide bonny grandkids merely by batting his virginal eyelashes at his arranged-bride. He is too pure for crudities like s&x!

    Wonder how he came into this world? Immaculate conception?!!!

    S8X?!! Doesn’t exist! We’re a billion in population, with a huge AIDS crisis but We Don’t Do S7X.

    We’re Bloody Indians

    I can totally vouch for the “women are women’s worst enemies” sentiment

  5. Don’t worry, ak. I gots the good stuff. Meet me in the parking lot after school.

  6. rahul, how about back at my place? it took me so long to find a place – i really need to live up to my reputation as a single woman…

  7. outspoken, you talk about a lot of different things in your post. s&x, s*x, s8x, s7x. What are these?

    And I am glad that woman’s son broke the gender barrier to become a male vestal virgin. The glass floor has lasted too long!

  8. ( @ Rahul)

    that word…you know…the one that Doesn’t Exist in India. Tchee! Cthu! Vat it is this sex-fex you are talkkking? Dirty dirty Againt Indian Culture

    “My Son Doesnot Know Vat is this sex-vex”.

    ( Outspoken silently points to said sons’ browsing history. Rather rife with porn links…)

  9. i ask because she touches his feet. where i come from (i don’t know if its true for the entire north), unmarried women do not have to touch anyone’s feet.

    portmanteau, maybe it’s your region? where my fam is from in the north there’s no such norm re: unmarried women and feet touching. Maybe it’s also a religious difference, though.

    If i was destined for g&t and he for vodka gimlets, perhaps it was not meant to be. if he asked for a tequila shot, there might be something there.

    ak, you are my hero(ine). Never was the fatality of a prospective relationship summed up quite so well.

  10. ak, will you kindly pass on your gimlet rejects to me? and i’ll direct the g&t boys your way. how’s that for brown girl solidarity? we should increase each other’s potential mating pools. rest of the time, of course, we’ll be good little radical feminists.

  11. camille, thanks. what can i say? sometimes the beginnings and sustenance of a relationship lies in the less obvious issues. after my last prospective ordered a cosmopolitan, i knew things would never work. i’m not that kind of girl, you know?

  12. but what of the tequila drinkers?

    And what happens with the worm after drinks are consumed?

  13. but what of the tequila drinkers?

    we can share sometimes, can’t we? but there might be a few alternate ways to settle this.

    1. rawalsian principles. the girl who’s single at the time gets tequila boy i.e. the welfare of the least well-off.

    2. a lottery. karmic justice for all.

    3. good ol’ catfight. may the best woman win ;)

    and rahul, i’m sure you’re hiding your tequila connisseurship (in the event you’re not, the tequila+worm thing is a tacky marketing gimmick. and as everyone knows, we desis are hard-nosed people who would never fall for such lame money-extracting ploys. paisa vasool etc.)

  14. portmanteau, where did I say the worm was IN the tequila? But I can see your confusion. Cuz it’s no worm.

  15. Comments 375 upwards are some of the bestest ever. First time in my life I have actually bookmarked this SM page. Dei Rahul, ak & co. thanks da/dee.

  16. we can share sometimes, can’t we? but there might be a few alternate ways to settle this. 1. rawalsian principles. the girl who’s single at the time gets tequila boy i.e. the welfare of the least well-off. 2. a lottery. karmic justice for all. 3. good ol’ catfight. may the best woman win ;)

    i vote for rawls, because in all honesty, i will be the single one more times than not. karmic justice – sounds nice and all, but what if there are no g&t prospects upon whom to fall back? catfight – yeah, i can totally take you. bring it on.

    tambram, happy to oblige.

  17. after my last prospective ordered a cosmopolitan, i knew things would never work.

    I read that and shuddered. And, for anyone who thinks it is because I think it is “unmanly” to order a Cosmo, I also disapprove of its consumption among women. ;)

    Rawls seems most fair. portmanteau, I like your style, even if I have a really hard time spelling your name.

  18. portmanteau, I like your style, even if I have a really hard time spelling your name.

    gee thanks, milady, it’s kind of you to notice. y’all deserve mad props too for your thoughtful and hilarious comments, good taste, and toleration of folks’ conceits (such as hard to spell handles) :)

  19. This posting just about sums up most of my renting experiences since the early 1990s in India.

    Totally.

    But, as a non-Indian woman, and also as a non-Indian citizen, my experience was that most of my landlords (now that I think about it – all of them), did try to take on a kind of “parental” and “protective” role towards me, maybe not as much as they would if I was an Indian female citizen, but probably close to it.

    This was something I failed to navigate properly. When I first resided there, I actually welcomed that, because I felt as a foreigner it would be beneficial for me to have some sort of “protective unit”, support system, people who have my back. What happened though is that when I responded favorably to their protectionism, I did not know that that would be opening a Pandora’s box of intrusion into my personal life, even my daily life.

    After a few years of “too close for comfort” experiences, I swang the opposite way and sent out “I’m-independent-don’t-get-close-vibes” which managed to give me more space but at the same time alienate myself.

    After a few years of that I struck as close to a balance as I could.

    Looking back I made alot of mistakes, but I didn’t know what I was doing really because I had never had such kinds of experiences in my life before and there was no one who was able to guide me on these practical matters. I had to figure out how to deal with this all on my own.

  20. I read that and shuddered. And, for anyone who thinks it is because I think it is “unmanly” to order a Cosmo, I also disapprove of its consumption among women. ;)

    i agree. i was into cosmos towards the end of my college years (and only because ‘segueway sam’ from conan was drinking one) but literally was forced to choose another drink in some unforeseen circumstances. i chose g&t and i haven’t been happier. though, these days my dad is trying to push me towards the whiskey/scotch genre, but i’m a bit resistant. but sometimes i feel guilty – isn’t it just snobby to evaluate people based on their drink choices?

  21. but sometimes i feel guilty – isn’t it just snobby to evaluate people based on their drink choices?

    Only if you’re also judging their value and worth as a person. :) I actually don’t think a cosmo would be a “make it or break it” moment, you know? I do think it reveals something about someone’s preferences (literally, their taste), but that doesn’t necessarily matter, either.

  22. I have lived alone in India for years in villages and in metros in rented rooms and houses. I have never felt any kind of discrimination. Over protectiveness, yes! Because it is Indian tendency to assume the role of a host and treat tenents like your own family…I loved it and would take it any day compared to coldness and lack of human interaction here in US. The journalist who finds this newsworthy must take off her western glasses. Christian Science monitor!!!!!!

  23. what would i get out of spending a boat load of money to bring some chick to the US if i already have a wife? guys looking for harems?
    i guess you could be married, go to india. sit through the ceremony. b*ng the grl, leave the country, return to family life.

    The dowry he will get from simply marrying her is WHOLE SHIP LOADS more than the tiny boat load he had to spend.