Monday, July 9, 2012

An Uneasy Tenancy

Certain matters in social relationships and behiavour are quite delicate and calls for much etiquette based exercise. Timidity often restrains us from committing by word or deed matters that may be necessary. And audacity and arrogance may make us do what others see awkward.

I was moving into a new apartment and, the tenants who occupied the apartment were expatriates from Kerala and where in the Middle East for almost twenty five years. The gentleman was retiring from ‘Banque de Paribas’ and were going back home. The apartment owner assured that I can move in on the 1st of July and the Mallu couple also confirmed to me that they will fly back on the 30 th of June.

Then came a little shock, the tenants called me up on the phone and said that they may have to extend their stay till the 3 rd of July and would I mind to move in on the 3rd.That indeed put me in a little difficult position with my then owner to whom I gave notice of transfer by the 1 st of July. Timid as I felt about the issue of going back to the apartment owner and negotiating another extra week to clear off! I had to gather all diplomacy that was alien and braced for the unpleasant discussion with the apartment owner. All this while the man who was leasing me the new apartment played an intelligent game and told me that as far he was concerned, his agreement with the occupants lapsed and since he has the new contract with me and also because the tenants were Mallus it was my choice to let them stay or evict them. A real quandary!

The shocker was yet to come. The relentless  Mallus called me up and said that the flights back to India were flying full and tickets were available only by the 10th July and could they stay till then. Another more outrageous suggestion followed -if I desire, they have no problem in I moving in there and all that they needed was just a room as all their utilities were shipped out. 

It reminded me of a socially satirical and relevant film in Malayalam in which the house owner had to forcibly move in and live in one room to hound out the boorish and heedless tenants. And he had to bore brickbats for the alleged connivance to free his own apartment from the recaltricant and audacious folks who put up in his house brushing aside his pleadings to move out. My predicament seemed not too dissimilar.I could not react and express. The thought of having to live, even if it were for a few days with total strangers seemed preposterous and unease. I asked if that would not be too hard on their privacy. To which the Mallu gentleman asserted that they had no difficulties. That literally incensed me. . And now the guy has the temerity to suggest that they may have no discomfiture if I move in and live there before they are gone. But again timidity leashed me.

The guy was very rich. And could not he and his wife move to a hotel for those few days? It may cost him a few nickel and would save awkwardness. I personally would have done that and would not in the most perverted wild dream think of such a proposition or arrangement as this.

The epilogue to the story was that I moved into the apartment and cocooned in a room. I had to fix airconditoners in all rooms as they had ripped out theirs. And consigning them however irritated I was to the sultriness and heat of the summer sans air-condition was pretty cruel and impolite. And I guess I took care not to offend them and display any mean spirited tantrums I may have lying latent.
However I decided that when I wanted to go to the pub and have a few sundowners before going home, I did exactly that. I did, not care to see if that was discourteous or impolite. I would go swiftly into my room and shut the door lest the lady would notice the whiff of alcohol. At least I need to have that right by birth and fundamental in the house I pay for.

But it was awful difficult and uneasy however one wanted to be not churlish, though I must pat my back that I managed to live through displaying timid smile.


R.Ramakrishnan said...

You are an extremely polite,patient, exceedingly tolerant person who can keep smiling in the worst catastrophic circumstances - in other words you belong to that rare and near extinct species called "Gentlemen"

Musings said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anilkurup said...

@ R. Ramakrishnan

I saw your comment on Gmail and in haste reached hither
to post my reply to your comment that I'm afraid you erred in grouping me with the gentlemen species.
Impatience is my creed and inborn trait, rudeness is not strange to me.
It will be a fallacy to represent me by reading this Post.
However Thank you for appreciating my strange patience in the situation I narrated.

NRIGirl said...

A pat on your back!

Arun Meethale Chirakkal said...

Grace under pressure! But all this could have been avoided had the - as you have mentioned – couple chosen to move to a hotel for a couple of days. I can understand your plight quite well since I relocated to a new home just last week.

RGB said...

Some spot you landed yourself in! I'm surprised the expat couple had no problems in doing what they did, not thinking twice what inconvenience others have to bear for them!

Insignia said...

Sad situation to be in. But you did well. You should have shown them the door!

anilkurup said...

@ NRIGirl,

Sometimes circumstances brings out something extreme and rare- "patience".

@ Arun Meethale Chirakkal,
No gracefulness Arun. The option was too churlish.As they say bite the bullet and stick your head.

@ RGB,
People are different.Parsimonious I guess. However they were quite good in their conduct when I was there. Though they kept reminding themselves loudly that they were guests overstaying.

@ Insignia,

B, the problem with some of us is we talk a lot of bullshit but when it comes to the moment we hide among what we call a decent way. Perhaps!

rama said...

I really like the way you write, it reminds of somebody who also chooses words just like you do. I am sure if you two were ever to meet you both would have a very good time, and by the way he also likes to drink a little everyday.

BK Chowla, said...

Technically,in normal course he should have reimbursed with hotel expenses

anilkurup said...

@ Rama,

Thanks .
By the way, I do not drink the double a day any more. Its just about once a week, so your friend will have to appreciate that ha!

@ BK Chowla,

I presume that you are a retired bureaucrat. And your suggestions is typical of the technical cliche. But yes I agree with you, technically speaking I must be paid the Hotel cost.

Balachandran V said...

Knowing you....!!!! :-)

must say that was pretty gallant of you! Ha ha ha!

Insignia said...

I absolutely nod my head in agreement Anil. We are decent and wouldnt do anything of the sort we are viciously thinking in our mind :)

anilkurup said...

@ Balachandran,

Ha your comment is absolutely spot on truth!

@ Insignia,
Yes indeed.

Meera Sundararajan said...

I must say that you are exceedingly polite-no wonder they have exploited you like this!! Reminds me of the story of the camel who wanted shelter in a Bedouin's tent. And anyway, since it was now your flat why should you feel delicate about living the way you want to? But then our country are like that - highly exploitative ! I hope they have moved out now

sujata said...

Thats an extremely tough situation to be in. I dont know if I could do what you di, I think I would have insisted that they move to a hotel or a friend's place for the last few days. But you have been really polite and kind. I hope they left on the 10th and didn't misuse your goodness.

Musings said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anilkurup said...

@ Meera Sundarajan

It was not politeness that restrained me , it was timidity and the lack of guts to be offensive when one has to.

@ Sujatha,

You are right, my apartment and my world. I shouldn't have felt the way I did.
However it will be unfair to say that they were not good to me. They also did somewhat ingratiating or were conveying that they are obliged.
All said and done ,they have left and I feel absolute "nirvana" in the apartment - home alone at last!

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