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.