India’s constitution prohibits discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. It was a harrowing time when I was looking for a place as a bachelor in Bangalore. “Bachelors are not allowed, only families” is the common dialogue we get to hear from the landlords. I am sure that it’s no different in Chennai, Hyderabad or elsewhere. I get to hear a lot of such stories from my friends over there, who find it difficult to rent a room in a decent area and are often forced to stay in the outskirts or in a slum area, where safety becomes an issue.
The city has always had restrictions about renting out homes to bachelors and single women. It’s a misconception that girls who rent a house in group indulge in illegal activities, and will give a bad name to the locality.
Single guys are a different story.
I was once told by a lady that her husband doesn’t like renting out to single people. Another couple told me that are that they (the men) “can’t keep the place clean” and that they “get girls in the house” and “drink and party all night”. If one isn’t married, doesn’t mean they are not a family person. We also have our family back in our home town.
Recently, when the landlord increased the rent for my room, I decided to move out. First of all, rent is extremely high, and in addition to that, you will find it difficult to find a house suitable to you. The places where houses are suitable, the owner staying downstairs insists on renting it only to a family. The others who liberal enough to rent the room to a bachelor, said, “No ladies allowed. You can bring your guy friends, that’s not a problem but no late night parties.” Another owner said that he will lock the gate at 10 pm. When I asked him if it was possible to give me a duplicate key, he was unwilling.
I feel that the reason for moral restrictions is that society has imprinted certain stereotypical images of bachelors to our minds. They bring with it the image of piles of unwashed clothes, dirty crockery, empty fridges, cigarette butts all over, empty booze bottles and broken condom packages. In addition to this, there is a sense of living in unhygienically with no sense of time. It’s common belief that guys stay alone or in groups to lead a messy and unregulated life. For girls, it’s believed that those staying in flats instead of as paying guests or in hostels are those who are sexually active and “sleep around” with guys.
One can’t generalize. There are guys who keep their rooms clean, wash clothes, keep their cupboards neatly and wake up early. And girls looking to stay in a flat may not want to “sleep around”. Please don’t paint all of us with the same brush. We all have our family, just like you do. I just want to ask those discriminating landlords – how will you feel when your son/daughter has to go through the same hassles while finding a room?